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Motorola Sets Digital Marketing Effort

In an effort to drive deeper digital-cable box penetration for its small and midsized cable customers, Motorola Inc. has created a marketing toolkit for operators that need a comprehensive campaign, but don't have the budget to create one.

Based on feedback from affiliates, the set-top manufacturer has developed a comprehensive marketing theme that could be carried from TV, radio, print and outdoor ads to door hangers, bill stuffers and direct-mail pieces.

"It was all about understanding the message we wanted to emphasize: Choice, convenience and control," said Motorola Digital Cable Group director of strategic marketing Bernadette Vernon.

The toolkit can be customized according to each individual system's digital service, Vernon added, noting that some operators are not yet ready to introduce new products such as video-on-demand.

Those that have launched VOD can include such copy in the marketing materials, which can also be tailored according to the operator's brand name or by the call letters of local TV stations, for example.

Larger MSOs typically craft their own digital-cable branding campaigns, but smaller operators frequently look to programmers and other vendors for marketing materials and support. Although pay TV programmers may offer good direct-mail pieces, Vernon noted, they often focus on a specific channel or service, rather than the abundance of new options found on digital cable.

Operators that choose to use Motorola's toolkit can blend the premium movie multiplexes and diginets on the same direct mail piece if they want the programmers to help pick up the cost of postage through co-op advertising funds, Vernon said.

Motorola charges a "small fee" for each door hanger or other element, Vernon said. "We subsidize a great deal of the cost of printing, and all the creative," she said.

The company plans to update the materials every year or so, and will also augment the existing materials with additional information on high-definition television and personal video recorders, once Motorola's integrated set-top solutions are introduced later in the year.

Enhanced Telecommunications Inc. of Sunman, Ind., ran digital marketing campaigns in May and June using Motorola's bill inserts, print ads and door hangers. The company promoted free installation and a free first month of digital cable. Door hangers added the incentive of three free pay-per-view movies.

The promotion generated 58 new digital customers for Enhanced, said marketing manager Anita Fledderman — enough to cover the costs of the campaign for the first month in which customers start paying for digital service.

Enhanced typically creates its marketing materials in-house, said Fledderman. She said she was impressed with the Motorola toolkit and pleased with the price.