Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Direct Marketing for the Telecommunications Industry

This is a topic rather dear to our hearts. Nancy and I both have quite a bit of experience working with telecommunications firms and helping them develop and implement winning marketing programs.

So, when I come across an article that talks about direct marketing for this industry, I get excited (yes, I know I'm a geek). From DM News, Fierce competition among telecom marketers.

The article talks about how deregulation and new technology have made telecom a super competitive marketplace. It talks about the importance of timing and reaching that prospect just when their service plan is about to expire (a tough challenge that we know a thing or two about, by the way!).

The article cites 5 key trends in marketing for telecommunications firms:
  1. "Telecoms leverage more online channels to maximize spend." They're relying on consumers doing their own research on the Internet and building an online presence to acquire new customers.
  2. "With short contracts, timing of messages is essential."
  3. "Many programs are tied to contextual ads and paid search to drive traffic."
  4. "Companies are differentiating themselves with aggressive calls to action." In a nutshell, they're serving up great offers, many with a cost/savings focus. The article mentioned that the word "free" is used a lot in telecom advertising.
  5. "Telecoms use new emerging media channels to reach early adopters." They're using blogs and social networks as a low-cost way to get their message out to the technology community.
The article gives real examples of marketing programs for telecommunications companies. Interesting stuff.

But, here's what I found probably the most interesting about the entire article. Not one example, not one single mention was given to the traditional telecom providers. By traditional, I'm talking about those companies that used to be referred to as the Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs). You know, Verizon, BellSouth, SBC, Qwest, etc. Nor, is giant AT&T mentioned. Not even once.

Those telecom marketers that ARE mentioned include: Vonage, Jajah (a provider of VOIP services), Avaya, Time Warner Telecom and Helio. Hmmm.

So, here are my questions: Do you think that the firms that I'm calling "traditional" simply don't have to put forth innovative marketing because they've locked in market-share?

Or, do you think that the landscape is changing so much that within the next few years, the majority of us will be buying our telecom from different players?

Or, ARE the traditional giants actually putting forth innovative marketing, programs and products and they're just not mentioned in this article?

I'd love to hear opinions, please!

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