So Anheuser-Busch came out with its famous, and successful “For all you do, this Bud’s for you,” advertising campaign in 1979 (Yes, 1979. Sad thing is, I remember when the campaign debuted while I was in college), and everyone started using the “For all you do, this ________’s for you” phrase for all sorts of ads, situations, circumstances and things. It makes sense – giving someone exactly what they want, personalized for them, as a reward for their efforts. In that context, targeted to your end customer, we can enthusiastically say, “for all you do, this website’s for you.”
However, where it gets a little more dicey is that often I have to tell my clients (website owners), “for all you do, this website’s NOT for you!” This often comes after detailed discussions with the website owners about the website’s design: “I want it look like this, and I want it to do that, and I dont’ want to see this, I want my logo bigger, and I don’t want it to do that….” You get the idea.
Many of our clients have built their business, their brand and their reputations on years of hard work, with most of their creativity and drive coming from their own ideas about their business and how their clients want to use and interact with their products or services. They know their product or service, and they know how to “market” it to their existing and prospective customers. However, too often I see that the business owner doesn’t look at their marketing efforts from their customer’s viewpoint. They forget that the design of the website has to engage the target audience. It has to resonate with and relate to the website’s visitors – not to the website’s owner. This is why I always reiterate that the website has to be designed for the website’s visitors, not the website’s owner. This is where I have to be careful not to insult my client, which I have no intention of doing. I do have every intention for their website to be done right.
Now don’t get me wrong – the website owner has to like his website design, because, after all, it is a public presentation of the business’s brand. But in the end the website MUST engage the target audience, and the site owner’s personal preferences should generally take a back seat to a design that gets visitors to act. Broadly speaking, you only have one chance to engage a website visitor. Usually, your competitor’s website is only one click away from yours – on the Google search results page. You better make sure that what the visitor sees is something he wants to see (assuming that it’s the kind of visitor you want).
So, when we say, “For all you do, this website’s NOT for you,” we’re not being mean, or smug, or behaving like egotistical designers. We really have your best interests in mind – we want your website to be successful. We will listen to you to understand your audience(s), then we’ll apply our expertise and experience to creating a design that will grab that visitor and get them to dig further into your website. If you get to know me and my blogs, you’ll know that I believe to my core that understanding your target audience is a key element for the credibility, usability and findability of your website. These after all, are the three critical factors to a website’s success.
PS – some designer out there took the time to create a satirical television commercial that explores some of the challenges that designers face when working with business owners that want to design without considering their audience. It’s tongue in cheek and might give you a chuckle: