Telecom – vying for consumer attention
In the torrent of cellular advertisement campaigns, the most challenging task for cellular operators these days is to make their marketing strategy noticeable.
Vying for people’s attention, mobile companies are seen making strides using out-of-the-box ideas, each differentiating with the other, and often at the expense of the competitor. Yet, the common trend is humour – perhaps because humour is the key to gain viewers’ attention in the middle of the often sigh-inducing news bulletins and political talk shows.
As youth makes the bulk of the country’s population, it has become the prime focus of mobile companies, to expand the market base. This can be gauged from the fact that Mobilink recently launched its new services under a separate brand name called Jazz Jazba.
Not only is the ad campaign different from Mobilink’s traditional marketing strategy, but it also has a separate, catchy and colourful website. Moreover, Ufone also owns a huge portfolio of packages and services catering to the younger lot.
So why would, Zong, Pakistan’s smallest cellular company in terms of subscribers, want to be left behind in the race. Zong’s M9 advertising teaser, on air these days, has been causing something of a stir in the market. Yes exactly, the boy, the girl and the boating accident.
Although, the details are not public yet, what’s catchy about M9 advertisement is that it does not just cater to the youth, but also says it will allow customers to design or plan their own packages – a kind of telecom service which will be on offer for the first time in Pakistan.
M9’s website also offers Book Your Number (BYN) scheme – to facilitate users to book numbers of their choice. And, it also offers users to generate lucky phone numbers with the opinion of their experts.
In an era where mobile companies are finding it difficult to protect their margins, this kind of service might fuel another wave of price competition between mobile companies – though it’s thought to imagine how that would be possible, with the industry’s average tariff rate at Re1 per minute.
Zong’s market share may be small at around 8 percent but it outperformed its counterparts by registering 11 percent year-on-year increase in its subscription base in 1QFY11, making it the fastest growing operator in the quarter ending September 2010.
Whether, ‘make-your-own-package’ will give Zong the kind of impetus ‘make-your-own-loan-programme’ gave to United Bank in the early days of consumer boom, will be interesting to see.
(published in daily English “Business Recorder” on January 5, 2011)