Jerry McKenna gets our top marketer nod because he not only has championed Cable One’s successful forays into digital cable, high-speed Internet and phone service, but he never stops striving for better ways to market the triple play. This year McKenna gained oversight of Cable One’s newly combined sales and marketing force, leading a focus on analytics as a driver for more targeted marketing campaigns. He lets us in on the latest marketing plans at Cable One, which serves nearly 704,000 subscribers in Alabama, Arizona, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

CableFAX:The Magazine: Your purview recently expanded to cover ad sales as well as marketing. Why restructure now?

Jerry McKenna: We are trying to install throughout the company a real sales culture. We are looking to better integrate our system management to foster a higher sales level. That means putting the best people for service on the service calls, and those who are really good at sales on the sales calls.

CFTM: As part of that integration Cable One this year has dramatically increased data tracking. How is that working?

JM: The biggest challenge we have is to come up with fresh acquisition strategies. We are now using a lot more metrics so we can track every promotional tool we have, from direct marketing to freestanding ads. We can better estimate cost per sale and see what’s working.

CFTM: Have any trends emerged?

JM: The one that has really popped has been based on trigger marketing. Say we have a basic cable customer who wants to add digital. We follow up with a promotional offer on another product. Our response rates have been five to 10 times better than other marketing channels, so much so that we extended the program to all new install customers. And we’re about to start testing that same program among customers who’ve had a service visit.

CFTM: By design, Cable One was late to launch HD. What have you learned?

JM: You need to create awareness of the services you offer. A few years ago we combined our HD receiver with our DVR, and we’ve had great success — 20% penetration. We will never have the same quantity of HD networks as DirecTV and Dish, but our strategy is to put the best product out there we can.

Cable One’s Competitive Advantages

  • Value: Cable One offers $240 in annual discounts to customers who take three or more services from the company.

  • Human touch: McKenna says customers still want to speak to a real person, so Cable One is committed to keeping humans on the line.

  • Service: Cable One offers same-day service to customers who call by 3 p.m., a guarantee some larger distributors can’t match.

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