At the beginning of the ’90s, Britannica, the indisputable ruler of encyclopedias with a 200 year old legacy, would hardly have felt anyone could challenge them. So when a promotional copy of Encarta began shipping with Microsoft PCs, the management at Britannica ignored it.

As it turned out, “one of the greatest brand names in the English-speaking world was nearly destroyed — in just five years — by a cheap, shiny disc.”*

Britannica, however, managed to stage a comeback by adapting their product for electronic media.

The story of Britannica is relevant to all businesses. Technology is here to stay, and it will impact businesses which communicate with the external world. It began with CD-ROMS. Then came the internet, and now we are living in the mobile age.

There are more modes of communication available to businesses today, than at any time in the past. Choosing the right mix of these media is crucial to reach your target audience. How many customers can you reach? At what cost? Cost here is more than just the financials. If an advertisement in a local newspaper increases your reach, supplying generic watered-down information sacrifices the richness of your brand. This trade-off between reach and richness is inherent in all forms of communication.

Going where no medium has gone before!

Going where no medium has gone before!

The advent of internet, though, is disrupting this trend. Delivering rich personalized communication to a large section of your target audience is now becoming somewhat easier. The increasing number of e-commerce ventures is proof of that.

But what about the physical retailer? A small business without the budget to take care of a fancy website and an online payment gateway, still relies on traditional offline methods of communicating. Or so it seems.

We’d like to think DealChaat can offer a small business owner a level playing field, if not a significant advantage, and reach out to customers around her. Trying to represent DealChaat in relation to other traditional media, we realized that the platform has the potential to provide rich communication with a wider reach. Instantly communicating to customers at a hyperlocal level, the store owner’s reach is limited to only those who are around her store. And it is that audience that is most likely to convert to walk-ins and sales. Tailoring content to specific locations, the store owner can retain content richness.

We may not unsettle other media the way Encarta did – yet. But we do know the future is in the mobile space, and our time is here.

What do you think?

* Blown to Bits: How the New Economics of Information Transforms Strategy, by Philip Evans and Thomas Wurster

Read more about the book here: How Encyclopedia Britannica was Blown to Bits