Marketing Planet

Wikipedia - online initiation in marketing

In the world of internet, Wikipedia cannot be ignored. It is the first online encyclopaedia that can be enriched by various people and that exists in different languages. As a result, it increases almost daily and enables to display different viewpoints and evolutions.

Some history on Wikipedia

As mentioned by the site itself: "Wikipedia is a Web-based, free-content encyclopaedia that is written collaboratively by volunteers. It consists of 195 independent language editions sponsored by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Entries on traditional encyclopaedic topics exist alongside those on almanac, gazetteer, and current events topics. Its purpose is to create and distribute, worldwide, a free encyclopaedia in as many languages as possible. Wikipedia is one of the most popular reference sites on the Web, receiving around 60 million hits per day."

"Wikipedia contains approximately 1.5 million articles, more than 570,000 of which are in its English language edition, more than 200,000 in the German language, and more than 100,000 each in Japanese and French. It began as a complement to the expert-written Nupedia on January 15, 2001."

For the English version, the articles can be found directly in any of the following topics: culture, geography, history, life, mathematics, science, society and technology.

Besides the online availability, its richness comes from the way new articles and other information is added though controlling about its quality: "You’re encouraged to create, expand, and improve upon articles; however, bad edits to articles are watched for and will be quickly removed."

Wikipedia and Marketing

Though many may learn about marketing in their schoolbooks, the interesting point on Wikipedia for marketing is the fact that new information can be added and from one information you can "surf" to any linked topics and enrich your horizon quickly. It does also propose specific websites that potentially provide interesting information relevant to the topic.

Since English is the Marketing Planet written language, our examples will apply to the English version on Wikipedia. However, to show the richness of this encyclopaedia we will propose in different languages the entry page for marketing:

General structure for marketing

Wikipedia proposes the following structure as a guideline for the topics / articles:

Each of the topics opens a way of articles and links providing you a "tree" of possibilities.

Some examples with the direct links

  • Explanations and definitions regarding product management and new product development
  • Customers does not yet propose any continuing links, but outlines directly different types of customers including internal customers.
  • When looking in criticism on marketing, you can even surf to the page about the book No Logo or to the explanation on Marxism
  • Brand management
  • From brand management you can find information on different brands such as Kellogg’s including various information on the company, as well as its founders, its brands etc. all referring to other links.
  • Technique takes the reader to a variety in marketing techniques, including the recent trends: "A relatively new form of marketing uses the Internet and is called internet marketing or more generally e-marketing. It typically tries to perfect the segmentation strategy used in traditional marketing. It targets its audience more precisely, and is sometimes called personalized marketing or one-to-one marketing."

Conclusion

Wikipedia is a very rich and modern online encyclopaedia. Its richness comes from the various languages, the online availability and the possibility to enrich it. Its online function may, however, in the end both be its strength and its weakness. Indeed, the different links on each page may take you each time a step further in the "forest of links". In the end you risk to have spend far more time on the website than wanted initially - but isn’t this the general risk with internet. Of course you can learn a lot, but for most of us, time is rare and precious. If you manage yourself to set a limit of time spend on Wikipedia, it is definitely interesting to put it in your bookmarks.

There is no other website that can yet compete with Wikipedia, let alone for its independency. But not everything can be found. If you need more in-depth information on any of the topics, the "related links" can take you further. Otherwise, you will have to look elsewhere on the internet. The topics in Wikipedia are being completed gradually. It makes it therefore difficult to have the same level of information for each topic. It is possible that some topics provide little information, whereas other topics may provide enormous information.

Wikipedia is an intersting way for finding new ideas. When surfing through its pages, you may come up with new ideas and suggestions that may be obvious but that have just slipped your out of mind. The different languages in which you can find information on marketing, provide you also a good opportunity to perfect your language skills and complete your vocabulary. Or why not provide you some basic ideas of the vocabulary in other languages.