Having just added the world’s leading Filipino American cable networks to its Southern California channel lineup, the cable telecommunications company wanted to trumpet the news in style. To that end, Time Warner’s West Coast marketing department teamed with Los Angeles–based ES Advertising to concoct a direct mail campaign targeting Filipino American consumers in Southern California. “We really wanted to highlight that we have these channels in a direct mail piece,” says Patricia Romero, a vice president of multicultural marketing at Time Warner.
What also emerged is what some experts describe as a textbook example of how to engage a particular segment of the Asian American community.
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To promote those newly added networks, Time Warner Cable created a cheerful letter with copy written in Tagalog, the first language of the Philippines and metro Manila. Boasting organic green text and color photos of popular Filipino TV shows and stars, the letters were shipped in branded 9-inch by 4-inch envelopes and featured logos of the three Filipino networks being promoted.
The Time Warner mailer gives detailed info about an introductory offer, including one free month of all Filipino channels, and also describes the terms of the deal, including three Filipino channels, digital TV and broadband for less than $90 monthly. Marketing expert Saul Gitlin, of Kang & Lee, says that like most other consumers, Asian Americans appreciate a great deal. “They see value as a combination of price and benefits,” he says.
Time Warner also offered rich details on discounts, premium channels and other offerings, specifics that experts say are critical when speaking to Asian American targets. Asian Americans often prefer more details than the average mainstream marketing target, say experts who advise companies on marketing to the Asian American audience. Romero echoes that point when she explains how the Filipino American piece differed from one sent with general market messaging.
“If you were to look at a DM piece that we sent out for general market during this same time period, you’d see a different, more streamlined approach with those,” she says.
Time Warner shipped 10,320 of the Filipino mailers during two drops beginning in March 2011. Romero says the campaign far surpassed expectations. “This particular piece got a response rate of 13 percent,” Romero says. “That’s about four to five times the average for direct mail. We’re usually getting response rates between 1.5 percent and 5 percent — so taken from the perspective of industry average and also our own personal success rate, 13 percent was absolutely over the top.”
Time Warner Cable is so pleased with the response that the company is on the verge of delivering different offer sets according to Asian American ethnicity. “We’re seeing extremely big discrepancies between segments in terms of Internet usage and speed,” Romero says. “Nearly 100 percent of our Filipino subscribers take a Filipino channel or package. Compare that to only about 14 percent in the Chinese market. So there’s massive differences in consumer behavior between our segments.”
Romero says financial limitations restrict how often the telecom giant can produce such segmented campaigns, but Time Warner marketers fully understand the value of drilling down to specific ethnic groups whenever possible. “Budgetary constraints come into play,” Romero says, “but when you see these types of response rates, you realize that your return on investment is just as high as the investment needed to speak to these consumers in a highly relevant way. If they’re spoken to, they will come.”Integrated Marketing, Multicultural Marketing, Prospecting, Segmentation