Awhile back I had to give a presentation on experience planning to a bunch of traditional advertisers. In preparation for this, I asked the audience to email me examples of bad websites so that we could discuss what it was about them that made them bad. One of them was so bad that I was sure it was a mistake -- that it was a relic of a company long gone out of business. However, as it turns out, not only is the company still in business, but they actually promote their website on the product, or at least, they promote the fact that they have the website, and then trust that people wouldn't bother to check it out.
The product, Toast 'Ems, is almost identical to Pop Tarts. I'm sure someone with a more distinguished palate can tell the difference, but I'm at a loss.
At any rate, I chanced across them as I was walking by the dollar aisle at Albertson's, a grocery chain here in the deep south. I looked at the package, and on the back noticed the invitation, "Visit our website at www.toastem.com." (Please note: You MUST put in the "www.")
Go ahead. I'll wait.
It's fairly generic. Besides the gaudy animated gifs on the home page, the main sections are:
- At a Glance
- Employment Opportunities
- Questions and Comments
Now, I don't have any idea what their marketing plan is or how they're doing financially. It would be a colossal mistake to assume that, just because their website is "horrible," they are in a poor position. We have thousands of years of history to prove that the Internet isn't the only way to make money.
I bring this up only to point out why they can get away with building a bad website. The reason is this:
Their audience doesn't care.
Granted, the website doesn't give them any reason to care, but even if they did, what is the likelihood that, while eating toaster pastries for breakfast before school, kids are going to see the website, decide they just have to visit at that moment to see what the company has to offer?
It is so statistically small that it really isn't worth considering. The world doesn't operate that way. People don't operate that way, because they don't care nearly as much about your brand as you do.
I have no doubt that the Internet could be used in this company's marketing mix effectively. For not a whole lot of money, they could hire a student to redesign the site they have to make it more aesthetically pleasing, if nothing else.
However, this company has decided not to jump into a space to invest in something that, even if they did everything right, may not produce a return that couldn't be beat by investing in other things.
If nothing else, I have to admire them for not thinking so much of themselves that they have to overwrite, overproduce, and overspend -- just because everyone else seems to be doing it. They have a Web address. And (in the name of made-up statistics) for 99.9999% of the people who are exposed to the address, that will be enough, because only .0001% are going to bother to visit, and they won't care that it sucks. - Cam Beck