By: Eric M. Winkfield

September 5, 2015

Has anyone noticed the excessive amount of wireless provider commercials that appear on television recently? In the last hour I counted seven. Funny thing is they all have the same message – We are the best over the rest.

How can one company break through the noise of advertising when they all contribute to it with similar messaging? “The Big Four” (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon) all attempt to attract customers to their service by discrediting the competition. However, is there truly one better than the rest? All of them have their major pros and cons.


The battle for consumers’ dollars gets stranger by the day. For example, the spokesperson from Verizon has now works for Sprint. Then Verizon’s retaliation is contracting actor Jamie Fox to be featured in a commercial that has a subliminal message of both sprint and T-Mobile copying the brand.


From an IMC perspective you can question whether these ads are moving the needle when it comes to attracting newer customers? But there are some other perks and better selling points that some of these companies have that they should be focused on. Services offering that do a much better job of allowing the customer the freedom to decide who is the better provider.


For example, If T-Mobile will promote their customer rewards program (T-Mobile Tuesdays) They might when over customers simply off of their efforts to show appreciation to their current customers. They have a sweet thing going. T-Mobile is certainly not the best service when it comes to solid coverage nation wide. However, the company does do it’s best to show appreciation for its customers that decide to do business with them anyway. T-Mobile is known for doing things a little differently to other carriers, and its rewards program is much the same. T-Mobile CEO John Legere recently announced that the company will give all customers a weekly gift, one share of stock, and free in-flight Wi-Fi. The weekly rewards program is called T-Mobile Tuesdays, and it gives every subscriber a free gift every Tuesday. Examples are things like a free (carryout) pizza from Dominos, food from Wendy’s, movie tickets, or free rides with Lyft.

It has been a good observation of mine that companies that succeed the most are those that do not focus too much of their attention on outdoing the competition. Instead they focus their resources and strategies on discovering new ways to out do themselves and develop their brand to be the best it can be. Yes, keeping a pulse of what’s going on is important but should not be the main concern of a strategy meeting.

Comments (2)

  1. Reply

    Hello Eric,
    Very good post regarding how T-Mobile is working to set itself apart from other wireless service providers. Companies can sometimes lose sight of how they reached their level of success – it is through the support of current customers. This point is actually the reason why I left Sprint back in 2005 after five years of service. At that time, Sprint would do whatever it took to acquire a new customer. All of the latest flip phones were on sale for new customers, but existing customers did not get the same deal after coming onboard. We had to pay full price for our devices. I likened it to a bad relationship. Sprint took potential customers on a great first date and said sweet words in their ears to win them over, but the company totally forgot their names after they started a long-term relationship.
    Some companies tend to forget the need to implement a customer retention marketing plan to supplement efforts to acquire new customers. According to this infographic in Invesp (, in which efforts to acquire new customers were compared to retention costs, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70% compared to a 5-20% chance of selling to a new prospect. Furthermore, existing customers are 50% more likely to try a new product.


  2. Heather


    Hi Eric,
    Like you, I feel like the four major cell phone companies’ whole advertising plan is to constantly attack their competition. What they should be touting is what makes them better. What do they do or offer that separates them from the competition. How about talking about what you do, not about what your competition does, or doesn’t do. Enough with the attack ads!

    I’m wondering if these cell phone companies should be looking at what similar service companies are doing with their advertising. How about looking at cable/satellite companies? They have similar markets and have a few big players to contend with. Take for example, Dish Network. They have started offering a skinny package. With today’s cord-cutting consumer looking for something different, Dish Network offers that difference. It’s cheaper and only offers channels that consumers want. This is not something that major rival, DirecTV, does at this time. I believe the cell phone companies should take note!

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