Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dr. Zahay-Blatz on Web Site Strategy

I just wanted to share with you some of my comments on web site strategy from last week's "Hot Topics in Internet Marketing" seminar at NIU Naperville. There I am above having a great time telling it like it is!

My Ph.D. was in both marketing and strategy and it was a pleasure when I went back to school in 1996 after so many years of industry experience to study strategic concepts and understand how they can be used to explain and predict what is going on in business, even in what appears to be a turbulent time of discontinuous change, like ours.

We first looked at basic concepts like core competencies and the positioning map (sometimes called a perceptual map), where you take two dimensions and put them on a simple grid formed by two perpendicular lines. We used the web portal business and looked at the dimensions of providing general information and being a trusted news source. Both Yahoo and AOL have been struggling with their identities lately and AOL recently merged with the Huffington Post and has been developing the local news site 'patch' to become a trusted news source.

However, more people actually get their news from Yahoo than any other source, including CNN! AOL aspires to Yahoo's actual competitive position but is acting confused as to its role right now. I think Yahoo needs to pull out the tried and true positioning map and take a look at its true competitive edge. I suggested that Microsoft buy AOL to get a uniqueness in the marketplace (which I forgot to mention it actually tried to do a few years ago..think that AOL would be more open to acquisition now?) Here's the link to the ebizmba listing of the top web news sites for May 2011.


We then looked at the generic positionings such as low-cost, differentiation, both and stuck-in-the-middle and mapped these positions to Walmart, Target, Kmart and Nordstrom and looked at their web sites to see if the basic positioning was being conveyed. Why don't you take a look at let me know what you think? I think too often the web site gets taken over by the technologists and not the marketers and doesn't convey the company's strategy. Branding is becoming so important on the web because of the transparency of the internet in terms of pricing and product features. These generic positionings, reinforced on the web, can help the customer remember what our product is all about.
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