Operators Taking Knotice

Recent research has indicated that consumers find entertainment technology vital but confusing, so providers are trying to find ways to increase customer satisfaction by better explaining service features.

Knotice Ltd. is one vendor trying to help cable operators provide that information, while leveraging satisfaction into more product sales. The Akron, Ohio-based firm just signed a deal with Charter Communications Inc. to personalize consumer messages as they are delivered on multiple platforms, Knotice CEO Brian Deagan said.

The company also provides services to several Time Warner Cable divisions, Cogeco Cable Canada Inc., Bresnan Communications, Cox Communications Inc., Bright House Networks and Buckeye CableSystem.

The company practices personal relevance marketing, which delivers promotional messages based on the usage history and life cycle of the targeted consumer. For example, a consumer with digital cable and phone, Showtime, the slowest speed data offering and an affinity for comedy and “chick flicks” would receive an e-mail newsletter touting faster data speeds, Home Box Office and a comedy available that month on pay-per-view. But more important, the message would provide tips on how to use features provided with the phone service.

“The most effective communications have tempered sales messages. People won’t buy stuff if they don’t know how to use the stuff they have,” Deagan said. The multiplatform messages are delivered with the help of Knotice’s software platform, Concentri.

Consumer profiles are developed with data from the operators’ databases, plus information volunteered by the consumer, who inform the operator what platform (e-mail, on-screen or text messaging) is the most effective delivery means.

Deagan compared the strategy to customer building by grocery stores: A good marketer wouldn’t invite vegetarians to a Web site with an offer for steaks.

Mobile marketing applications are under development now. One possible application: a programming update service. All phone applications would be opt-in only, so a consumer might sign up for information on a favorite show. Should a sporting event run long, canceling an episode, the consumer would be notified, Deagan said.

Interactive applications are not in the current communications mix, and such applications may not be available until late in 2007, he predicted, because there had yet to be standardization among the delivery platforms involved.