To quote Hank Williams, Jr.’s famous song: “Are you ready for some football?” There are only 34 days until the professional football season begins, and I cannot wait.
Within our company, there are some good-natured football rivalries. If you visit the IWCO Direct Minnesota facilities during football season, expect to see both Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers fans. Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers fans sport their team logos with pride in the IWCO Direct Pennsylvania facilities.
Our friendly competition is part of a national trend: football is America’s favorite sport, with 70% of the population considering themselves fans. Nearly three out of five American adults watched at least one NFL game on TV in the past 12 months. In 2016, more than 136 million people watched an NFL game on TV.
I am a lifelong Pittsburgh Steelers fan. My team will face their AFC North division rival, the Cleveland Browns, on September 10. Even if we are not watching at home, we will be viewing the game, one way or another—perhaps streaming on my phone or tablet!
Glued to Many Screens
We won’t be alone: experts predict 168.1 million people will use an internet-connected TV device this year. Nielsen reports that 80% of U.S. homes have access to broadband internet connections, paving the way for huge growth in the popularity of connected TV devices (such as Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, and Roku, as well as game consoles and smart TVs). The ever-expanding routes by which consumers view their favorite content presents both challenges and opportunities for multiple system operator (MSO) marketing efforts.
Recent research conducted by Nielsen indicated Americans ages 18-34 watched 12.28% less traditional TV during Q1 2017 when compared to Q1 2016. This is likely due to increased use of streaming video and smartphones. When comparing the TV and video viewing trends among 18-34 year olds by device from Q4 2014 vs. Q4 2016, smart phone (100%), tablet (68.09%), and PC video (57.21%) viewing all increased with a dramatic sprint to gain yardage over TV only (-8.45%) viewing.
MSO Marketing and Direct Mail—Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
According to Comperemedia, MSOs mailed 520,860,905 mailpieces in Q1 and Q2 2017. These were mostly acquisition (82.2%) or cross-sell (14.0%) mailings promoting their TV, internet, and/or video streaming app products, as well as home phone and home security services. More than half (50.7%) of these direct mail offers included free merchandise incentives for taking advantage of the offer advertised, followed by free service (33.3%) and coupons or gift cards (23.8%). MSO marketing efforts are using direct mail as part of their multichannel marketing strategies by including a call to action to encourage recipients to call an 800 number (98%) or visit their website (90%).
MSOs are also developing products and services to take advantage of connected TV devices and provide content in ways that meet consumers’ needs as well as their habits. Competiscan highlighted a few recent MSO marketing direct mail packages promoting multi-device viewing with enhanced internet service and new/upgraded apps, such as:
- The Spectrum TV app, from Charter Communications, allows customers to access up to 300 live channels and 25,000 on-demand programs via mobile, tablet, gaming consoles, connected TV, smart TVs, and browsers.
- The Xfinity Stream app, from Comcast, runs on mobile devices and laptop computers, providing customers access more than 200 channels and on-demand programs both in and out of the home.
- Wi-Fi ONE, from Cable ONE, offers Wi-Fi optimization to improve in-home signal distribution to subscribers.
Direct Mail is a Touchdown for MSO Subscriber Acquisition Efforts
MSO marketing efforts focused on combining the attention-getting power of direct mail and the convenience of digital channels can drive action and response. Here are a few direct mail campaign best practices that score with new and existing subscribers:
- Don’t Miss the Big Game—Use football season to promote new video streaming app products so subscribers won’t miss the big game.
- “The Clock is Running Out—Don’t Pass on this Offer!”—Enclose a limited time offer personalized with the subscriber’s favorite team logo and colors.
- Onside Kick, Flea Flicker, or Hail Mary Pass—Do you typically mail letter-sized packages? Try shaking things up! Surprise the subscriber and mail a postcard or self-mailer for added impact.
No matter which NFL team you are cheering for this season, make sure your direct mail program is at the top of its game. Contact IWCO Direct’s MSO marketing specialists today to win big and outperform the competition this football season!
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