Verizon’s 180 on Unlimited Data

Unlimited data: for many, it’s a core requirement of their mobile plans. So when Verizon killed the option for existing users in 2012 … well, customers were none too happy. But the other three major telecoms? They probably felt like they had won the Super Bowl, and have spent the last five years reminding anyone and everyone that they’re NOT Verizon.

Unlimited DataLet’s kick today’s post off with this: I have been a customer of AT&T, Verizon, Straight Talk, and Sprint … and Sprint is my current mobile carrier because, when it came down to it, I needed a plan with unlimited data at a certain price point. Now you know my mobile biz.

Unlimited data: for many, it’s a core requirement of their mobile plans. So when Verizon killed the option for existing users in 2012 … well, customers were none too happy. But the other three major telecoms? They probably felt like they had won the Super Bowl, and have spent the last five years reminding anyone and everyone that they’re NOT Verizon.

Speaking of the Super Bowl, T-Mobile used two of its four ads to specifically call out Verizon, with the other two ads focusing on its unlimited data offerings, explained by Justin Bieber in one and Martha Stewart and Snoop Dog in the other. Sprint’s single Superbowl commercial also called out Verizon … and got dark:

https://youtu.be/w_8ms2RzSYk

Yowza.

Oh, and Sprint nabbed Paul Marcarelli, the “Can you hear me now?” guy after Verizon ended his contract in 2011, and has been using him in commercials as well. Ouch.

And you can’t forget that the customer base has been eaten into by the likes of T-Mobile.

Yet still, Verizon put out ads like the one below, rallying against unlimited data, stating that consumers rarely use more than 5GB.

https://youtu.be/hzYOr-CeRCs

This ad ran from mid-January to early February of this year … and then on Feb. 12, Verizon announced, “Oh hey … we have an unlimited plan now.”

Say what?

https://youtu.be/4Zf1NLj_FGA

Now, in my opinion, this is where the marketing whiplash comes in. Verizon went from “You don’t need more than 5GB of data, and here’s a great price” to “here’s some unlimited data on a great network.” Okay … but it’s been FIVE YEARS.

Verizon, you’ve been the butt of jokes made by T-Mobile and Sprint. Many customers have jumped ship. And Sprint now has the actor who provided possibly the catchiest of catchphrases in telecom, who was apart of the Verizon family for over nine years, working for them.

And yet you present your new unlimited plan like someone ordering “the chicken” on an airplane.

It’s underwhelming. And a little off-putting. Why not own it? Own the fact that you’ve finally listened to what consumers want, not what you think they should have.

Or, and I realize this could be risky, make a little fun of yourself. Everyone else has … I think it would have been hilarious to see the marketing team come up with a series of ads where Verizon is upset over being picked on, breaking up with its spokesperson only to see him run into the arms of another carrier, and then finally coming to the realization that it needs to get with the times and get back on the unlimited bandwagon.

Because an unlimited plan isn’t mic drop worthy anymore. It’s the norm.

 

 

 

Direct Mail: Data Makes All the Difference

The draw of the latest marketing trends pulls at us all. Many companies have integrated their direct mail with technologies like QR Codes, NFC and augmented reality, but many are missing the point with direct mail. The power of direct mail is the ability to reach the right person with the right offer to drive their response. Yes, technology can make the responses quicker and easier, but if you are not taking into consideration the person you are sending too, you may be throwing money away.

The draw of the latest marketing trends pulls at us all. Many companies have integrated their direct mail with technologies like QR Codes, NFC and augmented reality, but many are missing the point with direct mail. The power of direct mail is the ability to reach the right person with the right offer to drive their response. Yes, technology can make the responses quicker and easier, but if you are not taking into consideration the person you are sending too, you may be throwing money away.

The most powerful tool you have today is your data. You need to be able to harness this power to create great direct mail campaigns. Here are some things to consider:

  1. Create a data plan. What are your goals? What data have you already captured? What data do you want to capture? Now that you know what you want, how are you going to get it?
  2. Outline how you are going to use that data. Just having the data is not enough. You need to plan out ways to capitalize on it. Being able to group like people together for messaging will help you have less complicated campaigns. Make sure to not sacrifice your ROI by trying to make the campaign too simple. Some complexity is a good thing.
  3. The most common form of information that is extremely helpful in direct mail is purchase history. When you know what someone has already purchased you are able to tempt them with other items that they may be interested in, such as accessories or upgrades. This can also work in the nonprofit sector by tracking donation amounts. You can entice donors to donate more, by providing stepped donation amounts based on the last donation made.
  4. When you don’t have a lot of data already compiled there are many resources that can help you to enhance your data. There are geo, psycho, and demographics to name a few. Using this information can help you to build personas for better message targeting. Augmenting your data can provide powerful insights such as financial, shopping, technology and so much more. A couple of examples are Nielson with the Prizm tool and Accudata with the SnapShot tool. Working with a data company can help you expand your customer and prospect knowledge which can equate to better targeted marketing.
  5. Keeping old data is the biggest mistake. Outdated data is a real problem. These days the key to good data is not only capturing as much information about each person as you can, but also double checking it. Keep your data clean with all available tools. Some of these tools include NCOA (checking for new addresses when people move), deceased file processing (removing people when they die), surveys (keep your info current by asking them directly) and so on. You should look at your data as a constant work in progress and be cleaning and adding to it all the time.
  6. Do not forget about security. It is extremely important to secure your data. Too many times we hear reports of data breaches. Work with your IT department to make sure you can count on your data security. Many companies have not spent enough time on data security and have had to pay a very high price. Your customers trust you. Make sure you are trustworthy now before it is too late.
  7. If your data is small, don’t worry about it. Plan ways to grow your data base and continue to improve it. The more you are able to capture with each campaign the better your direct mail is going to get. Everyone started off small at one point. Just remember the tools you have available to help you and keep your data up to date. Old data will cost you money.

Direct mail can be an excellent driver for your marketing, not just for purchases, but for online engagement as well. When you focus on your data and really target your audience the impact of direct mail can be enormous. Tracking your campaigns is extremely important so that you know what is making you the most money and what needs to be worked on. Your direct mail should be constantly changing and updated based on your responses and data files. Have fun creating direct mail campaigns and learning more about your customers and prospects.