DIRECT & DATABASE: CASE STUDY: COX STUDIES CABLE CUSTOMERS TO SELL THEM ITS OTHER SERVICES

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Cox Communications is using a database management system to sift through its 3.3 million cable customer base in order to find potential users of the company's other services.

"We hadn't focused on marketing as much in the past as the operational issues," said David Pugliese, executive director-voice and data marketing. "We made a conscious effort to try to understand our customers. We had a lot of experience with customers, but we weren't in a position to collect and capture those data and act on [them]."

It addition to cable TV via Cox Cable, Cox Communications offers a host of newer services including telephone, wireless telecommunications, personal communications services, direct-to-home satellite TV and Internet access.

Through the use of a database management system called Analytics, Mr. Pugliese was able to divide Cox's existing cable customers into 12 segments that reflect various product needs and customer interests. The data were overlaid with geodemographic clustering, which grouped those profiles by ZIP code.

Analytics is a product of Customer Insight Co., an Englewood, Colo., unit of Metromail.

"We're also attempting to collect data directly from our customers," Mr. Pugliese said. Cox ran a sweepstakes from February through May that included a questionnaire about telephone, TV and Internet habits.

Cox will use the findings in a number of marketing strategies including door-to-door sales, direct mail, telemarketing, direct response TV and image advertising. The company also is developing a new direct response TV spot for its digital phone service via Rapp Collins Worldwide, New York.

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