Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Digital TV converter box? No thanks.

On the way home from work today I was listening to NPR because that's how this homey rolls, and I heard a statement which just startled me: about 3.1 million homes are not prepared for the conversion to digital tv. According to the article, this includes the elderly and poor, those with language issues. Oh, and procrastinators too.

I wasn't startled by the number, which is actually less than I expected. I was perplexed by the newsreader's declaration that only the elderly, the poor, those who don't speak English or even Engrish, and (oh! the horror!) procrastinators would be cast adrift without their converter boxes. A viler cast of ne'er-do-wells surely could not be found! If only they hadn't put the procrastinator in charge, they would have taken over Ikea by now.

But the lovely NPR folks neglected to list one group who is not prepared, a group dear to *my* heart: the purposefully apathetic. Despite the pleas of my mother and father, I can't summon up the will to care if the crap they serve up on TV goes away or not. When the digital tv conversion rolls around, I'll shrug. If I notice.

Don't get me wrong: I love well crafted video entertainment (note to unnamed friend: you still owe me two hours of my life back that were stolen from me watching your wedding video). The Top Gear channel on Youtube is a big draw in my household. National Geographic has 8 Channels online. There's nifty new programming like Dr. Horrible's sing along blog and the Improv Everywhere videos. The Indianapolis 500: Legacy DVDs were in heavy rotation last month. The Indianapolis Marion County Public Library has an absolute guru selecting DVDs for purchase, so they have a great selection. AND WKRP IS ON HULU.

The last time I actually watched a scheduled, non sporting network television broadcast was when the Drew Carey Show was on the air. And if I really got desperate for Drew Carey (seriously: has anyone ever said "desperate for Drew Carey" on the web before?!?) I can pick up episodes of Whose Line Is It Anyway on Youtube (British or American versions, natch).

Just think, 3.1 million households not watching tv. For argument's sake let's say half of them either scramble and get a tv converter box, or find somewhere to mooch on a friend, are declared legally blind or apathetic about tv, or lurk in the neighbor's shrubbery to see in the window... at their tv. So 1.6 million households are now doing something else with their time. How much time? Nielsen says the average American spends 127.25 hours a month watching tv. The US Census says there are an average of 2.5 people per household as of 2008. That's 509,000,000 hours! To put it another way, that's the equivalent to half of the state of Wyoming working full time for a year. If everyone who didn't get a converter box just held their breath for a minute we could solve the global warming problem. Really! Probably. Ok, not.

Just don't expect me to hold my breath until I get a digital tv converter box. I'll be happily streaming content on my computer/iphone/wii, and looking for invites to come over and see the Colts game.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Listening sites a marketer should know about

originally posted on Biznology on June 3 2009 by Eva Lyford

Sure you probably use Google Alerts. And if you have the budget, you should be investing in conversation monitoring tools. But what if you don't have any money to spend at all? What can you do besides Google Alerts?Google Alerts

First, recognize that for savvy shoppers it is common practice to research pricing online before making a purchase. To mimic the customer behavior, go to your favorite coupon code site. I use retailmenot but there are many others. Search for coupons for your products and check out the ongoing discussion. How does this commentary reflect upon your price?Retailmenot

Second, you'll want to find out what happened to the product post purchase. Head over to the customer support forums at fixya or wikihow or your alternative support forum of choice. Many of these also have recommendations or ratings from the community about your product. How does what these customers say reflect upon your product?
Third, consider setting up your own hosted community to provide pricing and product support info. having a community built around your product could be a pretty handy thing for a marketer. It's not as cheap or easy as the first two ideas, but how would setting up a customer gathering place reflect upon you?

Companies, even ones without big budgets, need to be listening to their customers in new ways. Not only is it important that companies hear what customers say, but a company's brand image is often affected by whether customers feel heard. What are you doing to listen to your customers?

Related Biznology posts:

Thursday, June 4, 2009

My iTunes widget

Sorry, Apple, but I think Amazon has a better MP3 widget. But just because I look at other sites doesn't mean I'd leave you, darling. Hook up with the my iTunes widget page to set up your own widget.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ecommerce quickly

Do you think setting up ecommerce for your company requires a corporate governance charter, many months of strategy sessions, and an organizational redesign? Well while all that is going on, why not set up a quick approach to ecommerce that can provide some actual quantitative data as to what kind of volume you can expect from your online sales? Also, this can provide a way to ramp up the necessary customer service and fulfillment operations to support an eventual full-featured ecommerce launch. And it takes only an hour or two to get up and rolling.
  1. Review the options available at the amazon astore
  2. Sign up at
  3. Select which option fits you best -
  • Simple link to my store as a standalone site.
  • Embed the store using an inline frame.
  • Embed the store using a frameset.
I like the inline frame, so I chose that.

Here's before:

and here's after, with minimal customization applied and placed on my domain: