We finished a great little website for a midsize b2b company recently. The work was wonderful. What’s more, the client loved it, too. What’s even better- web traffic went up 20% and online sales went up commensurately with the new design. We were cooking!
So it surprised me when the client stopped paying to support and improve upon the site. Still, it’s their money, and their business… But what really got me was seeing the client completely trash the great design work we did, junking it up with amateurish third rate “improvements” that were very poorly thought out and which made the site harder to use as well as ugly.
I asked our old client contact at the company about it, and he told me that his boss had decided that we cost too much and that nobody cared about great design in a recession, so he was making changes to the website himself. Our contact noted that their traffic had indeed dipped since we were on the account, and that sales had dropped as well.
I shook my head and hung up the phone. But then, a few weeks later I ran into the company president, and asked him about things. He told me he truly didn’t think people cared about good design, and he was convinced that his heroic efforts to ‘save’ the website were working. I pointed out that i knew sales had dipped after he took over, and I offered to help at a reduced rate, but he wouldn’t hear it.
It’s now 6 weeks later, and that company is no more. They have folded. Kaput. Gone. I heard from their advertising agency that the president, in his last throes, had tried to take over their ad campaigns, too, trashing months and months of work.
I’m not happy that this company floundered and failed. But I talked about this client and their failure today for a reason- a great website or tv commercial or social media campaign cannot save a sinking ship, but a crappy, poorly thought out effort can certainly hasten your demise. Your digital marketing is your company’s face to the world. It represents you. Yes, even in a recession, good design matters.