News

Preparing to Win in New Orleans

10/18/2010 12:01 AM Eastern

Ever since some enterprising
inventors strung cables
from antenna towers to
bring TV signals to households
across America, marketing has
been an essential ingredient
in the growth of cable communications. In small towns
throughout Pennsylvania, Oregon
and other early-era cable
markets, the hand-painted
signs promoting CATV services
represented the industry’s first
halting steps to declare itself
open for business.

But to risk a bold understatement,
things have changed a bit
since then. Today, the instruments
of messaging have broadened
to include Facebook pages,
tweets and texts, not to mention
enduring contributors like freestanding
newspaper inserts and
cross-channel video avails. We
still do signage, of course, but
now it’s more likely to be seen
in the aisle of a big-box retailer
than alongside a two-lane road.

Marketing and advertising
vehicles have evolved in a way
no one could have foreseen decades
ago, and so has the core
challenge to industry marketers.
In a marketplace where
competing providers proliferate,
marketing has emerged as
a primary driver of success. It’s
not enough to invent and introduce
astounding technologies
and to back them with reliable
service, as cable has proudly
done since its inception. What
moves the needle — in market
share, ARPU and other critical
metrics — is the ability to effectively
communicate value.

We call that “marketing,” and
helping cable do it well is our
singular obsession at the Cable
& Telecommunications Association
for Marketing Summit 2010.

As it happens, in today’s marketplace,
doing it well matters
more than ever. Even in its earliest
years, cable faced competition
— from broadcasters, from
telephone companies, from
over-the-air pay TV services.
But with telecommunications
companies now aggressively promoting three-product bundles
and with Internet-video
platforms off ering alternatives
to traditional subscription TV,
it’s critical that cable providers
convey the differentiation and
unique values they deliver.

Recently, our industry has elevated
its marketing acumen to
a new level, combining sophisticated
media and audience analytics
with inventive branding and
entertaining, memorable creative.

That’s a good thing, because
today’s consumers are more discriminating
and better-informed.
Customers expect, demand and
deserve great products at a great
value. Th ey have more choice and
they’re discerning about pricing,
packaging and service. Convincing
customers that cable delivers
superior value is where marketing
comes in.

It’s also where the CTAM
Summit comes in. The conference
is a stocked pond of effective
marketing approaches,
proven ideas and provocative
discourse, laser-focused on a
singular goal: making cable
marketers better at what they
do. Those who are here will
leave Summit better educated,
better informed and better prepared
to win. Those who aren’t
… well, there’s always next year.

Kidding aside, Summit 2010
is packed with ready-for-market
strategies and ready-to-implement
tactics. There are examples
everywhere: a panel discussion on multicultural marketing that
offers nitty-gritty tactics that
resonate with consumers, and,
ultimately increase companies’
bottom lines; advice from
experts on tailoring your marketing
message to a businessservices
market (hint: don’t lead
with video).

At a time of great change and
busy agendas, Summit 2010
also delivers something rare.
From can’t-miss keynote presentations
to panel dialogue,
audience Q&A and impromptu
hallway conversations, the
summit sets the stage for invaluable
“a-ha moments” that
spring from live interactions
among smart people. It’s a quality
that’s unique to a live event.
Through panel dialogue, conversation,
live interaction and
a tweet here and there, the
summit invites you to consider
multiple points of view that illuminate
and contribute to learning
in remarkably eff ective way.

Fundamentally, wherever
there’s exposure to lots of “right”
ideas is where there’s value. So
here’s to it: Here’s to great marketing,
here’s to growth and
here’s to the best CTAM Summit
ever.


Jonathan Hargis is executive
vice president of marketing and
advertising for Cablevision Systems.
Janet Rollé is executive
vice president and chief marketing
officer for BET Networks.
September