CALLING ALL CALLERS
About the Author:
CALLING ALL CALLERS
Chances are you just pulled this article off the fax machine at work (1. traditional data networking). When youve read it, you might email a colleague at a station in another market and encourage her to check it out (2. digital data networking). Then you could pick up your desk phone, make a few calls and land an appointment with the Regional Marketing Manager for XYZ Telecom (3. traditional local voice calling). On the way to the meeting, you use your cell phone (4. wireless voice calling) to leave a message on your home voice mail (5. services provided by your local phone company), letting the kids know youll be late for dinner. Oops! You call back and remind them to call Grandma in Miami because its her birthday (6. traditional long-distance calling), not to touch the VCR because youre taping a show (7. cable television), and to turn the alarm on so no one can break in while theyre doing their homework hint, hint (8. home security).
Hey, were on a roll lets bet again. Each month, at least six different bills will land on your desk demanding payment for these eight services. Thank goodness for self-stick stamps, right? So, hows this for a fantasy . . .
The phone rings. A voice says, "I can bundle those services in four bills." Yeah, right, you say. The phone rings again. "I can bundle them in three!" Youre still not interested. RRRRRINGGGG. "How about two bills? Now how much would you pay?" You hang up, convinced you dont want to trust your connectability to Ginsu Communications, Inc. A fourth ring. Will these people never give up? (Answer: No. But this works for you. See below.) A new voice, oozing the cool confidence of a salesperson thats closed her last 3,000 deals. "I can bundle those services in one bill and add international, wireless data networking and home heating to boot."
You eye the receiver warily, but donthang up. Cable television? Home security? Home heating!?! OK, I said it was a fantasy. But perhaps not for long.
Bundles of Joy
Meanwhile, GTE and the Baby Bells (BellAtlantic, BellSouth, Ameritech, SBC and US West) are racing to roll out high-speed data-networking services to compete with cable-Internet providers RoadRunner and @Home... and merging with each other (BellAtlantic/GTE and SBC/Ameritech now pending) to expand their networks into lucrative new markets. MCIWorldCom just introduced both nationwide Internet access and local service in New York state. And Motorolas wings had better be strong, because it is currently flying with at least five partners (Nokia, Ericsson, Nextel, Netscape and Cisco Systems) in its quest to dominate the Next Big Cash Cow of wireless data networking. Its also competing with MediaOne, Philips and EchoStar, as well as Microsofts WebTV, to build set-top boxes that will turn your TV into the video-conferencing, gaming, e-shopping Goose That Laid the Golden Remote.
Category of Dreams
To begin developing NTR-generating relationships that will grow with this $700 billion category, we suggest you call on these decision-makers at telecom companies:
When you do, these Dialing For Dollars questions should help you learn what you need to customize a program that will meet their needs.
Odds are that the answer to that last question will be "ASAP." As of last year, telecom companies were spending about $6 billion a year on promos, events, tie-ins, sponsorships and advertising. Competition and the bewildering array of products and services now available have made innovative marketing even more vital for a companys success. Telecom firms need to reach out and do some touching of their own in order to sign up the new subscribers who ignite their growth and retain the old ones who fuel it. But communication-obsessed as they are, they cant communicate effectively alone. Says one industry executive, "We dont know enough about the consumer. Well bet wrong there." Your station can help them get it right.