What Does the Social Shake-Up Mean to Cox Communications?

Recently, I had I had an opportunity to sit down with Paul Dunay &  Social Media Today to discuss some of the topics that you will see at the Social Shake-Up Conference where I will be speaking. The following is a transcript of that conversation.

SMT:   Talk a little bit about the role of social media and how that plays out at Cox?

ADAM:      There are really three primary areas where social media plays a role at Cox. First, it’s about strengthening and deepening our customer relationships. That is done through growing our audience on social media and finding people who are within the Cox footprint because we cover 18 states in the U.S. Secondly it’s about engaging them around their interests and passions. That focuses on the content primarily around entertainment and TV.  So if that means Game of Thrones or the Oscars, we’re trying to attract people based on their passion and engage with them around the content. And third, along with building and deepening the relationships with both current and potential customers comes the customer care piece. In our business, customer care is a core competency. When you think about the services we provide, customers’ video services, data and voice services are critical to peoples’ daily lives. Additionally, I’d want to mention social commerce, that’s where we are actually making good progress selling Cox services on social media.

SMT:   What’s the value that social media is providing to the business?

ADAM:      There are things that can be directly measured and things that can’t. So with respect to the value, we measure it in a few different ways. One is simply from what I would call your basic marketing and media metrics. What is the reach of the number of people we’re reaching on our social media channels? That’s approximately 12-million fans and followers monthly.  Secondly, what is the number of impressions that we’re delivering? That’s a basic media metric measured on a cost per thousand basis. We’re delivering all these impressions whether on in the Facebook newsfeed, Twitter or through YouTube video views. The value of that on a CPM basis or what are the impressions?

As part of the media metric in the social media space, there’s the notion of paid, owned, and earned media.  Owned media is the number of organic impressions we deliver based on the interactions we have.  Earned is when they’re sharing it and amplifying it with their social graph. That’s an important metric because that’s essentially free media reach based on how viral your content is.  Finally, the paid media metric would measure the amplification of our content from our paid efforts.

Second, when we get past traditional media metrics, we are selling Cox products and services on social media, primarily through Facebook ads and Twitter and integrating with our broader digital marketing mix.  We were able to provide direct attribution to our social media efforts to drive the sales of Cox services.

SMT:   Are you seeing all this use of social breaking down barriers in your organization to make you more of a truly social business?

ADAM:      What I see as one of my primary roles here is exactly what you just said and to break down those barriers and educate and evangelize how we can make our business more social. A lot of times, that means me reaching out to the different groups whether it be the folks who run our Website and how we can make our Website more social or how we can make our efforts on mobile more social.  When you think about how people are interacting and consuming video across not only their primary screen, which may be their television, but their tablets, smartphones. Those are also social experiences and people want to have the ability to do that.  So I definitely see a lot of what my team is doing as integrating social into customer acquisition, customer retention, customer education, and the overall customer experience.

SMT:   You must be getting a lot of data out of all of those channels.  Are you starting to leverage the concept of Big Data at Cox?

ADAM:      The term “big data” is being used a lot these days.  My opinion is data is only as good as it’s actionable.  Whether it’s big data or small data, to me it’s really about the small data.  It’s about the social data that provides insight about your customers. The aspiration for social data is to leverage not only what they’re doing, but also what they like and what their interests are.  The value and power of social data is the ability for us to better personalize and provide more contextual recommendations for how they can get the most out of their Cox services.

SMT:   You obviously have data on what people are watching. Talk about the role of Social TV and what Cox is doing in that arena.

ADAM:      50 to 60 percent of viewers are now multitasking on second screens while they’re watching TV, on tablets or smartphones.  They’re also consuming a lot of video throughout the day on these devices—when they’re at work, when they’re on the go.  When you think about Social TV, we’re really talking about what are consumer expectations around how we can enable that.  At Cox, we’ve done a lot of research in this area, and it boils down to a few things.  First, they want to be able to easily discover what’s on and be able to get to it quickly and easily.  Secondly, they want it personalized for them, and they don’t want to have to work at it.  We live in the age of Pandora where consumers expect you to know them not them to tell you what they want.

Lastly, they want to be able to access the content anywhere on any device at any time.  We announced at CES in January a new personal video experience which is a tablet app we’ll be launching later this year which will enable our customers to be able to interact and consume live TV and on-demand programming directly from their tablet device. The demo shared showed how we’re making content discovery so much easier. We’ve all had challenges with navigating all the content available and finding what to watch.  In terms of social components, giving customers and the ability to share what they’re watching with friends on Facebook and Twitter, and the ability to give & receive recommendations from friends. Not all this will be available at launch, but the aspiration is to enable the ability to provide recommendations that are enriched by their social connections.  Your friends know you best, right?

SMT:   Very exciting Adam.  I can’t wait for a lot of this to rollout.  It’s truly an exciting world we live in, and I look forward to seeing you speak at the Social Shake-Up Conference in September.  We’ll get a chance to meet face to face there.  This was a fantastic interview, and I really appreciate your time.



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