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Cricket Calls Out Verizon and AT&T Customers

Prepaid wireless service provider Cricket Communications is calling on AT&T and Verizon customers to look at their monthly wireless phone bills and assess whether they can get the same service for half the cost with Cricket’s “Half Is More” multichannel campaign.

“Research shows us that there are about 51 million people who are customers of those two brands that would be amenable to switch [or] who would consider switching,” says Greg Lund, senior manager of corporate communications for Cricket. “Until now, the way we bought wireless was through a post-paid sort of strategy. That’s what most people have done. It’s going to take a strong message about saving money for them to consider something else.”

To show consumers how low they could go, Cricket launched the “Half Is More” campaign on May 13 on its website. The campaign’s page includes a video that will run as a TV spot starting June 3, Lund says. In addition, Cricket is promoting the campaign via banner ads and in-store, including in Cricket’s company-owned stores, premier dealers, and independent dealers. The campaign’s website also invites consumers to share what they would do with the money they would save via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram under the hashtag #whatsyourmore.

Lund says that Cricket introduced the campaign via digital in mid-May to build up momentum for the TV spot’s release June 3 and the inclusion of the Samsung GS4 to the company’s smartphone product line. He also describes Cricket as a “cyclical” business given that the brand typically sees an uptick in phone and plan sales in Q1 and Q4, but a decrease in Q2 and Q3. Lund explains that, historically, Cricket’s customers—who tend to be young, diverse, and make under $50,000 a year—have more disposable income to spend on a phone or a plan in Q1 or Q4.

However, while Lund says Cricket does send text messages to consumers who opt-in to receive them, he says Cricket is not doing any mobile marketing centered on the campaign.

“We don’t want to send out so many messages that the key ones…[like an upgrade]get lost in a bunch of other messages,” Lund explains. “We’re mindful of trying to strike the right balance.”

This struck me as odd. Marketing is all about being where your consumers are. If you sell mobile phones and plans, you know your consumers are reachable via their mobile devices. You’re also able to identify if they have a smartphone or a feature phone and can adjust your messaging accordingly. As a consumer, I actually expect my mobile carrier to market to me via my mobile device because they know it’s a channel in which I communicate. Hence, it’s important for marketers to take advantage of the information their customers give them and to be where their customers are—rather than just “chirp” their messages to anyone who will listen.

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