Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Website Insights

Many marketers talk about creating a dialogue with consumers, rather than talking at them. It surprises me then that these same marketers have websites that quite simply are love letters to themselves.

A corporate website is the perfect place to present your company and it’s brands as a helpful advisor to your consumer. At the risk of repeating myself, communication to your consumer should be ‘all about them’ not ‘all about you’.

If you talk about your brands it should be in the context of how this helps your consumer. But why not talk about human situations THEN how your brands help those situations?

Scotts Australia is a perfect example of how to get it right. (I must admit an interest here. I wrote and produced the TV ads that Scotts run on the site.) Notice how ‘Need Help?’ is the first tab you see. And ‘About Scotts’ is near the end. The site is chokka-block with useful information presented in a simple way that ultimately leads the consumer to the brands and products.

Kimberley Clark Australia’s site for Huggies is similarly informative and engaging. To a new mother her baby is the most important thing in the world. So KCA talk about babies and motherhood and slip their ‘plastic and paper fibre product’ in right at the end. The home page layout does this and the tab bar does it too. 10 out of 10 for consumer focussed design.

Kraft’s site makes me hungry just looking at it! Fantastic food photography, recipes, and health information. Products neatly alphabetised with easy links to specific brand sites.

Continental’s site goes one further. It has recipes, that lead to family meals together, that lead to real conversations between parents and kids. You couldn’t get much more emotional than that. The Continental brand becomes a part of real life.

Now for some sites that could lift their game.

Why do I feel that Telstra is unashamedly trying to squeeze every last dollar out of my wallet. Am I letting the constant call centre sales pitches blind me to a helpful site? I don’t believe their corporate home page is the right place to sell, sell, sell.

Procter and gamble haven’t bothered creating an Australian site or even a re-direct address to the US. Does this speak volumes? They do have sites for some of their Australian brands, but these are not accessed from the US site. So at random I tried Pantene. Product and packaging comes well before any consumer benefit.
The contact section has no phone number: you have to fill out a form. So much for a dialogue with consumers.

In the words of David Ogilvy, ‘The consumer is not a moron, she is your wife.’ Gender issues aside, if a consumer has bothered to tap the keys, we as communicators should make the process as easy and fulfilling as possible.

It’s pretty simple really. 1. Talk about consumer needs well before you talk about your neat new products. 2. Help, don’t sell. 3. Make contact easy.