Big changes have been on the horizon for some time for me personally. In the first year of the Covid pandemic, I shifted my website design and development practice (dotp) to focus on strategic website consulting for transformative thought leaders and their organizations. I did so for a number of reasons:
- I’m not getting any younger (52!) and the website design and development world is a fast-paced, ever-changing environment that rewards youthful ignorance, adaptability, and exuberance. I didn’t want to keep playing that game any longer (since 1998!).
- Outside of really large website design and dev projects, that service has become globalized and commoditized. The market is a race to the bottom of lowest price wins.
- My mother’s health (she’s 86) has been declining and as her only child and caregiver, I realized I need more flexibility in my client schedule to take care of her.
- Finally, while website strategy isn’t new, it is niche and I know it will take time to develop the research and services to really serve transformative thought leaders.
This brings me to why I want to focus my website strategy practice on advising thought leaders in consulting services organizations of more than one but less than fifty members.
Thought leaders are trying to bring about transformation in their industry/market/sector/society. I find website strategy work naturally aligns with and creates the greatest value for those organizations working toward deeper changes and a far-reaching vision in their area of expertise.
CEOs/founders and their organizations who don’t identify as thought leaders are still doing important work. However, their website needs tend to lean toward optimization and tactics implementation, which are necessary and valuable, but an area best served by web designers, copywriters, marketers, and developers.
Thought leaders of consulting service organizations touch whole industries often one company or leader at a time to bring about transformation. This tension between transformation of an industry and the implementation of their thinking at a company level creates difficult to resolve website questions in terms of content, messaging, positioning and brand. I enjoy identifying paths to resolve this tension with a website strategy that aligns with a thought leader’s vision.
I’ve found that thought leaders who run a solo practice generally a) can’t see their website’s potential b) therefore don’t think they need to spend much money on strategy or implementation so they c) design their website themselves or hire a website in a day/week service to do it for them. I know this because I’ve seen the sentiment expressed publically by many thought leaders who are solo and fight the same tendency myself.
Thought leaders of small to medium-sized organizations tend to appreciate the value of website strategy (or are willing to be educated) and want expertise from outside their organization brought in to help their team. That’s where I can deliver the greatest value.
Thought leaders of large consulting firms (over 100 employees) often have internal teams or outside agencies dedicated to website design, development, and implementation. And due to their size, they must represent the needs of many internal stakeholders, which almost by default dictates optimization and maintenance of the status quo rather than transformative website strategy work.
As such, in 2022 Frank McClung Advisory will:
a. Scale back new client work to only service existing and legacy design/development clients. I may take on a new advisory client or two, so just ask.
b. Continue sending out my newsletter, Contrails, with will focus on website strategy insight specific to thought leaders of consulting services organizations.
c. Conduct small-scale research related to website strategy reviews of these types of firms.
d. Develop new service offerings for 2023 for strategy consulting that I hope you will find valuable.
One caveat to all this: the execution of this plan is contingent upon how things work with family responsibilities (i.e. caregivers for our live-in mothers who are both in their 80’s with health issues, and we homeschool our 7 and 14-year-old boys).