CTAM Forms Multicultural Committee

Cable operators and programmers in search of tips on strengthening their outreach to different ethnic consumer segments will soon have a new resource to which they can turn.

The Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing has tapped a new Multicultural Marketing Committee. The panel is an outgrowth of interest from CTAM members, said president Char Beales, who noted that the topic shows up frequently in member surveys.

USA Networks Inc. senior vice president Doug Holloway — CTAM's chairman — appointed the committee's co-chairs: Black Entertainment Television executive vice president of affiliate marketing and sales Curtis Symonds and International Channel Networks president Kent Rice.

CTAM vice president of marketing Tania Mennes will serve as liaison between the new committee and CTAM's various departments, including publications and conferences.

One of the committee's first objectives is to develop a speakers' bureau made up of experts on the multicultural environment, from both within and outside the cable industry, said Symonds. He said such a group would encourage CTAM members to think outside the box.

Companies such as McDonald's Corp., Nike and The Coca-Cola Co. recognize the buying power within urban and multicultural markets, said Symonds.

If the speakers' bureau can recommend an expert on Spanish radio who is not associated with a particular vendor or programmer, noted Rice, an MSO may be more willing to invite him to a company-sponsored seminar or annual meeting.

The committee is also working to develop multicultural content for upcoming trade shows, including the annual CTAM Summit and the National Show.

The group also plans to aggregate multicultural marketing tips for placement on the CTAM member Web site (ctam.com), such as Spanish-language direct-mail pieces that cable operators can use as a templates.

Mennes said that the group would solicit articles for ETAM, CTAM's monthly electronic magazine, which could include separate stories on targeting the Asian, Hispanic and African-American markets.

The first in the ETAM
series will be a piece from SCDRG Advertising Inc. CEO Francisco Valle on marketing to Hispanics, Symonds said.

"There's a competitive urgency to getting up to speed on these topics," Rice said, especially given the inroads that direct-broadcast satellite providers have made in targeting individual ethnic groups.

The nine-member CTAM multicultural committee hopes to enlist a few more MSO executives to gain a better perspective of what operators must do to target different groups.

Beales said the committee would concentrate its efforts on multicultural marketing rather than other diversity efforts, such as employment or mentoring.

"There's a lot of work to do in multicultural marketing," Beales said. "We want to stick to our knitting, which is marketing."