Designing marketing pages is quite easy nowadays: start with a some text on a big image and a call to action button, coloured blue as it converts better. Then three columns with icons and text below, followed by a section with light text on dark background. Repeat.
Make it flat and minimalistic. If you’re not sure, just copy apple.com.
I used to look for these patterns, techniques, so that I could hide my lack of creativity. Then looking at sites like Basecamp, all the design books I had read started to makes sense. It’s not about techniques, or trends, it’s about the message. How does my product help the customer? How parts of my site help the user? etc.
Content-first design does not mean no design. It just means that the design comes after.
There’s a lesson for the business owners here too: don’t order a design for your website before writing the content. In that case, it’s better (and cheaper) to buy a template (which is probably what the designer did anyway).