Jose Palomino

“There’s a Map for that…” (part 2)

November 20, 2009

Ok. Here’s the most ridiculous response I’ve seen in a long time.

AT&T’s response to Verizon’s brilliant “Map for That” campaign is this: Make stuff up!

The core problem with AT&T’s response is that anyone who uses AT&T – myself included – knows that it’s just not true.

See the ad below and hear the galling “spin”. AT&T has a shoddy, overburdened and unreliable network. Verizon’s is the class of the field. Consumer Reports’ annual survey of 20 metro centers lists Verizon as number one in ALL markets surveyed. It’s not even close.

So – why am I on AT&T? Am I an idiot? Maybe… – but there are two reasons I tell myself when I drop another call:

  • 1. Contract and the cost of breaking the contract (those fees are painful).
  • 2. My iPhone.

Note to Steve Jobs: for a super-detailed CEO of the Decade – this makes your Value Prop less than perfect. However, the “everything else” about the iPhone outweighs the “uggh” of your network (for now).

The message is this: a superior product in several “I3″ dimensions can overcome key liabilities…. to a point.

Where’s my breaking point? First – when and if (I hope When) Verizon gets the iPhone or its successor – I am beaming up to the good ship Verizon on the same day – and gladly paying the contract termination fee as a “toll” to get on the better phone highway.

What should AT&T do now? Shouldn’t it have the Marketing Right to defend itself?

Well, I think AT&T is doing much the same thing the American auto industry did: worry more about explaining its failures and blaming others (for example, suing Verizon over the ads). Instead, AT&T should focus on the only thing that matters for a cellular network – allow customers to place and keep calls. In other words – DO YOUR JOB!

Spinning some data in the face of the truth just angers your customers.

From a marketing POV – tell the story of continous improvement (if true) – of program innovation (rollover minutes) – of device innovation (Verizon’s historic weak link) – and… “we got the iPhone and they don’t!”

For now, that works for me…

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