BT and EE join forces for first time as they look to promote ‘innovation and customer experience’

Following BT’s acquisition of EE earlier this year, the two firms are to work together for the first time to launch a sports app offer that will only be available to EE mobile customers.

The app offer is aimed at new and existing EE customers and will provide them with access to sports updates and BT Sport content. BT Sport has rights to show Premier League football, the FA Cup, Champions League, Moto GP, Aviva Premiership rugby and sailing competition The America’s Cup. It will also provide customers with access to the full line-up of BT Sport channels.

To promote the partnership the app will be pushed out in-store, the first time a BT service will be sold by EE staff, and with a multi-million pound TV ad campaign at the end of the month starring Kevin Bacon alongside footballers Harry Redknapp and Rio Ferdinand. EE will also make use of video MMS for the first time as part of a direct marketing campaign that will send customers personal direct messages including video.

Speaking to Marketing Week, Max Taylor, EE’s managing director for digital, communications and innovation, believes the launch will offer a real benefit to customers. “It’s the first customer benefit as a result of the acquisition of EE by BT and offers a great customer experience.”

Although BT and EE are collaborating on the sports app, Taylor is quick to stress that EE is still responsible for its own brand and that the two companies remain quite separate, although they are finding ways to work together.

“We have regular meetings, we are working together with the group brand and marketing roles and continue to share resources. However, we bring things to market slightly differently and to slightly different audiences,” Taylor said.

“EE’s target audience is ‘metro-techno’, which is typically late 20’s and a single user, whereas BT is slightly more focused around families and household, with a slightly older demographic.”


Yet in spite of those differences, Taylor believes EE and BT have a lot in common. “We both come from very innovative backgrounds and both have a deep passion for the customer. There is one thing that we want to focus on even more and that is to deliver and make dramatic improvement to the customer experience.”

The takeover has already led to changes in the EE marketing department. Its former CMO Pippa Dunn and brand director Spencer McHugh have both left, while former marketer Marc Allera has taken over as CEO. Yet Taylor said while their departures were “unfortunate” there is still a “long list of experienced marketers” working at EE. That includes Taylor, who has been there for 15 years.

The main difference between pre-takeover and now is the focus on digital: “We are looking to dial up our digital communications and our focus on the customer, particularly our base communications – the opportunity to deliver service and the proposition messages to our customers.”

Going forward, priorities include investing in EE’s network, with the aim to increase EE 4G coverage geographically to 95% by 2020. The brand also sees video as the future and will programme its content services to deliver this.

“Our world class network is our bedrock, it is the number one thing our customers look for and is where we invest our money,” Taylor said. “We will be looking to bring content services to market that really exploit a great network and are built around video.”

The brand also aims to double ‘My EE’ users from five million customers to 10 million by the end of this financial year, allowing customers to view and “interrogate” their bills themselves. “More personalisation, optimisation, campaign integration and innovation will be at the heart of the brand moving forward,” Taylor added.


Three ways the BT brand is evolving its strategy for growth

Rachel Gee

Just three years ago BT was contracting by 3% a year but it has managed to turn that performance around with profits and revenues up during a “landmark year” for the business. It is now focused on evolution not revolution and will focus on developing its customer service, the EE brand and convergence plans as it looks to become the telecoms firm of choice.