Affiliates Offer Advice to Net Partners

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Boston -- Operators put in a plea for understanding from their programming partners, asking for those marketers to consider system-level marketing and ad-sales priorities and finances before designing promotional programs.

Vicki Lins, vice president of marketing for Comcast Spotlight, clarified that this does not mean that a network needs to design 70 versions of one campaign. Rather, a smart marketer will learn the goals of the local system (acquisition, cutting churn, selling telephony) and will highlight the elements of a broader campaign that can be applied to those goals.

She and other participants in the “Managing the MSO Marketing Relationship: Secrets Revealed” panel at the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing’s CTAM Summit here Monday also asked for printed and electronic promotional materials instead of trying to schedule daylong training sessions that take front-line personnel off their jobs.

Other advice: Don’t expect broad-based marketing if you’re a niche network, said Nancy Heffernan, director of video-marketing management for Cox Communications. Work with an operator to develop target lists instead. Work with marketers for each product in the operator‘s bundle -- a process Cox has dubbed having a “love fest,” she added.

Jerry McKenna, VP of strategic marketing for Cable One, voiced his support for universal pricing models rather than the current methodology that gives better prices to the largest cable companies, and for programming-rate increases tied to the Consumer Price Index.

On the local-ad-sales front, think of applications for new technologies, Lins added, noting that Comcast set a goal of $2 billion in income from ad sales by 2008. The company can’t hit that mark without revenue from new platforms, she said, adding that new programming and new revenue opportunities need to be planned simultaneously.

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