The new Pelco web site - huh?
So, Pelco's been promoting its new web site for a bit (a couple guys have pimped it on Twitter, etc.) and it's live today. Go check it out. I'll wait. Done? Okay - what did you think? Can you even tell it's new? To me, it looks very circa 2006. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, as new trends in web design don't exactly always leave me breathless, but it's certainly not cutting edge in any way. There are a ton of resources available, most of them in the form of pdfs, and it seems like it would be pretty easy to research the basics of the products I was interested in reselling or buying if I were an integrator or end user. Those are good things. But. Here are some questions I have: 1. Really, you're promoting the better search functionality? Search should be an after-thought by this point. The site's not that big to begin with, and Google offers pretty easy plug ins to make your site easily searchable. (And, yes, I understand that the search function on our site absolutely sucks - that's sort of by design, but don't ask why unless you want my head to explode. And if you do want that, I understand completely, just try to appeal to your inner conscience). 2. Aren't you, Pelco, a company that makes video cameras and deals in video kind of exclusively? Aren't you, like, really good at video? Well then where's the freaking video? There's no video on the front page, just some simple flash. If you go to the about us, there's actually a link to some videos down at the bottom after a bunch of boring corporate copy, but no one's ever going to scroll down there and click on it, and there's no actual picture to tease you to click on the video link, just a little widget thing. Then you click on the video link and it takes you here. Where is the frigging video player? I've still got to click again to watch a video? How is that possible? So, I click again, and there's a good video of CEO Dean Meyers talking about the company's open and integrated policy, which is great, but let me get this straight: I've got to click three times before I can see a video of the CEO talking? Why? Isn't this guy the face of your company? Also, if you've got a bunch of videos to show to people, which you do, why do I have to counter-intuitively navigate from the home page to the "sales and support" tab and then click on "downloads and tools"? I want to watch videos! Why isn't there a link that says "video" anywhere on the home page? You make video cameras and video storage devices! I just don't get that. If you go to look at the products, you can download the spec sheets in Russian, but you can't get a 360-degree view of the camera or watch any sort of video promoting it. I can download firmware and technical tips, but I can't view a live stream coming from the camera and showing me the Pelco campus parking lot or something. There are actually some cool training videos you can find here, but you'd never know to click there because they call them "podcasts" and they hide them way down in the lower left hand corner of the Global Training part of the site. The Pelco Learning Center web site might be awesome, but I can't look at anything without a user name and password. 3. Hey Pelco, have you ever heard of social media? I know your people are tweeting - I follow them - but you wouldn't know Pelco had ever heard of Twitter or Facebook by looking at your brand-new web site. Let me reiterate: Your web site is brand-new. They're about to name Twitter the person of the year and stuff. Maybe you could throw me a little bone somewhere on the home page asking me to follow your feed. If you don't know where your Twitter home page is, it's right here. You have 361 followers. That's not great for a company with your huge amount of customers, but, hey, it's more than me. You know a good way to get more followers? Not pretend like you don't even have a Twitter account by not having a link to it anywhere on your brand-new web site. I tried the awesome new search function to see if Twitter was anywhere on your site that I just couldn't find. No results found. Did I mean to search "tier"? No. 4. Where can I go to hear the voice of your company? You have no blogs, no Facebook page link, no way at all for your company leadership to communicate with your customers. Why? This is an age when people feel like they're more connected to their business partners than ever before. I can tweet directly to company CEOs all over the place and they reply. Wouldn't it be cool to hear from a product manager about the great new developments he's working on? Doesn't your marketing team have some thoughts on how resellers can better leverage your great new technology? Doesn't Dean Meyers have some thoughts on the state of the industry he could share? Apparently not. In fact, I can't even find the email address of a single actual person that works at Pelco. Every email provided is just some generic thing like "firstname.lastname@example.org." How should I address that email? "Dear Matrix Support"? But maybe I'm being too harsh. Axis' web site is just as crappy, and they're supposedly cutting edge types. There's certainly no video available on their product page. I mean, seriously, I can hack into about 5,000 Axis cameras in operation around the world with a simple Google search, but you can't provide me with a little camera feed I can play with to test the quality? What are you afraid of? At least I can find out how many shares of the company each of their management team owns, though. I'm sure I could go on ripping video manufacturers' sites all day long, but hopefully that's not the point of all this. My basic point is that there are all these great tools available for making connections with customers, for putting real faces on people and making them more approachable and personable, for making the company accessible and approachable and easy to do business with, and Pelco, with its brand-new web site really hasn't done any of those things. They've created a wonderful repository of information and a giant passive advertisement, but that's what I have google and most industry trade publications for. Is there any reason at all to come to the site unless I have a problem or am looking to buy something? Why invest in a new web site and just do a cosmetic makeover and not take advantage of any of the new trends in b-to-b web marketing? I just don't get it.