Earthquake User Generated Content : Lessons for Digital Marketing Strategy

Last month I watched the coverage of the Christchurch, New Zealand earthquake with amazement. When looking over the list of major earthquakes since 2005, it was the first with heavy damage to occur in a wealthy nation with lots of digital devices since the dawn of Youtube and user generated content(UGC) ability to share on social media sites. The video below shows a person in their living room taken video during the actual earthquake itself, at the time I remember thinking that is the first user generated content video I’d seen during an actual earthquake.

This month, one of the largest earthquakes in the modern history of the world took place in Japan. As you may know, Japan is one of the highest penetration rates of digital camera and digital phones in the world. Since most of the areas affected by the earthquake are without power and without Internet and mobile connections this content is going to ever so slowly trickle out instead of hitting instantly. It will likely become a torrent of video over time. This amazing video of the tsunami was obtained by Russia Today:

Many more of these videos will show the massive magnitude of this event in Japan and the insignificance of our species when compared to the forces of nature.

OK, what does this have to do with digital marketing strategy? Everything.

- Marketing Department Organizational Structures Are Still Aligned to the Pre-Internet Era – budgets, the position spec of the CMO, marketing channel management, lack of understanding of the need to change communication formats. Embrace UGC, rather than resisting it.

- Executive Leadership Teams Are Not Actively Managing Marketing Budgets – The commoditization of content and creative due to globalization, Apple computers, digital cameras and the creation of sites like 99designs.com create opportunities for management teams to significantly change business results. The portfolio of marketing channels is not naturally efficient. It requires highly specialized skills to optimize properly. These opportunities can only be realized when these assets are managed to the the proper business result objectives instead of branding measurement objectives that were appropriate in the 20th century.

My your preferred higher power bless the people of Japan during this difficult time. I only wish that the great coverage that the Los Angeles Times was doing about the earthquake and tsunami right now was just as focused, just as strong on the tsunami of change affecting the world of business gradually everyday across the world. The majority of the world has yet to see the drivers of the damage and are not properly responding to realign to new realities.

The time to act is now!

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One Response to Earthquake User Generated Content : Lessons for Digital Marketing Strategy

  1. Kevin March 15, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

    God bless everyone in Japan and let’s hope they get control this disaster very soon.

    Great post, makes sense.

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