Friday, April 01, 2005

Design and Analysis

Referring to my last post, I talked about how the marketing sector may be trending towards a reliance on more scientific-type analysis versus the current focus on creativity. I would like to flesh out my opinion on that subject.

First of all, Mr. Brett Error (CTO of Omniture) mentioned something else in his presentation that I left out last post. In response to a question, he said that the analysis that Omniture provides is retroactive. That is, they don't analyze a website before you make it (which makes perfect sense).

As I have referred to previously, there are studies about landing pages, etc., which lay down some practical ground rules for web design that sells. Those studies are important. However, Mr. Error made an interesting claim during the presentation. I'm paraphrasing here, but he essentially said, "You build the best landing page that you possibly can, following all the marketing rules and whatnot, and we can make it better."

The implication is clear: There is no 'ultimate landing page'. There can't be. Every site has a different audience, with different interests, internet experience, attitudes, desires, etc. To the extent that you can quantify those variables and understand how to respond to them, you will be able to improve the user experience of your site. That's what Omniture and other web analytics companies are trying to do. That's what managerial accounting is for.

(As an aside, I think that if a company were to combine a robust web analytics system with a complete, database-driven managerial accounting system, thereby forming an all-in-one business analysis package, that company would make a lot of money selling that solution. Remember me when you're rich.)

However, the question of the original design still remains and, I believe, still requires creativity. Especially when you're dealing with established brands that have a certain image to maintain. People would think they'd gone to the wrong place if they visited Disney's site only to find some sterile, white-background, informational sales page. On the other hand, that strategy might work if you're selling a white paper, e-book, or other corporate-type information product.

So, in my opinion, the future is not conspiring to destroy creative marketing design jobs any time soon. Those jobs may change a bit, but what job doesn't? That's business. A possibility for growth in the creative design market is in 'customer experiences'. See here.

What do you think?


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