It Takes a Village – or at Least a Team – to Build Successful Websites and Apps


A quality website or application requires expertise in several disciplines to truly fulfill its potential. Professionals with ample cross-discipline expertise are as rare as unicorns with wings. It is more efficient and cost-effective to put a team in place with the skill sets needed to execute the process, in the correct sequence, from the beginning.

The Path to Success

Digital experiences require much more than attractive design to be successful, as proven by the multitude of websites and apps that look great yet fail to deliver results.

A well-designed experience that offers value will drive conversion and return on investment. This is not achieved in a single interaction with users. According to Forrester, 96 percent of website visitors are not yet ready to buy, which elevates the need for thoughtful strategic planning to engage visitors in all, three phases of the purchase decision. Offering visitors paths to convert requires insight related to the core of the business that typically lives outside the boundaries of the design process.

Rarely can an asset like a website or app be successful without expertise in three key disciplines.

Three Key Disciplines to Include on Your Team


Designers are focused on solving problems. They create elements that bring the user experience to life. Few have marketing or technology training, even though the evolution of tools used by the industry requires adoption of various aspects of technology to deliver the creative vision.

Recently, a colleague reached out to me for a recommendation for “an exceptional conversion designer.” It took me only a moment to mentally scan through the list of the many talented creatives I have had the pleasure of working with over the years, to come up with – none.

I wrote back to regretfully advise that, although I had worked with some very talented designers over the years, many of whom take direction well or are willing to adapt their thinking, none had made conversion an integral part of their design process. Interested to see if such an animal actually existed, I offered to reach out to another colleague who has built a business around conversion for his recommendation.

I reached out to Tim Ash, author of Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversions to see if he could recommend a designer who focused on conversion. His reply? “No – designers and conversion-focused usually do not co-exist. You have to retrain designers (a long and painful process) to pay attention to conversion. If you find one, let me know – we are hiring… :-)”


Turns out, a conversion-focused designer is as elusive as a winged unicorn. As is, the technologist with a head for marketing, or the marketing professional with mastery of the technology needed to execute the vision. Still, these disciplines are complementary to one another, and necessary to the creation of a successful website, app, or any other complex asset.


The Internet has forced marketing professionals to embrace technology. However, understanding how to use technology and how to create it are two entirely different concepts. While marketers focus on product development, branding, messaging, optimization, creative execution, and promotion, few are qualified to drive the complex technological aspects of a website that will serve the business or brand well.

There are an increasing number of marketing professionals interested in leveraging technology to achieve the ROI being demanded from the C-suite. Still, campaigns and conversions are best supported through collaboration with those whose skill sets will bring those concepts to life, and most often elevate execution to an entirely new level – then, everybody wins.

In the creation of a website or app, it is imperative that marketing serve as an extension of the brand’s leadership. Ownership of the four Ps of marketing (product, price, place, and promotion) must closely align to business objectives and be structured to support revenue goals.


Like a designer, the technologist(s) (the architect, programmer, scripter, QA, UX, etc.) is focused on creating solutions that solve problems. Marketing objectives or initiatives are rarely part of the process unless intentionally introduced from the beginning. In fact, the technology aspect of the website or app are best executed with specific requirements that have been flushed out in advance of requirements being defined. I have had the good fortune of collaborating with developers over the years to create exciting new applications. However, these individuals are typically the exception, not the rule.

The technologist can introduce options marketers and designers would not otherwise have been aware of that can add to the viability and value of the end product.

Why It Takes a Village – or at Least a Team – to Build a Winner

  • Timing is crucial. Never, never, jump into design, development, or optimization for search, conversion, or sales before proper planning has been done.
  • The devil is in the details. The team will determine design and creation of the paths to conversion may be driven to support desired outcomes may then be executed in context…so execution will only be as good as your team.
  • It is imperative that all elements of the customer experience, on any medium, be driven with intent. Soliciting insights from other teams will provide insights that can significantly enhance the user experience.
  • Return on investment on the creation of assets should be driven by KPIs that directly relate to organization benchmarks and goals. So, every member of the team should know “Why” the investment is being made.
  • Leadership is essential. Goals that the website or app will be expected to support should come from the top down.
  • Those with responsibility for results (managers, marketing, sales, raising capital, etc.) are a vital part of the process and should be consulted in the beginning, as well as after the fact, to define success of the initiative so necessary adjustments may be made before the next one comes along.
  • “Who” is on the team is vitally important: The individuals on the team tasked with executing the vision from concept to completion will have a strong impact on how the website or app will be created and how successfully it will deliver results.
  • Avoid waiting until after the website is complete to pull in expertise to “optimize.” As my dad used to say, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. And, making necessary adjustments and enhancements after the fact will cost you in valuable time and resources.
  • Seek qualified expertise. The expense of an experienced professional may seem costly, however the cost of unqualified guidance can cost much more, or even be catastrophic.
  • The three-legged stool: Failing to integrate key considerations from all three key areas: design, technology, and marketing/sales) can diminish viability and performance, despite even the best of intentions of those who contribute.

Who is on your team?

Have you involved, or will you involve, all the necessary parties in the right sequence?

How will you measure success?

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