Charter Communications’ business objectives are like many Fortune 500 companies: create innovative products and services, delight customers, and drive faster growth. The difference is that while many companies operate in a national or even international market, Charter operates in a defined territory that includes 12 million homes in 29 states. Within that specific market, Charter masterfully drives customer acquisition and product penetration, and is now one of the largest cable operators in the U.S. Charter currently has six million customers and, in its most recent year, grew by 8.7 percent to achieve $8.4B in annual revenue.
High-quality service and product innovation, combined with data-driven marketing, accounts for much of that success. Matt Reeves, senior manager of digital marketing at Charter, explains the increasing role his unit plays: “From 2011 to 2014, e-commerce grew from 16 percent to 25 percent of company sales. Digital marketing gives us tremendous agility and speed in reaching our audience. To take full advantage of that velocity, we rely on the Tealium iQ™ tag management system for the fastest deployment of third-party marketing and analytics tags. Tealium allows us to be more creative in designing, implementing and targeting campaigns, and also gives us the ability to quantify results in real time.”
Earlier in 2014, Charter began a rollout of 60 Mbps Internet speed with expectations for an all-digital upgrade across its 29-state territory by year’s end. The challenge for the company’s digital marketing team was building customer awareness about new game-changing services and informing customers of the advantages Charter presents over the competition. “Our primary focus is acquiring new customers,” Reeves says. “We consider every single home a potential customer, and we rely heavily on search engine marketing and display advertising to build awareness within those targets.”
Reeves says that, in the past, deploying tags for new online marketing or analytics solutions required hard coding pixels. It needed a significant level of effort from IT and third-party development resources. Digital marketing needed a solution that would allow the team to be more self-sufficient, deploy tags faster, and ensure scalability to support the increasing number of Charter’s digital marketing initiatives.
In 2011, Charter selected Tealium for its usability; extensive marketplace of integrated vendor tags; pre-built extensions and modules that provide additional functionality for optimizing interactions; and superior customer support.
Today, Charter’s digital marketing uses Tealium iQ to manage approximately 200 tags across hundreds of pages that comprise Charter.com, Charterbusiness.com, and Charter.net web sites built on Oracle’s ATG Web Commerce platform. Tealium provides an intuitive interface that enables marketers to manage their own tags. Reeves’ team also takes advantage of Tealium extensions to set up intricate load rules, event tracking, and customized data collection processes.
Charter uses Tealium to accelerate tag deployment and measurement across all of Charter’s digital marketing channels, including search marketing and display advertising. “Calling Tealium iQ simply a tag management solution is a disservice to its capabilities,” comments Reeves. “It’s so much more than that. Tealium has eliminated the labor-intensive elements of tag management while enriching the data collection that provides the insight needed to improve our marketing tactics.”
“Deploying a simple pixel takes less than 10 minutes,” remarks Reeves. “A more complex tag takes just four or five hours, whereas, in the past, the process was so complex that we required extensive assistance from IT or our web developers. Working through the internal processes to secure approval for those resources and then waiting for their availability to do the coding could easily add six months to a project.
“This technology has become an extremely valuable tool for our business, but we could not have used it without Tealium—the time and cost of deployment would have been too prohibitive. In short, Tealium allowed us to take immediate advantage of innovative online marketing solutions.”
“Converting prospects into customers is the name of the game in our business,” Reeves continues. “Tealium helps us translate business needs into action, eliminating the tedious processes of tag deployment and management so we can focus on strategies for maximizing conversions and revenue.
“For instance, if our team is working on a sweepstakes, we’re thinking about how we’re going to track results before the campaign has even been fully designed. We’re involved early in the process and consult with third-party vendors to define where pixels should fire, what tracking to turn on, and what data to pass back. We use Tealium to fire and pass data back to Adobe SiteCatalyst or Google Analytics tags. Our marketing team, vendors, and agencies are able to use the data we collect to evaluate performance, build effective strategies, and make recommendations for future campaigns.
“Tealium extensions have been invaluable in allowing us to tailor data collection. For example, we currently use 80 to 100 extensions to customize data capture for use in analysis and reporting. Tealium has aided our organization in becoming very sophisticated in using our data to its maximum potential for marketing intelligence.”
Reeves says that Tealium also helps Charter optimize its display channel: “Working with our partners, we’re able to optimize media by not only tracking whether or not a purchase was made, but we’ve learned optimization now happens at the product level. This strategy has helped display media convert more efficiently to desktop audiences with a 68 percent increase in YOY desktop conversion.”
Increased conversion and efficiency are obvious wins for Charter, but the bigger story may be how Tealium might empower Charter’s digital marketing moving forward. States Reeves: “Tealium has opened the floodgates for our creativity
Today it’s very easy to put a pixel on a page and from that pixel gain a comprehensive perspective on customer behavior. The data we collect is helping us better segment audiences to more effectively target campaigns and content. We’ve been very successful optimizing at the top of the funnel, but we see even more opportunities for leveraging segmentation to optimize mid- and bottom-funnel campaigns.”
Charter is a leading broadband communications company and the fourth-largest cable operator in the U.S. Founded in 1993 and headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, Charter links people and businesses with the latest innovations in connectivity, providing advanced broadband services including video, high-speed Internet, and phone service. Charter Business similarly provides scalable, tailored, and cost-effective broadband communications solutions to business organizations. A Fortune 500 company, Charter employs 21,000 people and serves more than 5.9 million customers in 29 states. (www.charter.com)