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Time Warner Cable exec: 20pc of digital sales come from mobile

Time Warner Cable tackles mobile

NEW YORK – A Time Warner Cable executive at the 2012 MMA Forum said that since launching its mobile strategy nine months ago, the company is seeing the medium contribute significantly to digital sales.

The Time Warner Cable executive presented a case study with Leapfrog Online during the “Mobile Marketing at Work: How a Well-Executed Campaign Helped Grow Mobile Sales from 0 to 10% of Total Digital Sales for Time Warner Cable in 3 months!” session. The session gave attendees a lay of the land with what Time Warner Cable has done in mobile as well as a peek into what the company expects for 2012.

“Mobile, as everyone knows, is a growing sales channel, but for us, it is becoming one of the channels,” said Rob Roy, vice president and general manager of ecommerce and interactive marketing at Time Warner Cable, New York.

“We continue to see strong growth in both categories [smartphones and tablets],” he said.

“Our big piece with mobile is that it can’t be a set it-and-forget it strategy.”

Mobile cable
When Time Warner Cable was looking to get into mobile, it first started with applications and content delivery services for its customer care services.

However, the company recognized that its consumers wanted a full self-serve platform to do everything on via their devices.

Additionally, the company looked at mobile from a smartphone, feature phone and tablet experience, all of which have different intents and were tailored with campaigns to represent each type of device.

Since rolling out mobile efforts in September 2011, the company is now on the sixth version of initiatives, showing how marketers need to view mobile as an ongoing effort that needs to consistently be tweaked and changed.

The company has seen that mobile consumers are most likely interacting with their devices while they have down time. For example, getting cable is often on a check list that consumers have while moving, and is often forgotten about until the last minute.

Time Warner is seeing that 50 percent of its mobile consumers choose to order mobile services via their devices.

Although consumers are comfortable buying from their devices, the other 50 percent of Time Warner Cable users finished the transaction via a call center, showing the importance of click-to-call features.

Keep it simple
Cass Baker, executive vice president of Leapfrog Online, Evanston, IL, also spoke during the session about the importance for marketers to view mobile as part of an overall digital strategy instead of as a shiny, new tool.

Five percent of Time Warner Cable’s mobile sales come from feature phones. Additionally, six percent of sales are made via mobile from Time Warner’s mobile site, showing the importance for marketers to optimize for mobile because regardless of the experience, consumers are interacting with brands via their handsets.

Time Warner Cable has seen that a high spike in traffic on days such as Sunday, which tends to be a slower day for sales, and points to the always-on nature of mobile.

Time Warner Cable and Leapfrog Online worked with Google on this initiative with three goals: to develop a more user-friendly mobile site, to drive calls and traffic via mobile search and help consumers who were either wanting to buy Time Warner Cable services or receive help.

In particular, tablets are playing a large role for Time Warner Cable.

Since launching approximately 90 days ago, tablets now claim to represent approximately 15 percent of Time Warner’s mobile sales. By the end of the year, the company estimates that sales from tablets could reach as high as 25 percent.

“Utilities are an interesting use case for mobile since many people are trying to set them up right after a move – often before they have home Internet service,” said Andy Miller, global head of mobile search sales and strategy at Google, Mountain View, CA.

“The smartphone becomes a natural way to research options and set up service.  For services with complicated options like setting up TV, Internet and phone – we find that many customers often prefer to talk to a customer service representative on the phone,” he said.

“We think that a mobile strategy is a must have for utilities – and ideally with a prominent option to place a call.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York