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Developments of the Future (Part 1)

Posted by Adam Benckeser on September 12, 2008

I woke up on Friday morning to a very cold and rainy outside world. I had an economics class at 8 but Economics Track, my event to cover, began at 9 and I rationalized that they were related enough. I entered the auditorium and the crowd was sparse at best but I understood.

I sat through nine presentations, each 20 minutes in length.

Al Bonner and the Lawrence Journal-World’s Marketplace

Al Bonner is the general manager of the Lawrence Journal-World and thus I had some real difficulty listening without bias but I tried with all my might. When I was able to push past my natural hatred as a native Missourian and student at Mizzou, the thing he called the Marketplace, the invention of the Lawrence Journal-World was a wonderful tool.

The Marketplace is a business database that businesses pay $200 a month to be a part of. It has many unique features that make it preferable to google and other, larger databases and are significantly useful when looking for something in your area. When searching on marketplace for a specific item (Bonner used the example of Cole Haan shoes), Marketplace will bring up a list of the actual stores in your area with that item in their inventory. As well, Marketplace provides local businesses with websites or directs traffic to pre-existing websites. It lists hours of business, the address, phone number, charge cards accepted, a map, email, ads/coupons and just about anything else useful to know about a business. It also functions well with google, appearing high on the list of results in a search in most occasions.

Bonner stated that the ultimate goal that the Lawrence Journal-World has for Marketplace is for all advertising for local businesses to revolve around it and though that idea is lofty at a minimum, Marketplace is certainly catching on.

Adam Brown and Coca-Cola

As the Coca-Cola presentation began, a wave of people poured into the room. It was evident, as the biggest and most famous company present, that people were really looking forward to hear what Adam Brown had to say. Adam explained that the Coke brand actually has 1200 different products around the world and they are sold in over 200 countries.

He largely spoke of the fame of Coca-Cola- there are an average of 75 news stories involving Coca-Cola around the world. 2000 blog references a day and 300 on twitter. He also stated that Coke strives to stay honest online while other large companies will plant information, pretending to be consumers praising the product.

He ended giving some advice to young journalists and businessmen that should be taken to heart: communication comes before technology. Technology may be a close second, but if you can’t communicate with your audience, it is useless.

It should be noted more than a quarter of the crowd left when Adam Brown was done.


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