By Kaitlyn Smeland Dhanaliwala
Sep 25, 2009
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This week, YouTube announced a new channel called Fast.Foward. Created through a partnership between Google and The Wharton School (shout out to my alma mater!), Fast.Forward’s mission is to provide perspectives from industry leaders and academics on how the marketing landscape is changing as consumers become increasingly tech-savvy and interactive. Although Fast.Forward is a great initiative (read below for the details!), tweaking a few site issues could allow for even more exposure.
Not only is Fast.Forward a great resource for marketers, but it also provides some useful tools and insights that students can use if they are interested in beginning a career in internet marketing. Last year, Janet Miller wrote a post about how it is often difficult for academic institutions to keep their marketing curricula abreast of the fast-changing developments in online marketing fields. Fast.Forward appears to provide a good example of academic institutions playing a more active role in teaching the applications of, engaging in, and researching the current digital landscape.
The Fast.Forward channel features about 100 short video interviews of professors, marketers, and technology insiders on subjects related to the testing of online campaigns, the economic landscape, the new definition of speed in rolling out campaigns, the emphasis on consumer engagement versus traditional advertising tactics, and social media and branding issues. There is even a series of on-the-street interviews with non-marketers that give a consumer point of view on some of these issues.
Fast.Forward also features links to a plethora of Google products with which marketers should familiarize themselves (like Website Optimizer, Ad Planner, the Google API, etc.) The page’s design and navigation, although completely contained inside Flash, is clean and intuitive. There are also convenient ways to browse through the many featured videos.
However, for a project with such a heavy emphasis on educating general marketers about things like social media and engagement, the element of conversation with users seems to be a bit absent from the Fast.Forward page. All links are contained in Flash, so different areas of the site cannot be indexed separately and featured in search results. Comments can only be added to the bottom of the main page- not to individual videos- which prevents discussion on individual points made by the experts. It also appears to be impossible to grab URLs of individual videos for sharing and embedding. Wouldn’t you like to be able to post and discuss the thoughts presented by these experts on your own marketing blog?
Addressing these issues would likely allow the mission of this great initiative to spread even further.