Dan Santelle is using some unorthodox marketing tactics to get the first leg of Time Warner Cable’s national ITV rollout on the road to consumer acceptance. As a regional VP in the MSO’s South Carolina division, Santelle decided to personalize Time Warner Cable’s ITV promotion to coincide with the service’s launch in Columbia, S.C., last month. Santelle’s plan had him shooting e-mail newsletters via ITV to more than 100,000 customers in the area. It had Time Warner Cable setting up ITV demonstrations in area Best Buy and Circuit City stores. It had employees going door-to-door to peddle ITV to various neighborhoods. And it received on-air ITV testimonials from 10 morning disk jockeys who were given the service for free. Santelle’s approach in Columbia typifies the thinking many system-level marketers have about how to market their advanced services. In fact, most of the ones contacted for this feature follow the same blueprint: "It’s difficult to single out a golden tactic," Santelle says. "Retail is becoming a sales channel and a great way to demonstrate products. The Web gets more information in a timely way to customers. There’s no major media we’ve written off as totally ineffective. You try to get smarter about using each one of them." The Cox Experiences Cox has more than 100 different marketing messages running in its Tucson, Ariz., system at any time. Its executives monitor the effectiveness of each approach, pinpointing, for example, how many calls come in after a cross-channel message runs, compared with how many calls come in after a broadcast TV spot appears around the same time. The most popular marketing approach, so far, appears to be direct response, the system’s marketers say. "Our message is that what you get from us, you don’t get in other places," says marketing VP Tony Maldonado. "The feedback we get lets us know how well that message gets through." Cox Arizona has been effective at courting multicultural subscribers. It launched a multi-element marketing campaign for its bundle, which features spots on local Univision and Telemundo station avails, Latino festival demonstrations on Cinco de Mayo and other holidays and Spanish/English direct mail. Since the campaign began, Cox started using Spanish-language bills and voicemail messages as a way to show more respect for Latino customers. The result: Phone orders for Cox’s Telelatina and Mexico 60/120 bundle have more than doubled since the launch of that product in spring 2004. For $19.95 a month, takers get 23 Spanish-language diginets under the Telelatina umbrella, plus Mexico 60/120 phone service which includes one or two hours of free long-distance calls to Mexico. "You can’t apply general market rules to this market," Maldonado says. "You have to approach Latinos not only in a totally separate way, but with a start-to-finish customer experience in Spanish." Cox is not using radio much right now because it doesn’t generate immediate customer feedback. "People listen to radio a lot of the time in their cars. You don’t pull out a pen at 70 MPH to take down a number and call in," Maldonado says. For Santelle in Columbia, S.C., radio is as valuable as any other medium Time Warner uses for promotion. When the morning DJs say how they like calling people up on digital phone or watching HD programming, "it’s a great nontraditional way to get our information out," he says. Time Warner pays each participating radio station for the airtime in exchange for providing free service among the DJs. Comcast’s Detroit Targets Like Cox Arizona, Comcast Detroit targets ethnic audiences. Unlike Cox Arizona, it does not use unique campaigns for these groups. Many of these campaigns emphasize the themes of value and choice. "Value is something that crosses all cultures," says Tony Lent, Comcast’s VP, sales and marketing. "No matter which group you direct the message at, or what services you offer, you have to showcase how your product is superior in value. You also have to show choice." Comcast’s new product rollouts for Arab-Americans and Muslims include sponsorship and exhibits at Arabic festivals and pages in the Arabic-American News community paper and. The company also relies on Arabic or Muslim customer service reps. It uses similar strategies for other people of color. Lent wants to develop more retail and face-to-face marketing campaigns. Best Buy, Circuit City and CompUSA have Comcast displays. Several times each week, Comcast holds "Personal Awareness Events," using vans equipped with HDTV and high-speed Web access demonstrations. All of the system’s payment and call centers have these Personal Awareness displays, which Lent considers among Comcast’s best marketing tools. "Customers get it when they see it," Lent says. "In a print ad, something like HDTV or VOD may not register in someone’s mind. When you show them HD or VOD in person on a TV set, then they see what’s possible." Comcast Detroit wants to use its customer service/customer care staff to spread the system’s message to consumers. "You must optimize as many media as you can, and as many ways as you can," Lent says. "You even use your technicians, installers and field crews to get the message out." Comcast is taking its marketing messages to sports arenas and ballparks. The system has signage inside Comerica Park, the Detroit Tigers’ new baseball stadium, and will have space at Ford Field, the Detroit Lions’ new football stadium. It also runs billboards at Detroit Shock WNBA games. When Major League Baseball held its All-Star Game at Comerica two weeks ago, Comcast was a local participating sponsor, involved with a number of activities including "Heroes of the Game" ceremonies. More sports marketing projects are likely to be in the offing, especially considering that the Super Bowl will come to Ford Field next February, and early-round action of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament will be held at nearby Auburn Hills next March. Midcontinent Goes for Print Print may not be a high-priority marketing tool in Lent’s mind, but it is with Trish McCann, marketing director of Midcontinent Communications’ largest system in Sioux Falls, S.D. McCann’s favorite method of promoting Midcontinent’s offerings: Sunday newspaper inserts in the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader. Inserts give Midcontinent enough room to explain services like high definition and digital video recorders in detail, complete with discount offers. "We see the calls spike when they run," McCann says. "Each spike is a pretty significant jump in the number of calls." The inserts run once a month in the Argus-Leader, highlighting Midcontinent’s bundle of digital, high-speed Internet and circuit-switched telephone services. A portion of each insert focuses on individual services tailored to the time of year, such as how high-speed can be a great study tool for students heading back to classes in September. McCann also likes cross-channel messages and local station newscast spots: About 25% of the local ad avails Midcontinent plays each year is dedicated to cross-channel messages. "Direct mail is probably the worst promotional tool for us," McCann says. "We can drop a mailing in and not see a call response for weeks." Midcontinent is putting more of its marketing focus on retail and demos. It has DVR, VOD and HD displays at Karl’s, the largest local appliance store chain. It’s looking into setting up kiosks at other spots. Part of Midcontinent’s Sioux Falls walk-in payment center, located near one of the city’s largest shopping malls, was converted into an advanced service demonstration area a few months ago. Visitors can compare HD to normal TV sets, retrieve their e-mail through high-speed or put a DVR through its paces. 5 Marketing Tactics You Should be Using

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