Is a microsite still a relevant marketing tactic?

Last week I gave props to a couple of British Columbian credit unions for their good work. Here is the post. The Prospera Credit Union microsite that I wrote positive comments about definitely had the blog readers disagreeing. This got me to thinking, has the microsite concept come and gone? Is it still a useful marketing tactic in an integrating marketing campaign? Or was this just a few people that didn't like Prospera's new microsite?

Wikipedia defines a microsite as follows: A microsite, also known as a minisite or weblet, is an Internet Web design term referring to an individual web page or cluster of pages which are meant to function as an auxiliary supplement to a primary website. The microsite's main landing page most likely has its own URL.

Big companies like Nike and Sony crank out dozens of new microsites every year. Develop a new product, launch a microsite. Launch a new movie or new video game, launch a microsite. Some of these sites are pure entertainment, while others provide useful tools. 

Here are a two more financial industry microsites to weigh in on.

Wells Fargo Backstage
This youth-oriented microsite has all the latest bells and whistles. It teaches, entertains and gives visitors a chance to win.

 

Gruber Institute of Financial Wellness
This microsite from Alabama Credit Union is really the same bank-bashing premise as the Prospera site featured last week with a different spin.

And here are a couple non-financial microsites. One real funny, one real useful.

Philips Shave Everywhere
This is not for the timid or faint of heart. Not only is this brilliantly funny, it actually makes a compelling case that men should have zero body hair! This is a couple of years old now, but it still sets the standard for what a microsite can be.

 

Nike Plus
I personally use this site in conjunction with my iPod nano and my fancy Nike running shoes to track my runs (OK, they are mainly walks with my wife and kids). This is an amazing microsite that pulls together personal tracking, goal-setting, Google maps and more.

So, what do you think: is the microsite an overused marketing tactic that has seen its day or can a well-designed microsite still be the central hub of a successful marketing campaign?

Tim