BMMA News – October 2012

October 15, 2012 – BMMA News is courtesy of your marketing committee. We hold regular calls to discuss strategic issues, but most of our activities are handled “off line.” New committee members are always welcome, so please contact Janet Sczech (Committee Chair) if you wish to be involved.  

BMMA 2012 Fall Workshop Highlights

The BMMA Fall Workshop in Biloxi, MS was a huge success! Co-Chair Matt Apps of TDS Telecom kicked off the meeting with an introduction to the BMMA and a warm welcome to all new participants.

Jason Tennyson (Cincinnati Bell) presented highlights from the Q1-Q2 2012 BMMA broadband benchmarking report, which covers broadband penetration (total, by technology and by speed), churn (total, controllable, uncontrollable, non-pay disconnects) and ARPU. The benchmarking committee will review comments made during the session as well as suggestions for a one-off survey to request best practices covering the customer on-boarding process, trends in security offers and issues concerning modems.

All of our roundtable sessions generated lots of discussion. Michael Gondar (Actiontec) kicked off the Wi-Fi Strategies roundtable with an overview of the current Wi-Fi technology landscape. Wireless technology is improving, which will help providers. With respect to wireless LAN connectivity to a gateway, Michael reviewed three standards: 1] 802.11b/g (an old standard no longer in mass production) provides up to 54 Mbps – actual throughput is much lower depending on wireless conditions; 2] 802.11n (latest standard now in mass production) can provide up to 300 Mbps, again with the actual throughput much lower dependent on wireless conditions. It uses MIMO antenna array, which offers faster speeds and more coverage options having separate transmit and receive antennas (MIMO = Many In Many Out – 2×2, 2×3, 3×3, 4×4 etc.). 4 x 4 is good technology mainly for TV transmission but extremely expensive at this stage. 3 x 3 costs are starting to go down to a reasonable level; and 3] 802.11ac is on the horizon. It will provide 1 Gbps at very short range, with potential of delivering TV and other high bandwidth traffic wirelessly throughout the home. Industry is just now seeing hardware and will determine whether it is reliable and cost effective in the months to come. 

With virtually all households going wireless, a major challenge for providers is the cost associated with customers calling in with Wi-Fi issues, which are difficult to diagnose over the phone. For one provider, Wi-Fi set up and other issues (typically speed and range) fall in the top three reasons customers call in. Regarding speed for instance, a customer may subscribe to a high-speed (e.g., 50+ Mbps) broadband service; however, if she connects through a slower “G” device she may not get the throughput. For others, the issue is range, which is currently a weak point: some people just require access in certain areas of the house. When agents refer them to paid support, customers get angry. Overcoming this will help us all.

Continuing the Wi-Fi Strategy session, Tom Zanoli reviewed what GVTC is doing with the product and managing the smart home. GVTC currently offers a Security Monitoring service and is developing complementary home automation services. Interactive services in particular add a lot of value to the security product. For instance, if a door opens, it may send an alert to the customer.  Automation allows touch points, creating stickiness. GVTC and other providers have been approached by builders to offer a smart home; however, the security component may be a limited market.

Also discussed during the Wi-Fi Strategy session was Comcast’s recent claim to have the best gateway (3×3), SKU consolidation, security, and opportunities for carrier Wi-Fi (hot spots).

During our Marketing Broadband roundtable Matt Apps and Erin Olson of TDS Telecom covered a variety of topics including movers (ways providers reach customers moving into their footprint), offers to new and existing customers (e.g., “price for life” and various free CPE offers) and some customer appreciation/loyalty practices that have worked. There’s great variance amongst providers in terms of their use of social media for marketing. For instance, one provider uses Facebook to introduce campaigns while another completely shut down their page, and yet another is just beginning to pursue their strategy. One provider uses Twitter on a daily basis while another uses it occasionally to enhance the customer experience.

Janet Sczech of GVTC shared their “Get to the Customer First” program where they partner with local builders bringing value to them through the capabilities of fiber. Their exclusive agreement allows them to display their products and services in model homes.  GVTC has over 35 builders in their program; seven of which are national. One attendee noted it can be a challenge to get small builders to understand broadband technology and build to spec.

Tom Merz of Frontier shared their “Frontier All Star Team” 2012 Olympic campaign. They chose one athlete in each of two West Region FiOS markets. For Washington, this was swimmer Ariana Kukors, world record holder in the 400m IM. For Oregon, this was fencer Mariel Zagunis, 2004 and 2008 Olympic gold medalist.  Throughout 2012 Frontier gained rights to use their images (in DMs, website…), audio, video, quotes, etc., including four all-day personal appearances and a promise to frequently mention Frontier in social media.

Jason Tennyson of Cincinnati Bell led our discussion covering upcoming broadband products and value-added services. He covered hybrids (VoIP and video), non-productized revenue generating services (portal/email, online white pages, network security, metered broadband), and off-billing partnered services (satellite video, mobile services, home security, energy). 

Sponsors make it happen…

Sponsors allow us to put on quality events for you.

Join us in thanking our Event Sponsors – Actiontec and Alcatel-Lucent for these wonderful activities:

·       Tuesday tour of Jefferson Davis Museum

·       Welcome reception

·       Wednesday sailing cruise & dinner

·       Thursday team-building volleyball & dinner

We also thank our Wednesday PM Break Sponsor: F-Secure! 

Upcoming BMMA Events

 – Hot Topic Calls

o   October: Our October executive call has been postponed to January 2013 to facilitate a better discussion regarding plans for the New Year since they will have been finalized at this point.  We are reverting back to our past years’ practices in this regard.

o   November 24: Customer On-boarding Process

 – BMMA 2013 Annual Meeting (AM)

o   Join us for another round of outstanding networking and discussions.

o   We are targeting the week of April 15, 2013. Details with a gulf coast Florida hotel are now being finalized…look for our announcement in the coming weeks.

o   The AM will be co-located with ResearchFirst’s Broadband Services 2013 seminar. BMMA member registration and sponsor discounts will apply.

o   The AM agenda will include: Election of 2013 Board of Directors, Best in Class awards, benchmarking report readout, roundtables on key broadband marketing and product management issues.

o   2013 annual dues will cover registration fees for up to 2 individuals from each member company to attend the Annual Meeting.

Vendor Announcements

– Event:  Calix User Group Conference

Location:  Wynn Resort, Las Vegas, NV

Date:  October 27-30, 2012

Description:  Annual conference hosted by Calix for service providers, technology partners, industry experts and consulting engineers to learn, share and discuss network and business strategies.  Highlights include: 

•                Expanded training session topics – see details in the Conference Agenda

•                Expanded breakout sessions, including a new track devoted to marketing tips and techniques for service providers

•                Insights from industry experts, consulting engineers, your peers, Calix partners, and Calix management

•                Previews of upcoming Calix products and services

•                Nightly entertainment at the world-class Wynn Resort


 – Vendor Members – Share your announcements with us for our spring edition in April 2013.

BMMA 2013 Best in Class Marketing Awards

Nominations for the BMMA 2013 Best in Class Marketing awards are now being accepted, with submissions due this year by December 15, 2012. First introduced in 2008, these awards recognize individuals or teams that demonstrate broadband marketing innovation, excellence or partnership. Award recipients will be announced at the 2013 Annual Meeting and will be asked to present their programs.


·       Marketing: awarded to a service provider and a vendor member that best display innovation or excellence in broadband marketing. This may cover a leading edge product or service development, practice or operation; or marketing as it relates to execution (e.g., promotional activity, advertising, new product introduction, etc.).

·       Marketing Partnership: awarded to two or more members that have successfully implemented a marketing program to serve the needs of their mutual customers (e.g., what might be done with an equipment vendor and a service provider).

These awards bring value to our members through:

·       Peer recognition (within the BMMA and one’s own organization)

·       Ability to claim your product/service “Award Winning” in the public domain

·       Provide the opportunity to other members to learn more about industry best practices

BMMA in Your 2013 Budget

With many now entrenched in your 2013 budget activities, we remind you that the BMMA will work with you on flexible budgeting solutions. This includes the ability to invoice in advance for any anticipated 2013 BMMA expenses to help you lock in funds and avoid budget restraints later in the year.

Please remember to budget for:

·       2013 membership dues. Invoices for 2013 membership dues will be emailed on January 2. Visit our website for information on our current dues structure. If you would like to be invoiced early to use up existing budget, notify Lisa LaBorde.

·       BMMA Annual Meeting and ResearchFirst’s Broadband Services 2013 Seminar (April 2013). Registration for the AGM is free for up to two individuals* from each member company ($500 fee for additional attendees). Registration for the Seminar is US$1,395 ($1,695 – $100 early registration – $200 BMMA member discount). These events will be co-located to minimize your travel expenses. 90%+ attendees attend both events. Broadband connectivity will be arranged in the meeting room so that you may stay connected to work throughout the week.

·       BMMA Fall Workshop (date & location TBD). Registration is typically $500 per person. Ask us about invoicing in advance to avoid year-end travel restrictions. The Fall Workshop is typically hosted by a member company in September or October.

·       Sponsorships opportunities. Contact Ellis Hill for details.

* Some memberships cover 1 registration.

Benchmarking Update

·       Detailed results will be emailed next week to our 10 participating providers. The BMMA philosophy (“you get what you give”) dictates that detailed results are shared with participating companies, and highlights are presented to the entire group at our face-to-face meetings. We encourage ALL of our service provider members to participate in order to get the full benefit from this report.

·       Provider members should look for our next data request in the coming month, highlights of which will be presented in March at the Annual Meeting.

·       A Benchmarking Committee conference call will be held soon. If you are interested in participating to drive the direction of this report, contact Lisa LaBorde.

Support our Q4 New Member Initiative

As a BMMA member, you gain value by having more members. Please help us do so by sharing our Q4 promotion with at least one potential new member, and include your personal endorsement of the assoc

Q4 Promo Summary:  Join the BMMA for 2012 by December 1st and enjoy:

– Free Membership in Q4 2012

– $500 discount off 2013 membership dues

Q4 Promo  
BMMA overview
Member testimonials 
Membership application             

Your BMMA Marketing Committee,

Janet Sczech, GVTC – Committee Chair
Matt Apps, TDS Telecom 
Brett Cousins, SaskTel 
Dianna Linton, MTS Allstream
Greg Owens, Alcatel-Lucent
Jack Smith, North State Communications
Juan Vela, Calix
Tom Zanoli, GVTC 
Lisa LaBorde, BMMA

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