CTAM Summit: Online Data Helps Narrow The Gap

Complete CTAM Summit 2010 coverage

New Orleans -- Cable marketers have more data about customers and prospects available than ever before to guide their online media buys and this info can help them react almost instantaneously to adjust and optimize their campaigns.

The Internet is an important tool for operators, both as part of the marketing mix and as a sales channel, said Sharon Peters, vice president of media strategy for Cablevision Systems, speaking at a panel called "Being Disruptive Online - A New Era of Targeted Advertising for Cable" at the CTAM Summit here Tuesday afternoon.

"Our main goal is customer acquisition. We want to acquire customers, ideally on all three products," Peters said, referring to video, high-speed Internet and telephony. Secondary goals: gaining upgrades and retaining current subscribers.

Cablevision's strategy is to target, test and optimize its online media buys. "We see what works and what doesn't measured on cost-per-sales," Peters said. "We continue to see improvement over time using this strategy."

Peter said she's often asked how often campaigns are optimized: "My answer is instantly. We're fortunate to have media budgets that are fluid."

The speed with which media can be bought and evaluated online today is a "seismic change" form just a few years ago," said Zach Coelius, CEO of Triggit, an online buying agency. "We can run a $5 million campaign tomorrow because all media is accessible with one touch." And by using data from various suppliers, that spending can be targeted very tightly.

Technology also makes it possible to test media buys in an automated way. "You should never run media without a control group next to it. You should know what your baseline is," Coelius said, adding that it was a mistake to evaluate campaigns based on a single metric, like conversions, that fail to take into account all the things a marketing campaign can accomplish.

But in an environment where things move so rapidly, it's important to make sure you know what your hard metrics are, so that your growing your long-term value, noted Sean Muzzy, senior partner and managing director at Neo@Ogilvy, another online agency.

Some of the most import data companies hold concerns their own customers. "You can reach out to those people with a very different message and thank them for being customers," Coelius said. One company sent out a message that said: "Our customers love us because we love our customers." "It worked like a charm," he said, and caused a 100% increase in interaction points with the company, he said.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.