Posted on | September 16, 2011 | No Comments
Whether they are websites for individual products or whole companies, some stand above the rest in their ability to attract and retain eyeballs. What makes these sites effective? 1. Targeting: The marketer has a clearly defined target segment, 2. Alignment: Site theme, content, presentation and functionality connect target needs and product(s) on offer, 3. Economy: The site meets the target’s information or process needs with a minimum of overhead, 4. Aesthetic: Be it for branding promotional, or lead generation purposes, the site motivates consumers.
Take a look at the ten sites below and tell me if you think they’ve achieved these goals!
1. America’s Army by the U.S. Army
- What: Begun in 1999 by Colonel Casey Wardynski, the website provides factual, albeit glamorized, insight into the Army’s disciplines, tools, tactics and training. While some may question the accuracy of the portrayal, it is easily one of the most comprehensive marcom sites around and reflects sound design, innovative marketing and a significant budget. One of Federated Media’s Conversational Marketing Summit finalists.
- How: A top ten multi-player game, simulated training exercises, soldier profiles, chat rooms, forums, community sites, competitions,…Learn how to fire an M-82, conduct infantry missions, read battle accounts, upload maps for combat training simulations, comment or ask questions.
- Why: The army wants to attract people who will do well. That means both informing and getting people excited about enlisting. In contrast to Marine Corp advertising which focuses on emotion, this site focuses on providing credible information for decision-making.
2. Nike+ by Nike
- What: “A technology idea” Per Nick Law, Chief Creative Officer at RG/A (Nike’s Agency), “[Nike+] is not an advertising idea, it’s a technology idea. We are delivering a product, an application.”
- How: Nike checked all the Web 2.0 boxes for its Nike+ running brand site. Starting w/ clean flash site, they added all the required whistles: 1. Tools: Track your runs, progress, 2. Community: Teams for Nike training and competitions, 3. Products: Buy gear including ipod extensions, download inspirational music, 4. Communications: Newsletter / registration, 5. Blog: Official Nike Running Blog, 6. Discussions / Forums, 7. Events: HumanRace10k, 8. Training Advice: Coach and trainer input.
- Why: In a word, immersion. Nike wants to take its brand from your shoes into your life by building a stronger connection, community. The introduction of “repeat use” devices such as advice columns, competitions, performance monitoring and social groups keeps users coming back again and again reinforcing the brand’s value.
3. Voices of the Olympic Games by Lenovo
- What: Summer Games at Lenovo.com was a full Web 2.0 blog / conversational marketing implementation featuring ongoing blog posts by Olympic athletes.
- How: Lenovo’s site provides the architecture in which Olympic athletes blog about their experiences preparing for and competing in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Segregated by sport and athlete, posts made a valuable, direct connection between Olympic fans and athletes that TV coverage lacked.
- Why: As part of its Olympic sponsorship (hardware sponsor), Lenovo sought to demonstrate how its technology could be used to make the world smaller. By providing a conversational platform with evergreen content during the intense Olympic period, traffic to the Lenovo site increased over 150% during August 2008. Five months later traffic to the Lenovo site was still up 20%!
4. Open Forum by American Express
- What: Topical news and information site that would mirror small business issues. Since its launch in Q2 2007OpenForum.com, has maintained a sub 100k Alexa rank. IAB’s MIXX 2.8 “Brand Awareness & Positioning” Gold Medal award winner.
- How: “Evergreening” topical content around major business disciplines such as finance, marketing and innovation. A combination of video and blog content, it presents ideas from industry experts such as Seth Godin, Sean Parker, Jimmy Whales and more.
- Why: Wanting to target small businesses, American Express engaged Digitas to create a site that would 1. add value to the community by providing practical advice from accomplished entrepreneurs and small business people and 2. position its brand at the center of evolving business issues.
5. Your Number by ING
- What: Flash video avatars help you find the dollar figure needed to retire. The IAB MIX 2.8 Gold Medalist for Direct Response and Lead Generation.
- How: Integrated off- / online campaign including television, print, digital and mobile spots directing people to the INGYourNumber microsite. The site was a well executed lead generation site based on : 1. a valuable objective motivating consumers to navigate the site and 2. a simple six-step process to getting there aided by explanatory avatars. The result? 25% completion and a $13 CPA (to be clear, the action or “A” was completion of the six-step process which did not include divulging personal information). Generated over 5,500 leads.
- Why: The objective was to simplify retirement conversations motivating retirement planners to find their “number” (the first step, focal point and quantitative measure of retirement planning process) and, hopefully, get them to engage ING retirement professionals to help them on the journey.
6. NikeiD by Nike
- What: The heights (currently) of product personalization web design. Design your own Nike-branded shoes using Nike’s CAD-like interface.
- How: The site uses an impressive combination of high-impact graphics and flash interactive features to guide visitors through selection, configuration and payment / shipping processes. Select from hundreds of shoe designs by color, sport, or style. Customize the aesthetic (colors, logos, embossing, laces, flags, etc.) and performance (finish, cleat design, surfaces, etc.) factors. Select size, width, and then lay your card down. Swoosh, your custom shoe-gift is delivered in time for the holidays.
- Why: While a cynic may say NikeiD’s purpose is to justify spending $100+ on a pair of sneakers when you should be focused on paying your mortgage, Nike is leveraging significant investment in production flexibility to enable customers to merge identities with the brand.
7. Energy 500 by Amp
- What: The folks at Artistic Image put this Amp Energy site together for the “ride with Dale Jr.” campaign.
- How: While only the winner got to ride w/ Dale in Taladega on Oct. 15th, the names of all 70,000 entrants were etched onto the car.
- Why: Not sure what the cost of the campaign was, but 70k fan names / email addresses is good for Dale, good for his sponsor, good for Amp and good for NASCAR.
8. Sapphire by Bombay Gin
- What: While I’m not a huge fan of over-Flash-y websites, one thing brings me back to Bombay… the glasses are sweet!
- How: High-impact flash, great graphics and innovative subject matter capture your attention. Subtle brand reminders dot your path as you page through glass designs.
- Why: An interesting tie-in, Sapphire sponsored an international cocktail glass design competition. While I’m not sure it paid off, I’m thirsty!
9. Mini USA by BMW
- What: Slick graphics and eye-catching design help you start your Mini life.
- How: Learn about the vehicles from specifications down to option packages and accessories. Build your own Mini by specifying colors, options – There are 10,000,000 configurations. See the price tag and try not to get discouraged. Play Mini driving games including taking one through courses inspired by the Bourne Conspiracy.
- Why: Shop finding your local dealer, applying for financing. $30K for a 2-passenger car a bit steep? Then stay connected to Mini through e- and snail-mail programs.
10. The Million Dollar Homepage by Alex Tew
- What: “The website that is an ad” or “the ad that is a website”?
- How: While it seemed like a silly idea to start, Alex Tew demonstrated a sophisticated grasp of PR. Launching the site in the waning days of the .com boom he unabashedly targeted $1M in ad revenue. While it started slowly, initial advertisements begat press coverage which begat eyeballs which begat additional advertisements.
- Why: The Million Dollar Homepage peaked at #127 on Alexa making the 21 year-old from England a cool $1,000,037.
What criteria would you add? What sites would you recommend?