Why phone cards need a better image

I read with a mixture of interest and dismay David Benady’s report on Camelot axing the National Lottery Anyphone card (MW July 3) following the problems it has encountered with its nominated supplier, CardCall. Interest, because Card Call is one of my competitors, and dismay as developments like this inevitably result in negative press – tarnishing the whole industry and damaging customer confidence.

In the US, calling cards, and other value-added telecoms services, form a $1bn industry – and many corporations are grabbing their share of the marketing-generated dollar by developing new sales promotion, loyalty and retail programmes based on telecoms products. I’m certain that the UK will take the same route – it’s just a matter of time.

It’s unfortunate that Camelot, which must be among those organisations in the best position to exploit a calling card service like Anyphone – a stable, recognisable brand; charity tie-in; ready-made route to market – has failed to bring the service to the public’s attention. Once the public is educated that there are viable, cost-effective alternatives to BT, many more corporations will feel confident that they can offer branded phone services – to staff, clients and the general public alike – building brand profile, and raising revenues.

We need to address these issues, and raise awareness of the opportunities, while reassuring potential clients that the burgeoning UK telecoms industry is not going to be infested by disreputable sharks.

My company, Technology Control Services, and other major players are currently establishing an open industry association, with the aim of providing an official stamp of approval to member organisations and setting standards of quality as well as good business practice. This body will also provide a common voice for lobbying Oftel, to ensure that the customer receives maximum benefits, as well as providing a forum for information sharing.

In the future, we shall all be able to benefit (with confidence) from the marketing opportunities afforded by deregulation of the telecoms market, both here and overseas.

Stephen Woods

General manager

Technology Control Services

London WC2

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here