Verizon's 180 on Unlimited Data
Let's kick today's post off with this: I have been a customer of AT&T, Verizon, Straight Talk, and Sprint ... and Sprint is my current mobile carrier because, when it came down to it, I needed a plan with unlimited data at a certain price point. Now you know my mobile biz.
Unlimited data: for many, it's a core requirement of their mobile plans. So when Verizon killed the option for existing users in 2012 ... well, customers were none too happy. But the other three major telecoms? They probably felt like they had won the Super Bowl, and have spent the last five years reminding anyone and everyone that they're NOT Verizon.
Speaking of the Super Bowl, T-Mobile used two of its four ads to specifically call out Verizon, with the other two ads focusing on its unlimited data offerings, explained by Justin Bieber in one and Martha Stewart and Snoop Dog in the other. Sprint's single Superbowl commercial also called out Verizon ... and got dark:
Oh, and Sprint nabbed Paul Marcarelli, the "Can you hear me now?" guy after Verizon ended his contract in 2011, and has been using him in commercials as well. Ouch.
And you can't forget that the customer base has been eaten into by the likes of T-Mobile.
Yet still, Verizon put out ads like the one below, rallying against unlimited data, stating that consumers rarely use more than 5GB.
This ad ran from mid-January to early February of this year ... and then on Feb. 12, Verizon announced, "Oh hey ... we have an unlimited plan now."
Now, in my opinion, this is where the marketing whiplash comes in. Verizon went from "You don't need more than 5GB of data, and here's a great price" to "here's some unlimited data on a great network." Okay ... but it's been FIVE YEARS.
Verizon, you've been the butt of jokes made by T-Mobile and Sprint. Many customers have jumped ship. And Sprint now has the actor who provided possibly the catchiest of catchphrases in telecom, who was apart of the Verizon family for over nine years, working for them.
And yet you present your new unlimited plan like someone ordering "the chicken" on an airplane.
It's underwhelming. And a little off-putting. Why not own it? Own the fact that you've finally listened to what consumers want, not what you think they should have.
Or, and I realize this could be risky, make a little fun of yourself. Everyone else has ... I think it would have been hilarious to see the marketing team come up with a series of ads where Verizon is upset over being picked on, breaking up with its spokesperson only to see him run into the arms of another carrier, and then finally coming to the realization that it needs to get with the times and get back on the unlimited bandwagon.
Because an unlimited plan isn't mic drop worthy anymore. It's the norm.