Last month’s Marketingmag.com.au poll posed the question: Who is held accountable for the outcomes of your web site? The results surprised me and I am hoping that we might be able to pool our knowledge to understand what it means. Please use the comments section below to add in some of your own thoughts and maybe together we can make some sense of it all.

The Marketingmag.com.au poll results for, ‘Who is held accountable for the outcomes of your web site?’

  • Marketing manager: 50.01%
  • IT/web development team: 10.62%
  • Other: 8.85%
  • Sales manager: 7.52%
  • Dedicated online team: 20.35%
  • Agency: 2.65%

I will start the ball rolling with some observations but I cannot claim expertise enough to provide a definitive story. Here goes:

Marketing manager – 50.01%
This one is not much of a surprise really. I assume that the majority of the web sites in Australia are geared towards driving awareness and so it makes sense that responsibility rests with the marketing team and manager. But if your web site is also playing a role in lead generation and sales, then you surely have to consider whether the marketing team is the right place for sole ownership of web site outcomes. From the marketers I talk to, many web sites started out as ‘awareness’ devices but have grown to become much more than that, so it is important that the organisation recognises the role of the site, how it’s evolving and places responsibility for goals and measurement in the right hands.

IT/web development team – 10.62%
Frankly, the thought that 1 in 10 web sites are the organisational responsibility of the IT team is scary. By any commonly held principle, the web site is at minimum a communication vehicle for the business and it’s customers. I can think of no valid excuse for why the IT department should own the outcomes of the web site. They should have input and offer technical advice when required but that’s where it should stop. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

Other – 8.85%
It would be great to drill down into this result a bit further. I think that 8.85% is a too high for this option and would love to know which ‘other’ business units have web site responsibility. If anyone reading this blog happened to answer with this option, please help us by shedding some light on who the ‘other’ person or department is.

Sales manager – 7.52%
I firmly believe that any web site with a goal to drive sales (including ecommerce sales and lead generation) must place some or all responsibility and ownership with the sales manager. Even with the relatively low number of ecommerce sites in Australia, I would argue that 7.52% is far below what we should expect to see in this area.

Dedicated online team – 20.35%
This opens that gem of a question: “Should my online channel be integrated with the business or is it stand alone?” Having 2 out of every 10 web sites owned and managed by a dedicated team is surprisingly high and clearly has some benefits, especially providing the focus and tools needed to grow and develop a new technology channel. In time, I think we should expect to see this drop off a bit as businesses integrate the online channel into the overall business process. And I would think that many of these dedicated teams should rightly end up under the ownership of the sales manager.

Agency – 2.65%
There are companies who find it useful to outsource parts of the day-to-day business. For example using email service providers and search marketing experts can make real sense for some businesses. But generally it is the task that is outsourced and not the responsibility. From my view, having an agency hold accountability for the outcomes of the web site is an abrogation of corporate responsibility. By all means use an agency to do the heavy lifting but the responsibility for the outcome of such an important and growing channel must reside within the business.

So, no answers from last month’s poll from me. But certainly some interesting results that are worthy of further exploration and input. What do you think?

This is my personal blog. The views expressed here are my own and do not represent those of my employer, Coremetrics.