How Long Before Your Market Cuts The Cord?


differences between digital media and traditional media

Are you still tied to a cord?

More and more folks are cutting the cord — the one connecting them to a cable or satellite box and serving up hundreds of channels they never watch.

Smart media companies, like CBS and HBOGo, are poised to capitalize on Internet media with pay per channel models, while others still use a revenue model based on advertising.

BTW, if you want to see how cutting the cord makes financial sense, here’s a calculator from the Verge to help. Remember, you’ll pay more for Internet access (which you need to make most other cord-cutting solutions work) and phone if you’re still tied to a landline.

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Whatever decision you make, the business decision is very different:

Has your market cut the cord?

What happens when your market cuts the cord?

Once your customers cut the cord, they no longer see your advertising.

I heard a prediction yesterday on NPR that this might be the last time candidates and TV stations will clean up on presidential debate advertising. In 5 years, when the next presidential debates happen, there might be nobody to watch it on live TV. Instead, we might all cut the cord and watch through a streaming service, like PlayOn.TV.

  • What does that mean for advertisers?
  • Will TV networks face the same uncertain future as newspapers?
  • Even without alternative viewing options, today’s media viewing is so fragmented across many cable channels that the number of eyeballs watching any single program are dwindling. Only a few programs offer something close to the number of viewers advertisers are used to — programs like the Super Bowl and Presidential Debates. Will alternative programming options offer enough eyeballs to warrant massive advertising expenditures?

The time to prepare for massive cord cutting is NOW. If you wait until your market has cut the cord, you’ll be behind market leaders who are learning the ins and outs needed to manage in a digital marketing world where the impact of traditional advertising is limited to a few dinosaurs who didn’t update their media habits.

Digital marketing versus traditional marketing

If you believe digital marketing is just like traditional marketing — only online — you couldn’t be more wrong.

Check out this post from a few years ago where I clearly identify differences between digital media and traditional media.

Not only are tactics different, digital media is a paradigm shift over traditional media.

The differences between digital media and traditional media are too massive for just this one post, but numerous articles address this important issue. Recognize that digital advertising — those annoying banner ads, popups, adwords, and other digital advertising that emulates traditional advertising — is a dying media format. Anyone building a business based on an advertising model is doomed to ultimate failure.

Fundamentally, the differences between digital media and traditional media come down to:

Speaking with consumers rather than talking at them.

Maybe you’re asking yourself why this matters, you’ve been doing just fine with traditional media and it’s likely YEARS before enough folks cut the cord to make any difference in your sales?

Well, I’ll give you 5 good reasons that’ll change your mind:

5 good reasons why you need to develop digital marketing savvy now!

Reason #1: multiple screens

connected consumer

The reality among connected consumers is they’re on multiple screens at the same time.

While they’re watching TV, they’re likely chatting on their phones, surfing the web on their computers, and interacting with their Facebook timeline.

In fact, Brian Solis says it’s increasingly common for viewers to get slight burns on their laps because they’re so engaged with multiple tasks and their laptops get hot without them noticing.

Integrating mobile and social (digital) media with your traditional media means you’re reinforcing your message across platforms — which studies show increases your returns exponentially.

Reason #2: Gain expertise

As I mentioned, digital marketing is very different from traditional media. Without suitable experience, you’ll find yourself and your brand behind your competition when it comes to optimizing your online marketing efforts.

Reason #3: Amplify your message

Social media platforms like Facebook and Pinterest offer opportunities to amplify your message every time a user Repins an image or Likes a post.

Not only do these actions amplify your message by sharing them with the users’ social graph, but act to decommodify the message — or make the message seem more valid. As consumers, we’ve all learned that brands lie or exaggerate about their performance. When consumers share opinions about the brands they use, we believe them because they have no hidden agenda behind their recommendation. This makes consumer shares of your message more believable.

Reason #4: Engage consumers

Consumers like feeling good about the brands they buy and they like feeling they have a connection with the brand.

In today’s world, it’s hard to build that emotional connection with consumers and customers because brands are so far removed from contact with them — except in the case of personal services. Digital marketing provides this personal connection and offers opportunities to engage consumers on an emotional level.

Reason #5: Analytics

Traditional marketing, whatever you may think about its effectiveness, has a huge challenge when it comes to proving its outcomes.

Answering questions like:

  • How many sales resulted from a particular ad or advertising campaign?
  • Did customers visit a store but decide to buy a competitor’s product?
  • How do consumers feel about our brand?
  • When is the optimal time to broadcast our advertising message?
  • Does message 1 perform better than message 2?

is challenging, to say the least, and may be nearly impossible with traditional advertising.

In contract, showing results from a digital marketing campaign is relatively easy.

  • Online sales can be tracked to a particular communication channel and, if crafted properly, to a particular post.
  • Abandoned shopping carts suggest consumers who were interested in your brand, but decided against it.
  • Comments on social networks suggest exactly how consumers feel about your brand.
  • By posting at various times, it’s easy to see when is the optimal time to post.
  • A/B testing allows you to easily determine which of 2 (or more) messages perform best.

Concluding comments

For many brands, digital marketing is an afterthought or ignored all together.

While I question the appropriateness of this decision, looking into the future casts even more doubt on avoidance of digital marketing in favor of traditional adverting.

If your target market hasn’t cut the cord yet, they’ll likely take that action in the coming years.

Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community


Lawyer, spare a dime? Due to budget cuts, attorneys in Kleiner case paid for jurors’ lunch, laptops


kleinerOne lunchtime during the Pao trial, Kleiner attorney Lynne Hermle told me something remarkable: On that particular day, Kleiner was picking up the tab for the jurors’ lunch.

The idea — that attorneys for the defense would be providing jurors with free food — seemed so jarring that I had to call Kleiner’s press spokesperson for confirmation: How is that possible? How is that legal?

In fact, Kleiner’s flack assured me, the arrangement was totally possible and absolutely legal. Due to courtroom cutbacks, attorneys for Pao and Kleiner had agreed to split certain court costs between them, including the cost of feeding those sitting in judgement on their clients.  Sure enough, the very next day I saw plaintiff’s attorney Alan Exelrod hand his credit card to court clerk Linda Fong for this purpose.

(I was curious, as I’m sure you are, what the jurors’ daily menu looked like. “Everything! sandwiches, salads, soups…,” the wonderful cashier of the courthouse’s Mint cafe told me.)

As it turns out, it’s common for the parties in cases heard at San Francisco Superior Court to pay for jury food, always has been. In days of yore, attorneys, jurors and judicial staff would often dine together at a swank restaurant down the block.  A more recent development is that court reporter fees in civil trials are now shared among the parties – this because statewide budget cuts in 2011 forced the court to lay off 29 of its own scribes. The parties in the Pao trial were far from impoverished but, even so, plaintiff’s attorney Therese Lawless told me her side couldn’t afford to buy the daily transcripts they were paying the reporter to produce. Anyone who wants a transcript must pay, by the day. They cost roughly a dollar a page.

The budget shortfall – a $ 22.3 million reduction in the five years to 2013, when the total budget was $ 75.1 million – continues, but the worst has passed. The workforce was reduced by 14 percent in 2011 and those jobs aren’t coming back. Ten of the court’s 25 civil departments remain closed indefinitely. In 2013 the California legislature restored some funding, but also deemed the San Francisco court one of six “donor courts”. Under this designation it will lose an additional $ 7.8 million by 2018, to be distributed to other California courts.  Another issue is that filing volume is down, for reasons that include a preference for private mediation due to the backlogs that immediately followed the original budget cuts. This impacts future budgets, as workload is a key variable in a new allocation and accountability formula adopted in 2013.

There were signs during the Pao trial that the triage is working. As recently as last fall, attorneys, parties, staff and attendees could be seen lined up around the corner of McAllister and Polk Streets before the building opened in the morning, the result of a crunch in court hours that has since been alleviated. Due to understaffed courtrooms, trial dates in San Francisco were notoriously imprecise, but now have resumed their regularity. The remaining court employees have taken on additional duties to ensure justice remains as accessible as possible.

During the past month, the core team of Judge Harold Kahn, clerk Linda Fong and Communications Director Ann Donlan successfully hid any seams in the workflow. Kahn and Fong handled motions and issuing rulings on evenings and over weekends; Donlan ramped up her use of the official court Twitter feed to appease burgeoning press demands, and took it upon herself to keep the courtroom water-cooler filled.

The court has been able to mitigate the impact of the cuts in part through technological fixes. E-filing became mandatory last year, and has reduced backlog. They are in the midst of unifying the case management system under a single software.

And yet, the Pao trial showed more clearly than most the difference in resources available to the wealthy parties in the case and the court in which they were being heard. At one point, the Kleiner Perkins team expressed frustration at learning that hundreds of pages of exhibits were expected to be shared with jurors on paper. As is the VC’s habit when faced with a “pain point,” Kleiner proposed a technical solution: They would provided a non-connectable laptop to the jury during deliberations, verifiably blank except for the electronic copies of the evidence admitted during trial. Unable to afford the technology required to make it easy for jurors to access and digest the volumes of documents, the court readily agreed.