Marketers to CTAM Audience: Trust Your Instincts

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While market research may play a key role in marketing products to consumers, gut instinct can be just important, top marketing executives told CTAM Summit attendees here on Wednesday.

“Your gut feeling is just as valuable as any kind of macro research,” said Michael Davies, producer of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Wife Swap and other hits, during the closing general session.

Yahoo chief marketing officer Cammie Dunaway said that detailed research available to Internet companies means she doesn’t have to listen to her gut feeling. “All I have to do is listen to consumers,” said Dunaway, citing how Yahoo was able to predict the winner of Fox’s most recent American Idol competition by gauging the number of times that women 18-to-34 ran search queries for the eventual winner.

Time Warner Cable CMO Sam Howe said that his MSO does run a lot of market research studies and focus groups. But he said the company’s new Start Over service, which allows digital cable subscribers to start shows they missed from the beginning if they hit the select button on their remote by the end of the show – didn’t require much research or marketing to consumers.

“I love focus groups. But if you set them up badly, you’re going to get the answers somebody wants,” Howe added.

Also Wednesday:

  • Howe said one of “Time Warner Cable’s biggest focuses in the rollout of new Sprint mobile phones later this year is improving battery life for the devices, which will be able to transmit mobile video content.
  • Davies said Internet companies can offer more attractive compensation packages to producers than some traditional TV production outlets. He cited the example of Yahoo’s The 9 daily show, a program produced by Davies, in which he receives a cut of the advertising revenue.