Sunday, June 8, 2003

Procter & Gamble stays in touch with customers with its Web site



By Cliff Peale
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Of the 175 Internet sites operated by Procter & Gamble Co., it's pouring many of its resources into one: www.pg.com.

The corporate site not only provides general information about the Tristate's biggest corporate powerhouse. It also aggregates consumer information from many of P&G's 250 brands, and links to all of the company's Web sites.

And it's working. The site recorded 1.87 million visits in April, nearly double the number a year ago. This year, it hopes to host 20 million user sessions, compared with only 2.8 million two years ago.

"The Internet has become a medium where there's an expectation that you're there when people need you," said Gay Piller, digital brand manager for pg.com. "What you do above and beyond that is what keeps those users coming back."

Last year, the trade publication Best Practices in Corporate Communications named pg.com best among 529 corporate sites in its annual study.

The site underwent a near-total revamp in 2000. Since then, Piller's group has concentrated on gathering all of the promotional offerings and brand information from P&G brands and putting it on the site.

The average visitor is female, has children, is between the ages of 24 and 42, and is mid- to upper-income, Piller said.

"People enjoy having a point of entry to talk to the company," she said.

Several departments, such as investor relations and human resources, provide content for those sections of the site. For example, the investor page includes daily details of how many shareholders of German hair-care giant Wella AG have tendered their shares in P&G's acquisition of Wella.

E-mail cpeale@enquirer.com



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