While most high tech markets have their own set of unique dynamics, cable has a heartbeat all its own. It’s a fascinating space that’s full of interesting and intensely smart people, many of whom have been working in cable for decades. Technology transitions in cable may happen less frequently than in other markets, but when they do, they’re big. And the longevity of the HFC infrastructure continues to impress, with operators eying 10 Gbps as their next frontier.
If you’re a marketer in the cable space, every dynamic that makes it unique has an impact on the content you develop. Let’s take a look at some factors that are distinctly cable and explore how they might affect the next piece of content you create.
#1 The Cable World is a Small World
If you’ve spent any time marketing solutions for the cable market, you’ve probably heard “we don’t need to do a lot of marketing, our sales team already knows everyone.” But is sales really talking to everyone involved in the decision to adopt your solution – people on the technology, operations, purchasing, field, marketing and finance teams? Probably not.
Even if they did, you can’t rely solely on sales to inform, educate and excite prospective buyers in the early stages of their journey. Buyers do their own research and often have developed a shortlist or preference before your sales team makes first contact. That’s where a strong content game comes into play. It can help expand your reach to include all the stakeholders you need to win a deal – and get you into the conversation at those critical early stages.
#2 Cable Technology Buying Cycles are Long
The cable market involves large capital sales and complex technology integration issues. Those types of decisions aren’t made overnight. Consider all the planning it takes to get a new version of DOCSIS up and running or to expand RF spectrum. From the RFP through lab and field trials, the time it takes to roll out a new technology and serve the first subscriber is typically measured in years. How do you stay top of mind during these ultra-long buying cycles?
The right content, deployed in a steady drumbeat, can provide valuable information to prospects while reinforcing what’s great about your solution.
#3 Standards are a Driving Force
While technology transitions in most markets are driven by need or innovation, standards have a huge impact on what happens in the cable space. When a new specification gets released, everyone has access to it and essentially has a blueprint for what’s next. Standardization is an absolute necessity in a market where interoperability can make or break a technology rollout, but it can also make it difficult for vendors to differentiate their solutions.
This creates an opportunity to focus your content on how your implementation of a new technology goes beyond the standard and offers additional value. This could be in the form of advanced capabilities, but don’t underestimate the power of promoting investment protection, ease of deployment or operational efficiencies in your content.
#4 It Pays to be Evolutionary
Revolutions happen, and major technology advances can create huge benefits. But in the cable space, revolutions are almost always messy. That’s because it’s expensive to rip and replace equipment that’s already deployed.
Even if your solution is revolutionary, your content needs to make it feel evolutionary. That requires a sharp focus on how it fits with existing gear and some useful tips to simplify and streamline any changes that are necessary. It also places an emphasis on your ROI story, so be sure to do the math and create content that explains the opportunities that come along with the investments.
#5 Integration Often Supersedes Innovation
Even in a highly standardized environment, new technologies and solutions can be an operations exec’s worst nightmare. They have the potential to create unforeseen problems that can ripple throughout the network and take services down. That’s why it’s so important to develop content that speaks to the integration issues and helps service providers develop a deployment plan that avoids them.
We love checklists, audit tools and planning guides as a means of helping service providers consider all the angles. Bonus points for deploying this type of content early in the buyer journey. Service providers are likely contemplating how they’ll integrate a new technology at the same time as they’re considering the benefits.
Quality Cable Content is a Balancing Act
The cable market sure is a unique place, and we sure enjoy working within it. One of the things that makes it so special is the balance that needs to be struck between the old and the new. New technologies are welcome, as long as they work and play well with those that are already deployed. While some may look at this as a constraint, we view it as an opportunity. We love the challenge of educating and informing operators about the impacts of new technologies while helping our vendor clients position their solutions for success. When we get that balance just right, it creates a win/win.
Join Us for a Deeper Dive
In a recent webinar that was hosted by the SCTE, we provided a few ideas to help improve the relevance, reach and effectiveness of your content for the cable market. It’s called “3 Ways to Inspire your Digital Content in 2021”. The webinar recording is available on the SCTE’s Exhibitor Info Page. Just look for our title slide and click it to watch.
Watch the Webinar
We created this webinar to help cable technology vendors get inspired about content for the year ahead – particularly as they prepare for the biggest event in our industry: Cable-Tec Expo. Just click the link and scroll down the SCTE’s Exhibitor Info Page to watch it!