UPC Broadband’s managing director, products and online media group Doron Hacmon has called on cable operators to think about how they connected emotionally with customers.
Delivering the opening keynote at the CTAM Europe EuroSummit in Malta this morning, Hacmon gave the example of the Starbucks coffee shop chain, which could charge €2.85 for a product the white-label version of which cost €1.80 (and which cost €0.03 to make), because of its ability to connect emotionally with customers by providing a home-like atmosphere in its shops.
Hacmon said the question cable providers needed to ask was “Do we make our customers’ lives simple?”. He criticised complex bundled offerings and discounts that only appealed to logic rather than creating an emotional link with consumers. Cable had suffered, he said, because it had historically been a monopolistic and technology-driven rather than product-driven business. The industry had also benefited from growing demand for broadband internet and television. Cable was also very key performance indicator-driven rather than marketing driven, he said.
“Now is the time to put more love into our brand,” said Hacmon. Four factors – increasing competition from other service providers, more demanding consumers who have access to other means of communicating, the fact that the cable industry now delivered multiple products, with only 20% of revenue coming from analogue video, and a number of key market trends – meant that now was the time for change, he said. These trends included growing eco-consciousness, a desire on the part of consumers to focus on the home, more sophisticated consumption habits, the growth of social media and so-called ‘urbanomics’ – attempts by marketers to convey the feeling of ‘home’ outside the home.
Hacmon said cable needed to focus on three things. First, the industry needs to deliver product integration, not only within its own product portfolio but with third-party products such as Picasa for photos and social networking sites. Second, it had to deal with “device indifference” – the ability of consumers to use a growing range of connected devices that meant cable operators had to deliver its services to any device, not just the set-top box. Third, he said, cable had to become network-agnostic, delivering its services over other networks as well as its own. Cable needed to provide solutions to specific problems, such as delivering services from the cloud in order to provide continuity of service outside the home.
Hacmon gave the specific example of UPC’s Project Horizon. He said the operator had focused on design more than previously and had attempted to provide web-based contextual information related to TV programmes available via the set-top. In order to give a feeling of ‘home’ outside the home to consumers, it had provided the same UI on all devices. It had also attempted to deliver a platform that would be open to further innovations, he said.