CTAM Eyes Tech Tie in 3-Year Plan

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CTAM has developed a new, three-year strategic plan
designed to help its members to build new marketing skills and to bridge the gap between
technology and marketing professionals, the cable trade group said.

Jim O'Brien, president and chief operating officer of
Jones Intercable Inc. and chairman of the Cable and Telecommunications Association for
Marketing, said he wants CTAM members to understand technology as it's being
developed, rather than waiting to figure out new products and services as they go to

CTAM believes so strongly in the importance of keeping its
members up-to-date on new technology that it has elected Richard Green, president and CEO
of Cable Television Laboratories Inc., to its board of directors.

Bringing marketers up to speed on technology is only part
of the reason why CTAM wants to bring the two groups of executives together, CTAM
president Char Beales said. Technologists also need help from marketers early in the
product-development cycle to make sure that they develop consumer-friendly -- and not just
technologically innovative -- products and services.

"There's so much investment required to bring all
of this new technology to market -- especially in light of competition -- that we have to
be more efficient and consumer-driven earlier in the product-development cycle than we
have before," O'Brien said.

CTAM surveys showed that members were looking for more help
with new product introductions -- especially digital services -- as well as for more
information on database marketing and tips on marketing in a competitive environment,
officials said.

O'Brien said professional skill development has become
more critical over the past few years, "particularly as we have so much change and
consolidation going on."

In addition to skill development, CTAM members are looking
for ways to manage time more efficiently, said Chuck Ellis, executive vice president of
Time Warner Cable. He chaired the 10-member CTAM strategic-planning committee, which
started meeting a year ago.

To that end, CTAM will bring more courses to the chapter
level and beef up its videoconferencing program.

The group's next tele-seminar is set for March 24, and
it will focus on introducing high-tech products to the marketplace, Beales said.

CTAM already boasts some technology executives from the MSO
and network levels among its members, and the association will continue to target others
from hardware manufacturers and Silicon Valley.

The group will also recruit technology experts from outside
of the cable industry as conference speakers to keep members abreast on related issues,
such as high-definition television.