Anthony - 2/4 - Digital Marketing Agency

Wikipedia and the Digital Age Brings an End to the Printed Encyclopaedia

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I was drawn to this piece on Media Decoder that the Internet has killed 244 year old Encyclopaedia Britannica, with anticipation that the company will announce shortly that it is discontinuing its printed version. The image of large reference tomes filling mahogany bookshelves will now be relegated to the realm of nostalgia as it highlights the growth and reality of the digital age.


I see this announcement as no surprise. With the online dominance of Wikipedia, access to reputable sources and information which is updated by Wikipedia’s tens of thousands of contributors makes it a dynamic reference point matching the demands of the digital consumer. The 2010 edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica will be its last set with over 4,000 contributors ranging from Tony Hawk’s contribution to the entry on pro skateboarding and Arnold Palmer, the professional golfer who wrote the entry on the Masters Tournament. The 32 volume set has sold only an estimated 8,000 with 4,000 being stored in a warehouse for further purchase.

I want to draw attention to the quote:

“It’s a rite of passage in this new era,” Jorge Cauz, the president of Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., a Chicago-based company, said in an interview. “Some people will feel sad about it and nostalgic about it. But we have a better tool now. The Web site is continuously updated, it’s much more expansive and it has multimedia.”

Not to sound cruel (as I grew up with Encyclopaedia Britannica and am quite fond of the memories of the smell of the pages the sheer weight of its volumes) I believe the new era had already arrived with the creation of Wikipedia. Why didn’t Britannica adapt to this new competitor? Yes they adopt a different marketing strategy where schools and educational institutions are the main consumer of their products. Where was the push for the Encyclopaedia Britannica website to become a viable source of information in the wake of Wikipedia? I would have liked to see them transfer their authority into the online realm. I feel their brand presence has diminished as they did not capitalise on the impending threat. They needed to bring the Encyclopaedia into the minds of the digital consumer, the contemporary consumer. Now instead their authority as an online source of information is in the shadow of the juggernaut which is Wikipedia, which heralds free dissemination of information.

I’m sorry, I guess I will miss the days of opening up my 5kg volume to learn about the prehistoric Neanderthal when researching my primary school project.

Australia’s Digital Economy Opportunity

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Highlighted in, Australia should not be neglected by domestic and/or foreign digital marketers. With the growing strength of the Australian dollar and economy and a high online adoption by consumers, Australia’s digital industry is struggling to keep up. It is indicative that now is the time to capitalise on the untapped demand of the digital consumer. Unfortunately companies are still failing to acknowledge this demand or failing to execute successful digital marketing strategies. The rise of the Australian digital economy has been driven by easily accessible technology and government initiatives such as the National Broadband Network (NBN).
The article highlighted two areas of opportunity:

1. The need for internal marketers to adopt a rapid “do-or-die” approach to the marketplace to take advantage of online adoption among consumers.

2. The opening for external marketers to take advantage of a relatively insular marketplace, where hisorical barriers of entry are being lowered by associated technologies.

Applicable to my initial point, with the absence of national marketers taking advantage of online adoption among consumers, this has lead them to turn to international sites. In turn this has lead to international companies identifying the gaps in the market, moving in and looking to secure their place. This can be seen in the case of Macy using eBay as a domestic platform to sell to the Australian online consumer as a result of the high Australian dollar.
However the e-consultancy article did highlight an intention by client side marketers to increase their digital marketing budget over the coming year versus traditional offline budgets.
Digital marketing
I believe the next phase of a digital budget increase is whether it translates to effective and pertinent digital marketing strategy. Time will tell.

Facebook Identification Card – A Future Requirement?

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German artist Tobias Leingruber has taken Facebook into the physical realm. In an inventive step forward he has created identification cards detailing a users Facebook information. Handing them out at conferences in Berlin and Amsterdam next month, the project called “FB Bureau” presents your real name, username, gender, location, and the date you joined the social network. Additionally the card features a QR code which points to your Facebook profile. Not the type of ID I would be handing over to get into a nightclub (my Facebook profile age makes me 4 years old) but definitely adds to street cred when showing them off to your impressed peer group.



The Future of ID Cards

His reasoning behind the project:

“Governments like Germany have released new passports that offer online identity checks as well, but they will likely never succeed with their technologies given the already existing structure of Facebook, powered by lazieness (or convience). The other way around though – A future where a Facebook Identity becomes more important than any governments’ doesn’t seem unrealistic. This possible future is already half-way there. What is exciting about this, what can be our role as artists and why should one even bother? Let’s find out!”

With 800 million users, Facebook presents a comprehensive identity system. With the compilation of data available it would not be unrealistic to suggest that this could very well be the future. Though merely for vanity, give it a few more years and Facebook Identification Cards may shift into a legitimate form of ID. Maybe a place in an employers 100 point ID check? We shall see.

Creativity Can Get Painful on Twitter

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According to a report on Twitter will hit 500 million registered users by this Wednesday. There is a certain level of skepticism about the legitimacy of this number and the site itself admits that its estimates are “based on limited information and interpretations that may or may not be accurate”. Nonetheless the Twitter online following is nothing short of impressive with Twitter admitting that they have more than 100 million active users. This is the important statistic as active users are what matters, they are engaging with the service and are playing a part in the online community.

Skepticism aside of the actual number, with a user base which toys with numbers in the 100-500 million range, it pays immense dividends to be recognised online. Though there are cases, most notably Youtube, where you just need a “funny talent” to accrue close to 30 million views, via Twitter, developing a following and growing the amount of followers requires time, effort and a certain amount of luck. Not to say this isn’t also applicable to Youtube. However what needs to be sprinkled over these elements is a spark of creativity and a unique proposition which connects and stirs the imagination of the Twitter user. A testament to these elements coming together is in the user Sebuyama where on a challenge by the President of Japanese firm Omocoro he was to have one of this tweets be retweeted by at least 1,000 people. A series of experimental tweets lead to a viral winner, Sebuyama pledging to attach a clothes peg to his body for every retweet he received.

Sebuyama and Twitter

Creativity in action on Twitter

When Viral Marketing Gets Painful

The originality of the idea attracted interest in Japan and even from across the globe. Not to say a successful viral Twitter campaign has to involve self inflicted pain and satisfying the sadistic pleasures of thousands of followers. But it does beg the question, how far does one have to go to go viral?

I wouldn’t attach 1000+ clothes pegs to myself. Unless I knew everyone was watching.

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