However, after talking with my creative director after the call, he made an interesting point about how what they were doing didn't really fit our long term strategy - our brand doesn't want to just shout products at people on Facebook or on their phones. Our target audience is people who love the majestic beauty of nature and the great outdoors. We need to show them the respect they deserve and serve up content that they are interested in, not just throw products into their newsfeeds hoping a few click "buy." It was pretty apparent that the salesperson on the other end of the phone didn't know our brand, and wasn't taking into account that our customers might not be interested in having their Facebook pages filled with products.
So What Was My Epiphany?
When I first started doing freelance work, I thought that my competition was going to be local designers. I'm finding out that those people are turning out to be my friends and confidants, however. My competition is actually big companies, agencies, and "solution" providers who can cold call all the potential clients in my region and sell them a line of junk, just because they have some big name clients. The salesman today actually used the phrase "checkout experience" as if it was some magic incantation. Seriously, does the phrase "checkout experience" really send chills down anyone's spine? When I think about those words I think about standing in line at Wal-Mart. A checkout just needs to work quickly and without problems, not be an experience. The web design world is just the same as the rest - it's a few big box stores trying to sponge up all the available business and sell one solution to everybody, regardless of their needs.
These big companies might have bigger sales and promotional budgets than I do, but I do have many advantages they don't have. I know this region, it's people, and the needs of the businesses around here. I talk straight, work hard, and sell the right solutions to my customers based on their budgets. I take pride in making my clients happy and I don't stop until they're satisfied with what they've paid for. I'm not sure these other companies think the same way, they just view clients as billable hours, not as people in their own community.
If you're looking for a website, and you're being sold a solution that isn't right for you or your company, don't buy something just because the salesman dazzles you with industry jargon and magic marketing words. Look instead for a designer or design company that really understands what you need, and won't try to sell you an expensive "solution" that doesn't fit your brand's needs.