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Before T-Mobile US came home from Customer Expo 2018 with Platinum awards in both the Customer Centric Culture and 360 Brand of the Year categories, Doug Speedie, the brand’s Senior Partnership Manager, gave a presentation on how T-Mobile has focused on putting the customer first in everything the brand does.
He played a video that began with the words, “We are going to redefine a stupid, broken, arrogant industry.” The brand picked up on what the entire cell-phone wielding public knew: no one felt they were treated well by their carriers. Another voice in the video declared that “the era of the data plan is over.” T-Mobile sought to distinguish itself from other carriers substantively, not just cosmetically. The company even went so far as to brand itself “the un-carrier.”
Launched five years ago, the campaign was bold and disruptive, and as Speedie attested, “the results were outstanding. We changed what we thought was a broken industry for the consumer, introducing unlimited plans, and no-taxes-and-fees, and bundling cool stuff like Netflix, Wi-Fi on the plane. All those things are changes that we brought to the industry and have been copy-catted by most of our competitors.” Over its five years, the campaign saw the brand’s customer base grow from 33 million to 76 million.
One of the brand’s key programs that Speedie worked on is “T-Mobile Tuesdays,” which he explained, “launches every single week anew.” It’s a mobile customer appreciation platform that eschews bells and whistles. Speedie said, “We don’t do points. We don’t do tiers. We don’t have purchases required.” It simply is a weekly thank-you for the brand’s customers.
At the time of the presentation, the brand had just completed its 125th T-Mobile Tuesday. According to Speedie “on a given Tuesday, we get anywhere from 2.5 to 3 million of our customers coming in to engage with us. [That’s] every single week.” The company also makes “40 billion . . . impressions on the program. We essentially own social on Tuesday.” Picking a single day to dominate engagement made a difference.
On one Tuesday each month, the company “drive[s] customers to our retail stores to pick up T-Mobile branded swag. Umbrellas, coffee mugs, trucker hats, you name it. That tends to drive a big spike in social, too, because people like to post pictures of themselves.” Pet bandanas and bow ties have, to the surprise of no one with a social media account, been the most effective items for getting customers to engage on social platforms.
T-Mobile Tuesdays have not only been successful from a marketing perspective, they have also enabled the brand to learn about its customers. It base is “younger, male, a little bit more millennial-focused,” and Speedie noted that “our customers love deals. They love getting freebies.” Sometimes marketing and data-collection can be accomplished simultaneously.
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