CTAM to Explore Science in Seattle


While marketing has long been regarded as an art, its scientific aspects will also be center stage at next month's 2003 Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing Summit in Seattle.

Dubbed "The Art and Science of Marketing," CTAM's biggest annual event will examine the thinking, strategies and tools industries use to retain customers on a deeper level, according to Cox Communications Inc. senior vice president of marketing Joseph Rooney.

Rooney said all of those areas are critical for cable as it looks to strengthen customer relationships, while deploying and marketing such new services as digital cable, video-on-demand, interactive TV, HDTV, telephony, data and home-networking on a mass basis.

"This is a new approach for our industry, an approach telecom, banking and other fields have a huge head start on," said Rooney, co-chairman of the CTAM Summit. "The science of marketing will be key to operator success. We have more competition from more angles than ever before."

CTAM hopes some 2,300 people will attend the summit, slated for July 20 to 23 at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center. Turnout is anticipated to be slightly lower than last year's event in Boston, owing largely to the West Coast location, said association president Char Beales.

Three general sessions will explore a variety of themes. An eclectic quartet will join perennial Summit closing-session moderator Rich Cronin for a look at rebranding July 23. Cronin, Game Show Network's CEO and this year's other Summit co-chair, will explore rebranding's importance to cable with Heidi Diamond, chief of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc.'s TV unit; Dave Watson, executive vice president of sales, marketing and customer service for Comcast Cable; Lenny Stern, partner in advertising agency Shepardson, Stern and Kaminsky, which handled Advance/Newhouse's conversion to Bright House Networks; and Jarl Morn — a.k.a. Lee Masters — former CEO of E! Entertainment Television.

In a new wrinkle, the July 20 opening day will feature a general session, covering the development and management of cable celebrities. Scheduled to appear are FX Networks CEO Peter Liguori, Home Box Office executive Eric Kessler and Budd Friedman, creator of The Improv comedy clubs and co-producer of Game Show Network's National Lampoon's Funny Money. And there will be at least one cable star turn — Paige Davis, host of Trading Spaces, TLC's top franchise.

How MSOs treat programming issues is the subject of the July 22 general session, to be moderated by Beales. The full speaker lineup is not finalized yet, but Insight Communications Co. CEO Michael Willner is scheduled to appear, along with Cox executive vice president of operations Pat Esser.

Another Summit general session or keynote speaker who'll deal with multicultural marketing — or offering advanced cable services to people of color — is being arranged, said Beales. At the moment, the subject is being addressed in tutorial and roundtable periods.

The roster of keynote speakers includes Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer and Dell Computer Corp. chief marketing officer Michael George on July 21, and RealNetworks Inc. CEO Robert Glaser the following day. "We'll have Ballmer and Glaser arm wrestle," Cronin joked.