Accenture: Agencies must get market savvy

Governments must do more than set up useful Web sites for their constituents. They also must market these sites to the public, according to a new report on global e-government issued this week by Accenture Ltd. of Hamilton, Bermuda.

The company's survey of global e-government, 'E-Government Leadership: High Performance, Maximum Value,' found that one of the newer challenges that government agencies face is getting the word out about new electronic services.

'Across the board in all the countries, the Number 1 reason people were not using e-government more is because they weren't aware that the sites were out there,' said Derek Kearney, a member of the report's research team.

Marketing may involve advertising campaigns as well as other promotional gimmicks long used by commercial industry to spread the word on new products. Marketing also involves using polls and survey groups to determine what new products the public would find valuable.

Some agencies are better than others at marketing their sites, said Steve Rohleder, chief executive of Accenture's government operating group. Rohleder pointed to successful efforts such as the marketing campaign for the IRS e-file service and the General Services Administration's FirstGov advertising campaign. Canada has used polls, user groups and other forms of market research to reach its audience and then developed better e-gov offerings based on the results, Kearney said.

'eGovernment Leadership: High Performance, Maximum Value' is Accenture's fifth annual progress report on how well selected governments are building electronic services. The report ranks the governments in order of how thoroughly they provide 206 services. In this year's report, Canada ranked first of 22 countries surveyed, with the United States and Singapore tied for second.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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