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DMLR*Newsletter - English text since 1999
||GOLD V edition - April, 01
Primo Award 2000
Web performance: a check-list
New Pop Glam!
Copyright 2001 - All rights reserved (except where indicated).
Primo Award 2000.
The Primo award-winning website is Southafrica.net [total score 12.80] as the best example of complete both informative and interactive online system reaching a broad international audience to promote a traditionally multiethnic country —and doing that better than any other thanks to a multi-tongue and realistic approach (e.g. webcam).
a) Flow Easiness.
- 9 out of 28 selected websites achieve the 4/5 of the maximum score in the flow easiness to visiting.
- Best look appears to me those got by 7 sites (4.5) —with a special mention above all to Boston Consulting Group.
- Download and easy-to-visit (structure) are two factors of great attention by nearly all the visited locations.
- The score for this first dimension awards the global winner Southafrica.net as the best website to visit and look at.
b) Exchange Level.
- 12 sites assure a high performance regarding the interaction and orientation to the customer/visitor!
- Interactive specialists are being resulted Apogeonline, Southafrica and Nationalgeographic (4.5).
- Very client oriented 20 out of 28 sites (71%) and particularly for 6 of them —special mention for Italian food e-retailer Peck.
- Primo (Italian 'first') as exchange-level website results the general winner Southafrica again (4.5).
- The selection of this year shows a great average score on this dimension, being excellent 17 out of 28 (61%) sites (>4.0) and other 9 very good (>3.5).
- The advertising is an integrated system for a half of the websites, but probably a lack of information on the off-line policy gets an incomplete judgement.
- Information is an executed task by the majority of the nominees and 13 out of 28 with almost maximum score (4.5). A special mention to Stashtea for the effort of several informative links.
- Finally I would state Nationalgeographic as the best kind of site on informative added value (4.5) and highly integrated to the print edition.
Read the details of the 28 classified sites on PRIMO 2000.
Note — I have reached the selected sites during the 2nd week in March 2001, usually from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Italian time). For many locations the timing of visit is a non-issue. Any time is a good time. The timing was picked up for me and in any case it was not the first time I entered them. I fixed a limit of 10 minutes for each visit as the period frame allowed to the website to show its quality. The visit was made from a public PC using a Netscape browser and through a pay connection. This is in fact the most usual way to surf the Net and I did prefer doing so to compare such a lot of far different websites with each other.
You should consider not only the virtual contest (Primo award) but the use of such a system as benchmarking, or the process for monitoring your main competitors or suppliers through a Web evaluation. This not impromptu scheme offers a multiple websites ranking as result of the interaction of six main variables. Any of them receives a weight (= importance) you may change and fix according to your objectives. If you are not too comfortable with the figures, let's see how to ponder them over.
Needless to say the final evaluation of the website may range from 12.0 points (3.5 + 4.0 + 4.5) to 11.3 points (3.2 + 3.8 + 4.3) according to the weights you have chosen for the six elements as on the examples above. The best way to manage such a benchmarking method is to put it on an elelctronic sheet where you can easily plan your preferred formulas to evaluate the overall Web efficiency. You might have discovered a balanced diet for your Web tactics!
- Flow Easiness (F).
F = aL + bV, where L is Look, V is easy-to-Visit and their weights are (a+b) = 1.
For example you give to a site a score as follows: 3 for L, 4 for V. Now the weights are determining the actual F-value.
The result will be 3 x O.5 + 4 x 0.5 = 3.5
if you consider aesthetics and easy-to-visit two factors of the same importance, thus the factors a, b got the same 0.5 as weight.
But if you consider look absolutely more important than easy-to-visit (a = 0.8, b = 0.2) the F-value changes to
3 x 0.8 + 4 x 0.2 = 3.2
- Exchange Level (E).
E = cI + dC, where I is Interactive, C is Customization and their weights are (c+d) = 1.
For example you give to a site a score as follows: 5 for I, 3 for C.
The result will be
5 x O.5 + 3 x 0.5 = 4.0
if you consider interactive and customization two factors of the same importance, thus the factors c, d got the same 0.5 as weight.
But if you consider a different importance ratio (c = 0.4, d = 0.6) the E-value changes to
5 x 0.4 + 3 x 0.6 = 3.8
- Information (I).
I = eP + fA, where P is Publicity, A is Added information and their weights are (e+f) = 1.
For example you give to a site a score as follows: 4 for P, 5 for A. The result will be
4 x O.5 + 5 x 0.5 = 4.5
if you consider publicity and added information two factors of the same importance, thus the weights e, f got the same 0.5 as weight.
But if you consider for your marketplace advertising as critical factor (e = 0.7, f = 0.3) the I-value changes to
4 x 0.7 + 5 x 0.3 = 4.3
Web performance: a check-list.
Web building is considered a creative job, especially by web design creative team! But the best creative work should be appealing to your audience, not to you nor the creative team. To help you evaluate the efficiency of the site you are building, managing or simply evaluating, I offer this short list of components —or criteria— linked to the three factors FLOW + EXCHANGE + INFORMATION I talked about to describe the Web benchmarking at the prior point. From the web user's point of view any website is a three-phase process experienced through a creative impact, a interactive process and a product or service offering too. Let's see how to control it by answering at least 7 questions for each important factor of the Web building.
LOOK/FLOW is what the visitor sights, discovers, or reads and what you do to her/him on the website.
INTERACTIVE/CUSTOMIZE affects what the visitor can do to you and how to respond to teasers from you.
- do the graphics encourage your audience to visit the website?
- are the pages simple to download?
- is the set of graphics helping the copy to be understood?
- does the site structure allow to reach every section of it?
- do all the pages of the site look like they are a continuum?
- does the visitor automatically see the main pages or gravitate toward them?
- is your website designed by a creative team well informed on your specific goals put in writing?
AD/INFORMATION affects what you offer and what is your final purpose through the Web.
- does the visitor know what to do if he wants to interact with you?
- are the response devices simple to understand and use?
- do the sections flaunt according to the customer segmentation?
- do you provide the body copy into different languages, or does the visitor find your own language?
- by visiting does your customer recognize what is your online offer?
- is the visitor active in the process of getting the best possible answers?
- is your product or service offered in terms of benefits for your audience?
- do your titles encourage the visitor to read more?
- is your website working together with your off-line advertising and sales promotion?
- is the search function active and easy to follow and available since the first page?
- does your advertising space promote other sites in a synergistic way with yours?
- are your promotional efforts co-ordinate with the web layout and contents?
- is your website conceived as a real direct marketing program?
- does the Web creative support your overall company or product image?
Use this check-list as Web screening.
What should an employer know about direct marketing? And what does he actually know? Dealing with small- and medium-sized enterprises my impression is direct marketing is often confused with the general marketing techniques and methods. Not many firm owners and professionals know exactly the difference between a direct marketing approach to the customer and an advertising campaign or a sales promotion. It's all stuff for the same purpose and the business is apparently using all the systems to gain advantage without a clear uderstanding on what is important as long-term strategy and what else is aimed to achieve short-term results. Or what is worth for the company image and what else is selling products and services. Isn't such a condition understandable? This implies I have noticed the importance to explain the ABC of direct marketing when I'm going to contact a local entrepreneur the first time. Regardless of his experience on marketing the first informative letter will be appearing sometimes too much simple, but never the addressee will guess it as the senseless action of vague marketing. The letter I'm using to this purpose is a kind of first step into the direct marketing as daily activity to carry out within a small staff or company where the managers are used to do anything for their business. So the letter is a question in a form of an answer as follows.
What does a "direct marketer" do?
a) he sets up the promotional material, the presentation letter to customer, the copy that will be used as track for the phone calls by the telemarketing operators and he makes up them in short training;
b) he allows the letter sending (both mailing or e-mailing);
c) he manages the "first contact" with the customers, assigning the priority among the information requests that are coming in via the telephone, fax, internet;
d) he sends the informative material to the customers who required it;
e) he selects the most interesting oppotunities for the direct contacts.
That is not all a direct marketer does, but sure it makes the reader aware of what I'm going to speak about. The letter is then addressed via snail mail, fax or e-mail following the general plan to reach a new audience. Its purpose could comprehend one or more of the following: personal presentation; job search; selling consultant services; expand the newsletter audience; visiting to the website; or simply getting attention.
Enter here the complete 1997-98 collection of articles in Italian I wrote on Direct Marketing (.pdf).
- Fedma.org is the European direct marketing forum, and they have now added a link to DMLR site on the section "Useful Addresses — Magazines/Portals".
- Business.com offers specific industry information, with 58 industry profiles and more than 10,000 company profiles.
- Sitereleases.com is a database of newly released websites on the internet. The sites which are released in the past 6 months can only be a part of sitereleases.com and all the site listing expires after 6 months from the day listed giving a pure database of newly released websites at any given point of time. The cost of listing a newly released website at sitereleases.com is a one time fee of $15.
- Ikaro.net is an Italian free service to list websites. DMLR has been added into the Marketing/Direct, E-mailing category since January.
Press on GOLD SELECTION to enter the selected websites now!
New Pop Glam!
The Nasdaq suffered a huge historic collapse in 2000 because of the bursting of the dot-com bubble —when several Net companies lost more than 99% of their value. Even so everyone still wants to get his own website. It's silly, no?. Car dealers, bakers, jewellers, hoteliers, photographers, real estate officers are opening sites to communicate via the Internet and to gain additional market benefits as local seller. They are mostly using the Web as an additional mobile phone device!
I called this phenomenon as the "New Pop Glam" on the article issued two years ago. And I have recently developed a Web positioning matrix to describe the most frequent evidences and styles the Web managers are liking when they build a very stylish site. As trendy as the DJs are, Webmasters are able to melt down the older marketing creeds with the new hypermedia computer mediated environment (HCME). I have elected to revamp my semi-serious guide to the Web positioning and communication modes, NOW available for the DMLR*News readers!
The guide wants to be duly practical, pertinently critical, but never impertinent. It sounds like NPG in mass attack... and approaches the website from a new direction, the style.
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Roberto Dondi - marketing consultant and author.
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