Inbound Marketing versus AT&T’s U-Verse Marketing Campaign

at&tI must be a highly sought after prospect for AT&T U-Verse. The continual stream of direct mail offers, phone solicitations, and even visits to my home offering $250 cash and locked-in low pricing, has been relentless. Actually, it’s been over 12 months since I was first inducted into the AT&T marketing campaign blitz database and yet, I have not switched. Yet, they still continue to make me the same offer.

AT&T desperately wants me to sign up for their “complete system” package because I utilize internet, cable and smart phone for both home and business. Why have I not switched? Because AT&T has not asked me why…and, frankly, they do not care.

Their outbound marketing campaigns operates on the old school marketing principle of relentless one message and one offer to the masses. The philosophy is, if you hit your target market hard and long enough, then you may reach 1-3% conversions. This may be working because AT&T’s marketing executives are probably measured only on new customer acquisitions.

Imagine if these same AT&T Marketing Executives were also measured on customer retention. Wait! Isn’t customer retention a customer support responsibility only? Not any more, marketers must realize that current customers can also be their greatest advocates. The advent of tablets, mobile devices, and social media has brought the experience of transparency to customers while they research a company during their decision making process.

Here is AT&T Representative response when customers inquired on why their prices dramatically increased after 1 year, “It’s not unfair to offer reduced pricing promotions to new customers. They (competitors) all do it, and we were all new customers once.” I am sure customers perceive this response poorly. You can read the whole dialog here at AT&T’s online forum.

Now, imagine if AT&T had approached communications differently with me. Instead of blasting me with irrelevant communications, they had retrieved a little information from me with each engagement. Examples of questions they could ask include:

  • What service providers I am using?
  • Am I thinking of other provider’s features and benefits?
  • When might I be interested in considering making a switch?

AT&T reps can ask these questions online, with phone calls, and even by direct mail. Had AT&T asked these questions and segmented me appropriately, they would have learned that I am not ready to switch because of DIRECTV. Is my decision to stay with DIRECTV because I am a loyal customer? No. It’s because I don’t want to learn new DVR settings and operations and risk losing my previously recorded shows. Wow – that’s it!!! Am I the only prospect that won’t switch from their current cable provider for this reason? Absolutely not!

Now, imagine a different marketing message directed to me that hails AT&T’s DVR functionality over DIRECTV and speaks to the ease of migration to a new DVR system. I would take notice of that offer immediately.

The Bottom Line
When we gather information from our prospects, we can subsequently nurture them along with the right message and timely offers. It sounds confusing to imagine such a marketing process and automation? Perhaps that’s the case at AT&T and they should consider developing an Inbound Marketing strategy.

About Michael Senger

Michael Senger is an energetic, results-oriented Senior Marketing Professional with almost 15 years experience in strategic online marketing. Before joining Hidden Peak Interactive, Michael successfully led the launch of StoneMass, a web marketing agency. Michael also spent 8 years at Symantec, directing their Global Online Marketing initiatives leading a diverse global team of matrixed team leaders and digital/online agencies leading to successful global results.

Michael has a MBA in Marketing Information Technology from the University of British Columbia in Canada.

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