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Digital Strategy is Just Business Strategy

- November 3, 2010 - 4 Comments

Digital Strategy is Business Strategy

Scott Brown, Director of Marketing, Cisco Media Solutions Group - quoted on Twitter at the Digital Media Conference West, San Francisco

The above quote from Cisco Media Solutions Group Director of Marketing, Scott Brown, highlights a point we make often when speaking to our media and entertainment customers about the Cisco Eos®  platform. We believe that a digital strategy (e.g. how you reach and engage consumers via digital distribution channels and social media)  should not be separated from an overall media business strategy.

Record labels should be applauded for recognizing that digital is not a separate strategy from an overall business strategy. As much as they are berated by the press, the labels are leaders in creating what are known as ‘direct to consumer’ or ‘D2C’ strategies and business units, focused on reaching consumers directly via online channels (artist web sites, social networks). D2C is a much wider strategy than just selling music product (physical product or digital on iTunes). Such D2C business also involves collecting data about consumption of content on social networks and digital purchase behavior to drive strategies in the real world like, “where should my portfolio of artists be touring”? Jeremy Welt, SVP of New Media at Warner Bros Records offers  that D2C strategy means many different things to different people.


Welt says the word D2C has several connotations:

  1. D2c is a sales channel
  2. A set of tools to manage your fan relationships (that you may use to push multiple sales channels).
  3. A product line
  4. And a financial arangement between partners.

Regardless of definitions, as Jeremy Welt told participants at a small panel at the digital music conference Bandwidth, if the D2C strategy of a record label is separated from the overall strategy of the label, then the D2C strategy is not being executed properly. He explains how the two are intrinsically linked:

Jason Feinberg, VP of Direct to Consumer Marketing at the Concord Music Group also made an appearance on the same Bandwidth Conference panel titled – “Direct To Consumer: How Involved Should a Label Be?”.  Feinberg took participants inside  how a label decides to make a D2C deal with an artist – for instance, what revenue opportunities exist for the label and the artist in a direct to consumer, digital driven entertainment world?

As Feinberg concludes, “a D2C strategy is never simple”, and also Jeremy Welt mentioned earlier in the post, D2C means so many different things to many people. Regardless of the complexity of the business, a D2C music strategy is a keystone part of overall record label strategy, and not just a separate digital counterpart. As a follow up to these insights on D2C strategy from the Bandwidth Conference you may want to also check out Feinberg’s recent post for PBS’s MediaShift titled ’10 Truths of the Modern Music Business’.


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  1. As someone who used to work in the music industry, I think it's a great step forward that they are using the strategy of connecting directly to consumers. By keeping the fans (consumers) involved in the life of the artists, it creates a better relationship thereby stimulating more profit in the longterm.

  2. I completely agree. And it's not just the music industry. You have to be online in almost any industry. Try writing a different one for digital and 'offline' and you'll be at odds with your vision and your values.

  3. Digital strategy is just the means to deliver the message. I doubt people have a newspaper vs magazine strategy yet both are delivery systems. Online is a direct-to-consumer method of delivering your message - decide what that needs to be and keep moving.

  4. Thanks Sarah, Tim and Charlie for your comments. All good points. Chuck