Development to market analysis publishers’ marketing and content delivery sites is often plagued by delays and overspending. A change of outlook is required…

One Project, Not Two

Publishers of market analysis are familiar with the headaches caused when their core customer-facing sites – their marketing site and content delivery platform – require an overhaul.

With good reason, publishers often complete this work concurrently given it is vital that the sites seamlessly connect and reflect one another from an aesthetic perspective. But all too often, the projects become misaligned. One project inevitably blocks the other’s completion, causing delays, money sinkholes, and, ultimately, frustrated clients.

Publishers need to rethink their approach. Instead of two separate projects completed simultaneously, they must view them as the same project.

For clarity:

Marketing site: 

The website prospects and existing customers visit to learn about your company, the services you provide, and understand your authority within your niche.

It’s often the first thing prospective customers see about your company, so good first impressions are vital!

Marketing sites are always open and not protected by any user authentication systems.

Content delivery site (often referred to as a research portal or content library):

The platform showcasing your library of syndicated research reports and data, consulting deliverables and shorter-form ‘news’ content.

Visitors sometimes find additional functionality, such as flexible licensing, sales enablement features, user management, and end-user workflow tools on publishers’ content delivery sites.

They are often hosted on a separate domain from the marketing site and require users to log in to access content.

The Planning Phase

It goes without saying that the planning stage is an integral phase of any project – particularly a project involving many moving parts.

Approaching this development work with two distinct project plans means you could miss out on potential efficiencies like streamlined use of internal resource. Decisions regarding budgets, for example, should involve one team who can consider the refresh of both sites as one budgetary expenditure.

Separation also risks scheduling clashes which could place undue stress on internal and 3rd party resources. Your projects risk being delayed and potentially accruing unnecessary costs as divergent priorities and aims negatively impact the progress of one project.

With this in mind, we should consider the foundations central to any project regardless of industry from a single, unified perspective:

  • Aimswhy are we refreshing our online presence? What have our customers asked for that we don’t currently deliver? How will this help our internal analyst, sales, and production teams?
  • Time frameswhen do we want to launch?
  • Internal resourcehow many people are working on the project?
  • Budgethow much do we want to spend?

Your project delivery team should have a clear understanding of each of these before any development work begins.

On top of these foundations are the specific considerations market analysis firms must consider:

Consistency is Key

First off, we need to ensure both sites look the part. Having oversight over both will ensure consistency in terms of the user journey and brand identity.

Inconsistent branding between your marketing and content delivery sites is a glaring and obvious issue. Consider your user journey as they move from the marketing to the delivery site. If the user sees a beautifully branded, slick marketing site upon discovering your company; then, as they go to read your research content, they’re faced with a bland, academic-looking system you’ve gone wrong.

Your brand should still shine despite it hosting your serious assessments of the latest market trends. After all, your research is your product – make it look like a sellable, attractive asset.

One of our publishing partners, ISR, a leading pharmaceutical market research company based in the US, created a clear brand identity across their two sites:

ISR's Marketing Site Homepage
ISR's Research Portal Homepage

Colours, fonts, and imagery are consistent throughout. Ensure your design considerations are the same for both sites, so your product truly lives up to its marketing billing. This process could be more difficult if each site is developed by separate teams with different goals and priorities.

How to get from A to B

So, we now have a clear, consistent brand across both sites. Now we need a seamless gateway connecting your customer-facing marketing site and your content delivery platform.

Typically, this comes in the form of a simple link or button signposting where end-users need to go to access your research content.

This could be ‘client login’ if you want a closed site or ‘access research’ if you opt for the open site route. In either instance, this button should be visible on your marketing site homepage and clearly signposted as users browse through other pages.

The two sites are intrinsically linked to one another, and this button is a natural pathway for your users when they interact with your services, so there must be a coherent, clear connection between the sites. It requires consideration of both sites to ensure the process is smooth and secure.

Integrate your Systems

Next, we must consider the deeper, more technical integrations. Approaching this as one project allows you to adopt the holistic outlook that these deeper integrations demand. Considering the sites as two parts of one whole allows your team to understand how each site feeds into the other, the connections each site needs with other systems and the function these integrations play to complete business-critical tasks.

These integrations include:

  • Single-sign-on (SSO) – creates a seamless user authentication process between your sites and other digital services your end users regularly access.
  • Shopping cart/eCommerce – allows end-users to easily purchase products on either site. Stripe, for example, is an easily installable, flexible plug-in that many content providers use.
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system – link all licenses, accounts, purchases, and usage stats into your chosen CRM. Hubspot, Salesforce and many others provide clear integration paths using REST APIs that connect with other software and web applications, such as Publish Interactive.

The Small Print

From here, your project team must decide on the finer points. These points may appear granular but apply to both sites so require oversight of both.

Considerations include:

  • How much ‘freemium’/lead gen content will we offer on the marketing site? And how do we facilitate the user journey from this freemium content to becoming fully paid subscribers regularly accessing our content delivery platform?
  • Are our marketing and content delivery sites SEO-optimised?
  • Do we want our content delivery portal as an open or closed site?
  • If we need to make changes or updates to either site, is our development team ready and able to do this?
  • Which customers can we test our new sites on to ensure they are user-friendly and address the pain points associated with our old site?

One Project, One Project Manager

Finally, you need a trusted colleague to oversee this project – a project manager who can schedule, manage budgets, delegate responsibilities, and keep development work in line with the project’s overarching aims.

Working alongside them should of course be your development, commercial and operational teams delivering the overhaul of your content delivery and marketing sites. These teams should similarly be aware of the work being a single project with a single aim.

Having this ‘single point of truth’, with oversight over the whole project means they can instil a holistic mindset among the project delivery team. With this, you will alleviate planning and budgetary issues and drastically improve project delivery efficiency.

Tags

  • Integrations
  • Management
  • Technology

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