Telecom Advertising Campaign Fail

A quick look at the latest television commercial from Telecom advertising their XT Network.

This is an interesting marketing exercise. For those that don’t know, Telecom the once Government owned monopoly in phone services here in NZ launched a new network system recently. Since the phone networks have been opened up to competition (to some extent) Telecom has struggled to get ahead of the technology curve and the XT network was supposed to be the answer.

After spending a lot of money promoting the launch and signing up many customers with the launch specials the new network crashed. Not once, not twice, but numerous times (I lost count). Much of the country suddenly and without notice found they had no cellphone coverage for days at a time in some cases.

This leaves a lot of very unhappy customers and one Paul Reynolds CEO with egg on his face – especially when you consider the advertising that heralded his appointment to the company.

Originally I had an image here of the CEO Paul Reynolds on his appointment boasting a promise Telecom could not keep. Telecom have since decided that it is too embarrassing to have their archives online and no doubt hope that by removing them we will forget they used misleading (at best, I would assert false) advertising.

In an effort to regain the trust of a country Telecom runs another marketing campaign to announce the XT network is in fact now working. They chose none other than the CEO to front the marketing campaign.

The new ad shows Paul Reynolds, the charming Scotsman, trout fishing in a remote location. He praises New Zealanders for their “pick yourself up by the bootstrap” attitude, and suggest we should give Telecom another go. His phone then rings and he tries to answer it when “Buggar …” it appears to have dropped out again .. “only kiddin [cheeky grin].”

What they did right.

The used the CEO to front the campaign. He is after all a well known figure now.

What they got wrong.

It is all very well to admire our resilient attitude as Kiwis, but just because you kicked us in the guts with your swanky sales pitch and faulty system (not once, not twice, but several times) don’t expect us to give you another chance. Even if your handsome CEO smiles into the camera dressed in the latest in trout fishing attire.

As for the funny joke about the phone not working… now that was a serious flaw. They say good advertising should be controversial, but the person who scripted that ad should be looking for a new job.

There are many Kiwis who suffered direct hardship (custom lost, emergency calls unable to be connected) because Telecom’s state of the art network let them down. Now the CEO is on TV making a joke of the situation??!!

Ok.. one can see their intent. To appear personable and admit they screwed up “ha ha jokes on us.” But now they want to be taken serious again.

The perspective of one jaded Kiwi is that here is one overpaid Scotsman (making more just in bonuses than most people make in a lifetime) telling us he admires how he can kick us in the guts repeatedly and we keep getting up. Then he makes light of a situation caused a lot of stress and frustration in many people’s lives (and may even have cost the life of some) trying to be cute. The apology ends up being an insult.

Not the best marketing decision I have seen.

What do you think? Does it work for you?

Why Have A Website?

Is A Website Essential To My Business?

We live in a country where the people love new technology.  New Zealand was world leaders when it came to EFT POS – Electronic Funds Transfer @ Point Of Sale. Many other new gadgets and gizmos are readily taken up by the Kiwi population.

Broadband is something the majority of New Zealanders are screaming out for. We want it available and we want it faster. It is such a big deal that even the Government has felt compelled to step in and try to sort it out.

What does this tell you?

It tells me that as a population most of us are actively online. Ok, no surprises there. But the staggering thing to me is the lack of recognition of this fact that local businesses seem to have.

I look at the number of businesses listed in the local Yellow Pages and then I do a search for these services online, and in some cases I am drawing a total blank. Even the businesses I do find often only have a listing in an online directory, they do not have a website of their own.

Who is to blame for this seemingly head-in-the-sand approach that NZ businesses are taking?  The Universities that produce all these managers? Business owners that hire staff to take care of computer stuff and have no idea how use one?

All I can say is that if you have a business and it isn’t online you are missing out on a lot of customers.  And if your competition beats you to having an online presence you will be left playing catch-up. It is always harder to outrank someone that already has a web presence for your target keywords.

If you need a little help getting online try

An Exercise In Marketing

Do Telemarketers Make Any Money?

I only ask this because the company that called late last night made the unfortunate mistake of calling again – this time at a more respectable hour.

The lady was from India, although now living in Australia apparently, and had a very strong accent.  The phone line was terrible.  She was losing her voice from shouting into the poor phone-line and trying to be heard over the background noise of a room full of other people doing the same.

Any way I could barely understand a word she said.  And she couldn’t understand a word I said – the word I said was NO. Well I am generally up to play the game, so I would say “no” and she would keep talking.  I did work out that she was much happier and stopped repeating the same spiel when I said “yes.”  So after a number of “no”s I began to say “yes” to see where this would take us.

Well as luck would have it, she did eventually come to the end of her pitch and seemed quite satisfied.  Then I had to write down the company name and details (again I tried saying “no thanks really” but this was not understood, so I carried on with the “yes” every time she paused, as it made her much happier.

After supposedly writing the company details down, I was then passed off to a superior.  This lady, also with an Indian accent, but much more understandable, was on a better line with less background noise.

We continued the game much the same as before.  She ignored my “no” and was much happier when I said “yes.”  After almost half an hour on the phone the second lady finally conceded to let me go.

Lessons Learned

I did learn some lessons in this exercise.  I learned that telemarketing ladies like it more when you say “yes.”

I learned the name of the first lady.  And every time she said her name I would say “hello (her name).”  This didn’t fit into the script and she had to keep starting again.  After several interruptions I figured I wasn’t allowed to say hello and let it drop.

I discovered that the second lady was also from India but was a student in Australia and this was a part time job.  I found that out by suggesting that they didn’t sound very Australian even though the company was located in Australia.

I asked if she was well paid in this job.  She didn’t understand the question even after I repeated it several times.  But she had been in the job 2 years so I deduced she probably was paid reasonably well.

She was quite well trained in her job, and used all the good sales techniques like subliminally dropping the line “this product which you are about to buy” into the conversation repeatedly.   And she had all the answers to standard objections down pat.  She even made a reasonable effort at finding my main objection so she could provide the solution.

I did learn however, that she was not at all prepared for questions that were entirely unrelated to the topic at hand.  Such questions as how well paid she was.  Where did she think would be a good holiday destination.

I think maybe she was smiling a little by the end of the conversation – her voice cracked ever so slightly.  But she refused to break from the script.

The first lady did mention that I wouldn’t need to sign any contract in her list of benefits.  I tried to question the second lady about this – as it seemed to me that this could also be a significant disadvantage as well.  But that question wasn’t on the script apparently.

Things They Could Do To Improve Their Marketing Strategy.

I realize telemarketing is a numbers game, but their conversion rate must be fairly low.  Many people would have hung up on the first lady because she really was not understandable.

They do not stop to ask me if I have any need for a holiday package (they were selling discount hotel passes).  They were not at all interested in my needs.

Instead of launching into a sales pitch as soon as I say hello, I am guessing they could double their conversions by striking up a conversation first. Ask people how often they travel, when was the time they traveled.  Do they wish hotels were cheaper, or would they stay in a better quality hotel if they could afford it.

Until they know what needs I have they are pitching blind.  And if they have not established a rapport they have no trust.  No reason for me to pull out my credit card.

Well that is my take on telemarketing.

Please And Thank-You

When Did Politeness Become Redundant?

I must have missed the memo that said we no longer need to use our please and thank you vocabulary in today’s society.

My recent altercation with a property developer would never have eventuated if he had originally asked me to please sign this contract instead of sign this contract or else ….

I had an emergency phone call from a neighbour needing some help to get his hay in because it was raining.  I took my truck down and gave him a hand at a moments notice.   Perhaps a follow up phone call to say thank you is too much too ask?

I guess things are done differently today. People are too busy to be bothering with all that polite stuff.  Maybe I am expecting too much.

Or maybe … just maybe … if you make it a habit in your business to treat people with respect, to ask politely, and to follow up with a thank-you you will stand out from the crowd.

I think that is so unexpected these days that any business who really makes an effort to use good manners will be well rewarded with loyal clientele.   Make it a part of your marketing campaign and brand yourself as a 21st century business with 19th century morality, where we treat you with the respect and dignity you deserve.   Or something to that effect.

Free marketing tip for the day.