A Lesson From My Sister On Marketing’s True Focus

Posted: March 20, 2016
My sister has been in the medical industry and now works for a local retailer. She is a member of the late baby-boom generation, and our ages are separated by a mere six years (It seemed like a big difference when I was younger). Although she has used computers at work and at home, she isn’t comfortable with this fast-changing world of smartphones, tablets, Pandora, Google, AppleTV and Amazon Prime. During a recent conversation with her, she was totally mystified by a Roku device and understanding how it communicates with the Wi-Fi router.

As a long-in-the-tooth marketer for a 100 percent fiber-to-the-home broadband company, I stay awake at night and think of ways to add customers to the network. I think about the technology and the whiz-bang benefits of higher-speed connections. I understand the profitability and the increased ARPU that comes from new acquisitions and retention. Yet with all that understanding, something became clear to me while talking with my sister: It’s important for us in the industry to be a resource for people like her who want to understand how to harness the power of broadband.

Those who aren’t comfortable with the technology do not want to be left behind. They need someone on the other end of the website, local channel, newsletter and social media to engage them with a story — stories that reveal how people are learning about Wi-Fi, searching for a vacation spot, creating social media profiles, connecting a Roku device and buying a tablet. People relate to other people. Customers are looking for someone they trust to guide them, someone who will not lead them to a bad buying decision or confuse them into plugging a Roku stick into a Category 5 jack. That someone should be their provider.

At the end of the conversation with my sister, she said, “You should teach this.” She’s right; I should. We all should be teaching this, every day. Marketers tend to get caught up in the technology and the numbers, and sometimes we just need that kick in the backside from our older sister reminding us of what we should really be doing.

Carrie Huckeby is Chief Marketing Officer for WK&T Telecommunications and Ardmore Telephone Company. She also serves as a TTA Board Member & Chair of the Marketing Committee.