Going Back to Basics: Web 0.0

While most executives would instantly see the folly of expecting new telephones to miraculously improve the selling ability of an ineffective telemarketing group, they somehow believe applying “Web 2.0” will reinvigorate their Internet channel and miraculously generate new business.

A CIO’s ability to dispel this myth and regard the Web as simply another customer communication channel is the key to Web 0.0.

Web 0.0 is distilling your customer-facing Web efforts to answer the question of “How can I most effectively serve visitors who chose to use this communication channel?” The same basics apply to any other communication channel.

A pleasing design and functional navigation are as essential to a website as quality printing and no missing pages are to a brochure or book. At the same time, a flashy cover to a brochure or a healthy serving of Web 2.0 technologies will not hold a customer’s attention if the content in question does not serve their basic needs.

Take a hard look at existing visitors using your company’s Internet tools and ask the following questions: Who are they? Why are they visiting? What information are they looking for? Do they find it? How hard was it to find?

Focusing on these questions will poke holes in what once seemed like good ideas. Customers rarely visit a private-sector website to read flowery missives about missions and values, rather they want something.

Perhaps it is product information, which some companies hide behind so many layers of email forms, teaser screens and irrelevant facts that it nearly screams to customers to look elsewhere. Maybe it is support or contact information, which could leave a lasting positive impression or send the customer running for the open arms of a competitor.

Never look at your Web strategy as one designed to shout a monolithic message at one type of customer. Rather, ensure it meets the needs of the customers you are most interested in attracting and retaining.

Web 2.0 may be an excellent tool to enhance an already successful internet strategy, but until you have perfected Web 0.0 you are likely chasing technology rather than chasing customers.

Patrick Gray is the founder and President of Prevoyance Group, located in Harrison, NY. Prevoyance Group provides strategic IT consulting services. Past clients include Gillette, Pitney Bowes, OfficeMax and several other Fortune 500 and 1000 companies. Patrick can be reached at [email protected].