Hot hints for marketing telecoms bundles to consumers

In a world of megabytes and megabits, consumers just want to know what they’re getting, and who can offer it in the best way.

This week’s trends feature showcases consumer insights from market research firm Mintel.

I have translated the research findings into what I feel are the most relevant hints for marketers, based on what consumer behaviours and attitudes Mintel’s stats are pointing to in terms of how telecoms bundles are being sold:

Don’t talk in megabits and bytes. It might be all the rage to pack an ad for a telecoms bundle with lots of impressive numbers, but Mintel says that numbers alone are meaningless. It is much more customer friendly to illustrate in real terms what those numbers mean: how many web pages or downloads an allowance provides, and increasingly in this day and age, how many app downloads it allows for.

I only say this because the customer service assistant at mobile network O2 who answered my call recently, could not tell me. I know that different apps take up different amounts of download space, but this is increasingly the reason people are buying higher priced phones, so telecoms companies need to find a way to illustrate this to consumers in an easy to understand manner.

Identify nuances within demographics to which to market a bundle. Mintel’s report highlights how bundles are currently largely aimed at group set ups, like share houses and families. But Mintel is suggesting brands in this sector should think outside this market and take into account the increase in single person households and create an appropriate bundle for this audience.

Find a way to add mobile to your bundle. Mobile phones are increasingly more attractive to younger people than fixed line. But, Mintel reveals that bundles offering mobile make up just 2% of the market.

There is a real opportunity for brands in this space to create youth oriented bundles built around a mobile phone package. Virgin Media is currently the only player to offer a “quad play” of television, internet, home phone and mobile. Despite Sky’s latest advertising campaign pushing the benefits of its HD TV package over Virgin’s, Virgin’s quad play positioning could have implications for companies like Sky who don’t offer mobile.

Highlight your big USP. What do you offer that your rivals don’t? In such a price driven market the thing that makes your brand unique is more important than ever. Especially as Mintel’s report indicates consumers perceive there to be little differentiation between brands in this market.

So give people something to differentiate you and justify a price premium. Offer something more to make you more than just the sender of bills. The trend at the moment that seems to be working is to offer something tangible, such as O2 and Vodafone offering priority tickets to music events, Orange’s famous Orange Wednesdays on-going promotion, and Sky and BT offering £75 vouchers respectively for M&S and Dabs.com.

But as this gifting is now the norm, marketers will have to stay ahead of what will be the next step when this option is exhausted. Maybe we will see a reverse trend of going back to basic customer service. For example, promoting the fact that your brand will answer your call in a certain amount of time, or offering some kind of service guarantee, or free trial options. The bare bones, away from the tricks and gimmicks, could be what consumers are really looking for.

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