THE INTERACTIVE QUESTIONNAIRE IN ASSOCIATION WITH - Commercial Websites are, at best, visited by the odd client. At worst, they are a joke. Edited by Mairi Clark

From today, readers can respond to the points raised here via Campaign’s page on Electronic Telegraph. This month: Are corporate Websites a waste of time?

From today, readers can respond to the points raised here via

Campaign’s page on Electronic Telegraph. This month: Are corporate

Websites a waste of time?

A bad reason for having a corporate Website is so that the chief

executive can say he’s got one, like a golf trophy. Corporate sites

should be clear about what they’re trying to achieve for their brand,

why they want to achieve it, and who they’re aiming at: is it the

corporate audience shareholders, investment banks, business analysts,

consumers or employees? To create a model for a practical

business-to-business tool, see it from the user’s point of view,

understand the Web environment, and don’t create a monster.

Research it first. So yes, it is a waste of time if it’s just vague

brochureware: the Website has got to be useful.

Jane Ostler

Ogilvy and Mather

Unfortunately, this is true. Many sites have little or no point because

little or no creativity has been applied to them. The Web is a new

marketing and sales environment and should be approached from a fresh


We look at the Web as a ’big brother’ among media; stronger and more

intelligent than its rivals. Using interactivity, it is possible to add

functionality, selectability, education or entertainment, creating a

site which deserves the ’big brother’ tag. Making the best use of this

changing technology creates a site not just with a point but with a

unique selling point.

Gary Lockett

Deep End Design


Certain companies appear to have a more obvious raison d’etre on the Web

than others, such as financial services, airlines and retailers. They

can provide online transactions and bookings, account details and

last-minute offers. However, even companies whose business inherently

suits a Web presence frequently offer few real user benefits. After all,

how many banks or building societies have sites that talk to me as an


None that I have found. The truth is that most companies offering

products or services which match the audience profile of the Web can

benefit from having a site, but only if they stop seeing the Web as a

mass communication medium and start seeing it as an opportunity to meet

their customers’ needs individually.

Chris Robson


I think that finally, something genuinely exciting is beginning to

happen online. Traditionally, the recipe for a business Website has been

to slap an old brochure onto the Web and try and think of something

amusing for visitors to play with to encourage them to return. As if. It

is encouraging, therefore, to see Tesco experimenting with online

shopping, banks promising online banking by the end of the year, and

companies like KPMG UK really using the Internet’s capabilities to reach

their clients effectively. Let’s hope this finally silences the

remaining dissenters.

Toby Evetts


According to Underwired, 150 companies a day come online, and 140 get it

wrong. Why? Most Web companies can only see the issue from the point of

view of a programmer (what is possible?), a designer (what will it look

like?) or a marketing person (what can it do for me?). But this is

wrong. What you need to do is look at it first from the point of view of

someone who wants to use your site, and then from the other three.

Effective, seductive, award-winning work comes from understanding, not

just enthusiasm.

Felix Velarde




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