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Great Web Sites: www.alcoa.com

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www.alcoa.com
Company: Alcoa, Pittsburgh
Target audience: Decision-makers at manufacturing companies
Key Web executive: Kevin Lowery, director of corporate communications
No. of employees who work on the site: Two
Last major redesign: July 2002
No. of pages in site: 35,000, not including the product catalog
When you compete in multiple markets all over the world, you want to be able to address all of your customers from a single point of reference. Alcoa.com does just that, said Kevin Lowery, Alcoa director of corporate communications, who oversees the company’s Web site.
The site essentially has eight different sites within it, providing information on different markets the company competes in, such as automotive, aerospace and construction. 
“Each of the businesses manage their own site but they are all coordinated and have the same consistent style and feel,” Lowery said.
Lowery is in charge of setting that style and feel with Alcoa’s extensive corporate “About” section. There, visitors get a bird’s-eye view of the entire organization, from its vision and values to its trademark history and environmental concerns.
The education isn’t just for fun, Lowery said. It’s all about priming the customer. Once primed, that’s when the real work starts, he said.
“What we’re looking for is qualified leads getting directed to the right contact,” Lowery said. “We did a study and found out that [salespeople] weren’t following up the way we wanted them to, so we added a contact management system and a filter to the site, too. That’s one of our main features built into the site, actually. You’re never more than one click away from a contact.”
 —Karen J. Bannan


EXPERT 2¢
Shane Ginsberg:
“The site is really coherent and elegant—visually, informationally and functionally. For a massive, global ‘old-line’ business, it’s a very shiny site. It has fantastic globalization and localization options, such as multiple languages. And it has wonderful contextual search results.”
Jakob Nielsen: “The site really gives you an overview of the company—the revenues by product, the different markets they serve, how big they are. The products are listed and are a little more specific than you see on other sites. They have the product categories and subcategories with two- or three-line descriptions. That’s really useful.”



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