Denver pitches official Web site
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Apr 16, 2002
In an aggressive campaign beginning May 1, Denver will advertise its government
Web site through community newspapers, radio spots and a city-owned cable
channel. It's an unusual move within a sector unaccustomed to such marketing
"I see the need being precipitated by the competition out there," said
Steve Hansen, marketing director for the city's Television and Internet
Scores of "imposter" sites such as news, travel or "underground"
sites bill themselves as "the official Denver Web site," he said, and
then provide links to the city's site (www.denvergov.org), which was launched in 1999.
"We felt like we had to do a full-blown branding to the public," Hansen
said, adding that the initial marketing push will last through November.
Hansen and Byron West, director of the 22-person Television and Internet
Services Department, presented their strategy to several other municipal
officials at the Public Technology Inc. conference last week in Scottsdale,
Ariz. They showed print advertising campaigns that promote the government
site as the primary source of information for constituents and said the
city-owned Channel 8 also would air ads.
Marketing is a difficult concept for governments to embrace, said Hansen,
who added that it gets a "bad rap." West said officials have a mindset that
they don't need to publicize services and offerings because people will
come to them.
"Government sets itself up that other people have to come to it because
they have to," she said. "[But] we're in the best position to present this
information." West said the campaign could not have happened without high-level
support from the city government. The city budgeted $90,000 last year for
the effort, and $84,000 this year, they said. This enabled the department
to hire a professional marketing firm.
West said she's seen "pockets" of marketing done by other municipalities,
but only where a specific service was promoted. "As a general principle...you
don't see it adopted," she said.