Thursday, May 22, 2014

An Unexpectedly Polite Marketing Campaign

By Laura Iles - Sr. Consultant, Integrated Insight

My friend was recently in the market for a new smartphone and service plan. Of course, we knew all the major providers, and had a long discussion about our past experiences with the various firms.

While driving around one day running errands, she was listening to the radio when she heard MetroPCS was sponsoring the station that afternoon. They promised to play only one Metro commercial each 15 minutes, and leave the rest of the time completely commercial free.

She later told me that it was a nice break from the usual influx of commercials, and Metro’s commercial was played just often enough to stick in her mind, but not so often that it became aggravating.

To be honest, Metro had not even occurred to us as a possibility. While they previously merged with T-Mobile, they are still struggling against the existing consumer perception of having a lower-quality network, at least among the individuals with whom I've spoken. Neither my friend nor I would have thought of them as a potential new service provider on our own;  they just weren't top of mind for us in the telecom industry.

But, by the end of the day, she had heard the commercials enough times that Metro was ingrained as a contender for her next purchase. Feeling grateful for the fact that they actually made the drive more pleasant by reducing the number of commercials overall, my friend decided it couldn't hurt to go in and talk with them.

On impulse, she stopped at a store on the way home. Within an hour, she signed up for service with MetroPCS and bought her new phone from them.

A simple, unexpectedly polite, radio marketing strategy drove incremental sales. Metro profited from not only her phone purchase that day, but the ongoing monthly service, and positive word of mouth as well. It’s been over a month and she’s still happy.

While the commercials themselves were nothing special, displaying a little goodwill toward customers can sometimes make all the difference. It’s such a refreshing change from the back to back commercials that, often quite literally, scream at you to BUY NOW!

For Metro to purchase the airtime, and then be gracious enough to resist filling it up nonstop with their firm's commercials, was an unexpected generosity. Customers often switch providers for reasons other than price. Could something so simple, yet unexpected, be your firm’s point of differentiation in marketing?