Segmenting Rings Up Phone Additions


Segmented marketing efforts have helped Time Warner Cable’s Central Texas division ring up higher take rates for telephony while lowering its cost per sale for digital-phone units.

According to Time Warner executives, the division serves more than 400,000 cable homes, most of which are now passed by digital phone technology.

Each of the 43 communities in the division, including municipalities inside and around the city of Austin, had been exposed to the introductory phase of the marketing effort supporting the phone rollout, noted Terri Cumbie, vice president of marketing. With the initial messages disseminated, it was time for the operator to present more precise pitches to attract the next wave of consumers.

Early in the year, the division and its agency, Robertson Marketing of Southern California, created a mailer addressing consumers by the city in which they resided. Sample text read, “Dripping Springs: Are you tired of paying too much for home phone service?” The mailers were localized with pictures from the community such as the local feed store, or a notable home.

But a closer look at the communications aimed at customers with a propensity toward subscribing to phone service showed they were targeted directly at five demographic segments, according to Steven Philips, manager, digital phone.

The division’s targets are:

  • High-tech households. Positioned toward consumers that want all the latest gadgets, these marketing pieces highlight functionality, such as caller ID and other advanced calling features, with an eye toward consumers who want the new innovative technology.
  • The budget-conscious. The message to these homes: Pinch pennies by purchasing phone services from Time Warner, especially when bundled and discounted with other products.
  • Trend-setters: Mailers to these homes emphasize how low-cost phone service can save money to be spent on other must-have items. The visual on the mailer: A happy woman carrying a shopping bag.
  • The financially savvy: Targeting soon-to-be empty-nesters who may be saving for their kids’ college tuition, the mailers suggest digital phone is a smart way to spend money on communications services.
  • New parents: The piece depicts a mother with her new baby, with the message, “There are never enough words to describe that first smile.”

Cumbie said that the take rate on digital phone has increased by 45% since the demographically targeted pieces hit the market beginning last May.