Alltel aims for broader consumer base

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Alltel Wireless has expanded its My Circle offering and launched a fully integrated campaign in an effort to gain new customers and increase satisfaction of existing users.

The campaign promotes 5-person and 20-person variations on Alltel's standard 10-person unlimited calling plan, My Circle. The campaign, by Campbell-Ewald and marketing firm GMR, in­cludes retail, a Web presence, PR, mass media advertising and direct mail. Di­rect mail pieces and other creative will all be branded with the Alltel spokesperson, Chad the sales guy, but the prominence of the new of­fer may change depending on whether the mail is intend­ed for customer acqui­sition or retention.

“The wireless industry, as a whole, is at a mature level within the business curve, so what we're really all about at this point is getting awareness, consid­eration and people to walk into our stores,” said Lucie Pathmann, director of marketing and communi­cations at Alltel. “We try to find ways to get consumers' consider­ation, so when they are in the market to switch providers — for example, if their contract is up — we are there.”

The new plans were offered partly in response to customer feedback. In focus groups and in one-on-one interactions, some Alltel users indicated that the My Circle 10 plan — offered to those with a monthly plan of $59.99 or more — not meet their needs. The new five-number offer is available to less-expensive plans. The company has set up a page on its Web site. Users can change or up­grade their plans at any time, and they can type in their 5, 10 or 20 My Circle numbers on­line to be automatically trans­ferred to their phones.

Alltel will use data on consum­ers' preferences in future marketing efforts.

“Our brand is cen­tered around being a customer advocate and doing what's right for them,” Pathmann elaborated. “We heard some customers could not benefit because they didn't need all those minutes or were on a higher rate plan but needed more num­bers, so we added these other options.”

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