Last month, Hill Holiday which is a large US Ad Agency, decided to abandon their website and have instead launched a blog only presence on the web.
An interesting move on their part and according to commentators like Bob Cargill, part of a trend which will see more companies following this route. The decision to take a step away from a static “brochureware” site to a more interactive Blog shows a desire to have their staff engage in a closer relationship with clients, something which more and more professional services companies are likely to have to do as they try to differentiate themselves in their market.
I believe that a move like this shows a shift that will impact at two levels:
- Blog vs Website: with larger companies deciding that a blog better meets their needs for an online presence, there is likely to be a knock-on effect with new companies leap-frogging their current competition and turning to blogs for their own online marketing. In the UK, where the advantages of blogs are starting to be understood, it is likely that we will see smaller companies and individual professionals leading the way, as they look for a way to get closer to their customers, differentiate themselves and have a web presence that they can update without total reliance on their web designer;
- How to market to their customers: this seems to show a great understanding of why their customers buy from them. Choosing a blog over their static website seems to indicate that Hill Holiday believe that they will be more successful by entering into a dialogue with potential clients rather than just presenting them with an online brochure. Ultimately, they see that their staff are the best way of marketing themselves and attracting new clients, so have decided that a more “educational marketing” approach would achieve better results than simple advertising.
This type of move will not yet be right for all companies. However, it is highly likely that increasing numbers of websites will include a blog element and reap the rewards of first mover advantage, before the two formats then merge with all websites incorporating the benefits that a blog can currently offer. This is going to be relevant not only for professional services firms (although they may see the primary benefits) but across the board.