News

Delivering What Customers Want

8/27/2012 12:01 AM Eastern

Mark Greatrex, who has been chief marketing officer,
at Cox Communications since March 2011, is a big believer in research.

What the corporate senior vice president has learned so far in studying what
Cox video customers want is pretty much a marketer’s dream: they want more,
more and more.

• More digital video recorder storage and recording capabilities.

• More access to programs online (even in the home).

• More shows and movies in the on-demand libraries.

Now, Cox just needs to keep creating new and improved
products to deliver on that demand — something Greatrex
said he and other Cox executives, including product-management
overseer Len Barlik and chief technology officer Kevin
Hart, are focused on
accomplishing.

“We are working very hard to speed up
the pace at which we are able to launch
products,” Greatrex said. “We are keenly
aware that we need to pick up the pace.”

A former brand marketing executive at
The Coca-Cola Co. and America Online,
Greatrex pointed to the relatively streamlined
introduction of Cox TV Connect,
the Apple iPad app that enables viewing
of streamed live TV channels in the home,
as an example of Cox’s ability to go from
idea to commercial rollout in a matter of
about nine months — shorter than typical
cable-TV product cycles.

Insights as to which new video
services would excite Cox
customers were gleaned from extensive
research (by consulting firm
Oliver Wyman) on what’s called the video
value proposition. Using real-world
examples of the best video services out
there, including internationally, customers
were shown examples of what they have,
as well as what may be possible in the future.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, customers liked what they saw
from Cox’s top-of-the-line “Advanced TV Plus” package,
including whole-home DVR with more storage and the Trio
guide that enables personalized favorites lists and enhanced
program search.

“We see our highest-end video experience being the most
highly valued by customers,” Greatrex said. “It was quite
an affirmation for us, in terms of the competitiveness of our
top-end experience.”

“On the marketing and branding front, we are challenging
ourselves to bring the wonders of the plus-package experience
to life,” he said, including working with Cox’s ad
and marketing agencies to figure out how best to dramatize
the experience and “make it visceral.”

Finding those agencies — Cox’s marketing
“thought partners” — was one
of Greatrex’s first tasks. A review and
consolidation process resulted in Cox
choosing Publicis Groupe’s MediaVest
as agency of record, overseeing what Advertising
Age
termed $75 million to $100
million in yearly spending on measured
media. Cox also tapped Draftfcb for direct-
marketing activity and Marketing
Evolution for marketing research tasks,
Greatrex said.

Customers can experience Cox’s products
in person and at its retail stores,
which were overhauled
in anticipation of Cox
entering the wireless
business. Cox shifted
directions and decided
not to sell wireless service
directly (instead
partnering with Verizon
Wireless).

Most of the company’s
135 retail stores
that had been essentially payment dropoff
centers have been converted to Cox
Solutions Stores, with improved displays
of Cox products and “learning lounges”
where informal or group classes are held.
The rest will be upgraded in the next 12
months.

“We believe in retail, we’re continuing
to invest in retail and we’re trying to learn
as much as we can about best practices in
merchandising,” Greatrex said.