Between 1997 and 2002, more than 10,000 phone companies formed in the United States. If your business is one of the 10,000 in the industry, how does it stand out among the rest?
In these competitive times, telecommunications companies are striving to get into the minds of consumers. What better way to achieve notoriety and a competitive edge than with the use of promotional products that convey a professional image and provide consumers with your company's information?
Promotional products ranging from dashboard cell phone holders to retractable modem cords can help your telecommunications company achieve a sales goal or lure customers to upgrade a cable or wireless plan.
Cellular Phone Industry
More than 125 million Americans now have a wireless phone. Offering a standard or ordinary service won't make a company successful in this competitive industry.
"Cell phones have become a must-have in today's society, and consumers are inundated with offers from many companies," says Printable Promotions' Mitch Silver. "Promotional items incorporated into consumer campaigns catch people's attention and attract people to your offer."
Such offers might include a plan that focuses on wireless phone safety. The offer could include a custom-imprinted hands-free headset, a customized brochure with tips for safe cell phone use and a first-aid kit with your company's name and logo on it. Not only will the "safe cell phone use" offer attract safety-conscious consumers, it will also help your company's image. When customers know that you care about more than just their business, you will likely earn their trust and respect.
The wireless industry also uses large-scale marketing campaigns to attract customers. Sending representatives to sporting events, car shows, fairs or other populated events and giving away cell phone-shaped magnets with your company logo on them is a great way to get your company's name out there and into the minds of consumers.
Offering a free gift to lure customers into your store is another great way for consumers to take notice of a wireless company's offers. Something fun like a slinky-like toy with your company logo on it might encourage customers to "toy with the idea" of getting a new, high-tech cell phone.
With thousands of phone companies making offers to consumers, a company needs to do more than just provide a low rate to attract customers. Offering free gifts with a phone plan or giving people perks for switching carriers makes a company stand out among the rest.
"Incorporating your company's mission into a promotional campaign with promotional products is an effective way to let consumers know that a company stands by its word and provides service that is consistent with its mission," says Silver. "Promotional products are the key to perpetuating a positive image and consistent message."
If a company stresses its commitment to customer service, using promotional items that assure customers of the company's dependable, accessible service is an effective way to do so. Giving customers a customer service information package with magnets that provide a phone company's customer service phone number and instructions would be a great way to stress the business's commitment to its clients.
Maintaining a good relationship with existing customers is just as important as attracting new ones. Promotional items can thank valued customers for their business. Useful items like a wall calendar or a calculator with your company logo on it are examples of ways to remind customers that your phone company is taking care of them and appreciates their business.
It's also important to reward and motivate employees who are selling your company's products/services. New England Telephone used promotional products to encourage sales and marketing representatives to gain market share, distribute new rate schedules and sell its optional calling plan to consumers. The company received great feedback from employees who said they were excited about the campaign.
New England Telephone used a variety of promotional products in its OCP campaign. The new rates for the campaign were complicated and required a formula to calculate charges for customers. Thus, the telephone company used promotional products to help employees help their customers.
Following the theme, "Calculate the Difference," New England Telephone created an "Attack Pack" with printed bullet holes and the message, "We want you to...Take a Shot at the Competition!" The pack was distributed to 2400 sales/service/marketing reps. It included a theme-imprinted ruler calculator and a paper cube with the formula to calculate savings for the customer. Information was included on an incentive sales sweepstakes, e.g., a flashlight reading "OCP will light the way," and binoculars with "Focus on OCP...You can see the Difference."
Long Distance Companies
There is a constant battle for business among long distance carriers. When one company makes an offer, another is jumping through hoops to top it. The actual offer is important, but the attractiveness of the offer will determine the ultimate success of the campaign.
There are creative, effective ways to make a long distance advertising campaign attractive through the use of promotional products. A phone shaped stress reliever can "stress" the deal that a long distance carrier is offering or a custom-imprinted address book can encourage people to make long distance calls at a great rate with the phone company's plan.
"Putting a tangible object with an offer that you hear about on the radio or T.V. reinforces a long distance company's offer or really grabs the attention of possible customers," says Silver. "If someone hears or sees an offer and then receives something to back it up, it increases the chances that that person will respond to the offer."
In a study by Dallas Marketing Group and Promotional Products Association, a national tile distributor compared response rates for customers who were sent a mailing versus customers who were sent a mailing with a promotional product. The response rate of the offer with the promotional product was 83% higher than the one without.
In an industry with so many companies competing for the attention of consumers, using a promotional product with a phone or communications theme can help you achieve that higher response rate.
Cable and Internet Providers
Recently, cable and Internet providers have inundated consumers via direct mail packages and radio/television commercials. Providers offer so many different services catering to specific needs of consumers, and it's often difficult to compare the complicated offers of different companies.
Promotional products offer a way to break down the offer to consumers. Cable providers could reward consumers with a custom-imprinted popcorn sampler or microwave popcorn to thank them for choosing them for home entertainment. When people sign up with an Internet provider, the company could choose to thank them with a wide variety of computer gadgets like a retractable Ethernet cord or a computer tool set.
An offer with a promotional product bonus might be the one thing that sets your business apart from the competition. Promotional products can help Internet and cable providers make their offer appealing. Simply recognizing a name or logo can be the ticket to successfully marketing an offer.
Who Makes the Call?
It's the consumers who will ultimately determine how successful your campaign is. You can tell them about your dependable customer service or about your bargain rates, but putting yourself above the competition can be as easy as putting your company's name on a product that reminds and reiterates your mission.
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