The Telecom Industry Offers Unlimited Revenue Potential

  • The telecom industry comprises three types of connections (copper wire, wireless and cable) and provides three types of services (voice calling, data networking and video).
  • Telecom manufacturers make regular and cordless phones, wireless handsets, modems, set- top boxes, computing devices and the massive amounts of equipment that connect them.
  • Mergers, acquisitions and internal structurings have changed the telecommunications industry landscape, enabling huge companies to begin offering bundles of services on one bill and small companies to target niche markets the behemoths don’t yet want.
  • Radio NTR efforts are vital to helping telecom companies reach and retain enough customers to keep this $700 billion industry growing at double-digit rates.
  • About the Author:
    This article was contributed by Senior Vice President Becky McElaney and Research Director Debbie Falb, both of Morrison & Abraham. McElaney and Falb are the co-authors of RAB’s Industry White Paper, "Energy Utilities Turn on Their Marketing Power," which was featured in the December Sales & Marketing Kit. For more information, please call (617) 698-1070.

    The Telecom Industry Offers Unlimited Revenue Potential

    How many telecommunications services do you use in a day? We bet it’s more than you think.

    Chances are you just pulled this article off the fax machine at work (1. traditional data networking). When you’ve 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 you’ll be late for dinner. Oops! You call back and remind them to call Grandma in Miami because it’s her birthday (6. traditional long-distance calling), not to touch the VCR because you’re taping a show (7. cable television), and to turn the alarm on so no one can break in while they’re doing their homework – hint, hint (8. home security).

    Hey, we’re on a roll — let’s 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, how’s 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!" You’re still not interested. RRRRRINGGGG. "How about two bills? Now how much would you pay?" You hang up, convinced you don’t 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 that’s 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 don’thang up. Cable television? Home security? Home heating!?! OK, I said it was a fantasy. But perhaps not for long.

    Bundles of Joy
    You may have seen ads for AT&T’s Personal Network – one bill and one rate for long distance, wireless, domestic credit card, personal 800 and some international calls, with the option to include Internet access for an extra fee. The FCC has approved the merger of AT&T and TCI. By year-end, the merged company plans to be in ten markets offering one-stop shopping for cable TV, local calling and broadband Internet access.

    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 Motorola’s 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. It’s also competing with MediaOne, Philips and EchoStar, as well as Microsoft’s 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
    Radio stations in our network have capitalized on the opportunities created by all this tele-chaos by using NTR selling skills to close deal after successful deal. Tracking the category’s ever-evolving trends, finding the right people to reach and doing a thorough needs analysis for each potential client have enabled AEs to craft custom programs and achieve results that left those clients wanting more. From sampling opportunities assisting AT&T Wireless in signing up new customers to on-air promotions helping Lucent Technologies find new hires by pushing local career fairs, Radio NTR departments can build what it takes to make the telecom industry come.

    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:

    • Regional or DistrictSales Manager
    • Regional or Territory Acct. Manager
    • General Manager/Region Office
    • Regional Marketing Manager
    • VP of Marketing or Corporate Communications

    When you do, these Dialing For Dollars questions should help you learn what you need to customize a program that will meet their needs.

    • What is your marketing sales focus (e.g., business-to-business, residential, long distance, local, Internet access, wireless)?
    • What products are you currently selling (e.g., wireless, long distance, local, cable, paging)?
    • How are you currently promoting your programs?
    • What new programs will you be launching in the next 4-12 months?
    • Who are you targeting?
    • Would you be interested in a spiff program for your clients? A GWP incentive program for consumers? A tie-in with charity, business, community or education?
    • How many months lead time do you need to get funding?
    • What are the most successful programs you have done? Give me a homework assignment, including the time of year, product and budget you’d like me to work with.
    • When can we meet?

    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 company’s 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 can’t communicate effectively alone. Says one industry executive, "We don’t know enough about the consumer. We’ll bet wrong there." Your station can help them get it right.