It has been a real pleasure working with Marcus Potts, but boy was it damn hard. We got there in the end, with lots of ideas, real partnership in terms of working through the issues and the good old Expression Engine.
As Marcus says, “where will your marketing take you?” What an interesting question. Do we ever think about this? Often we state what we would like or need:
- I want a website
- I need a website
- I need a logo
- I want a logo
Really? So why? How will any of this help my business?
To make progress we might tighten up our requirements:
- I need brand consistency (so a logo on my website, brochures and business cards)
- I need to grow my sales (ah, use the web as a means of communicating your offer and to reach more people perhaps?)
Ok cool, now we are getting somewhere and this leads us to the big question. I as the potential client want a website, but this must be formulated into brand consistency and wanting to grow sales. By now we should be beginning to see a huge gap. Mr business man is running around putting out fires, delivering to clients, fighting cash flow, paying Gordon, and at some point he or she must take time out to think and to make that mental leap from want or need to having a vision for the framework that is needed to solve the real problem.
Cool, we got there in the end eh? But, now image that you are Isocube. How do you attract people and take them on a journey from apparent basic needs to an understanding of what should actually be done?
Well, for a start, you need to communicate at all levels:
- I can give you a logo
- I can give you a website
- I can look at your branding
- I can help you with telesales / customer support / CRM etc etc
- Infact, I can help you with almost anything!
When we sat with Isocube and worked thorugh everything that they could deliver to clients we actually ended up with an enormous list of possibilities. (We could have easily defined 70 or 80 services and products that could be sold and delivered either individually or in groups of related items.)
How do you build a website for that? Now factor in the cross relationships and you end up with a massive matrix. Here are some examples:
- Growing sales could mean:
- marketing messages
- logo design
- preventing loss of clients through better service
- A website could involve:
- logo design
- marketing massages
Rome was not built in a day and you certainly can’t change all of your marketing collateral and customer support procedures overnight. BUT Isocube does need to be able to explain to a potential client that there are dependencies and that the client will need to plot a course. In fact a map is needed. EUREKA!
The map concept allows us to come up with a solution.
- Remember that we asked the question “Where is your marketing taking you?”
- We have lots of services
- We have lots of dependencies
- We need a map
- We need to plot a course
- We need to know where we are starting
- We need to know where we are going
The image below perfectly frames all of the possibilities and is infinitely adaptable.
The map can be used to group relevant products into an instantly understandable work shedule. We know where we are and we know what is going to come next. Infact we can hop from on line to another as certain stations allow it. For more details visit the Isocube website.
Now that we have revealed the simple conceptual solution to explaining the Isocube offering, how did we actually implement this as a website? In a word, with the Expression Engine and lots of elbow grease!
Essentially each product is like a datasheet which collects standard “bits” of information, for example:
- Product name
- Short description
- Relationships with other products
These are then put into a database for later display within web pages. The magic is in the details and this is where the Expression Engine comes to the fore via the provision of an easily manipulated framework. Obviously there is a lot more going on behind the scenes, but the essentials are that thought must given to the data design, grey boxing and page flow.
If you can dream it, well then the Expression Engine can be used to accomplish it!
Please note that IMRE does not take credit for the Map idea. All credit for this belongs to Isocube, we at Imre provided the “glue” and mechanics to turn the vision into a website.