Although many would call me a marketing expert or copywriter, that doesn’t quite capture my unique abilities…
At least, not in the isolated, marketing-as-a-silo-department-within-a-business sense.
More broadly, I’m a strategic business thinker.
And I recognize that many of the biggest breakthroughs in marketing come not because of some creative messaging or campaign… But based on business decisions that are made well before a marketing campaign is even conceptualized.
Case study: the current battle in our local high-speed internet market.
Today, Windstream was sending reps door-to-door in my neighborhood, leaving door-hangars with a high-speed internet offer.
Why would they do that?
Simple. Because the residents of my neighborhood have been fleeing Windstream’s internet service, en masse. We’re also leaving Time Warner — or Spectrum, as I guess they’re now known.
Because there’s a new show in town.
A bit ago, a very successful local tech company bought a rural Nebraska fiber internet provider named Allo (not related to the Google service).
And this tech company won the contract to use our city’s buried conduit to run fiber internet throughout town.
And, my neighborhood was one of the first to get service.
Now, I’ll tell you this. I probably would have jumped to fiber, no matter who was the first to offer it direct to my house. I’ve had broadband internet service since 2000. While I don’t need the fastest internet connection (I opted for 100 mbps over the 1 gig service), I use enough data that I consider broadband a smart investment.
However, Allo made it really easy.
And again, we’re talking business decisions, NOT marketing moves.
I’ll tell you what Allo did in a moment. But first, it helps to have some context.
I was previously on Time Warner’s cable internet. I don’t remember the exact rate I was on. In fact, it was always changing. I’d sign up for a promotional rate. Then, in 12 months, that rate would expire, and my bill would shoot up in price. If I was willing to play their games (and motivated enough to go through phone hell), I could call up, ask for a better rate, and occasionally they’d bump my bill back down for another 12 months.
It got real old, real fast.
So most months, I think I was paying something like $45 for the normal internet service. But then there was modem rental. And the speed boost upgrade, to get up to 15 mbps (we’ll get to that in a minute!). Plus all the taxes and fees. And my bill consistently came to $70+ per month.
Regarding the speed thing. With Time Warner’s cable internet, you were basically paying based on the max speed you could expect to get. (That’s how Windstream works, too.) So I was paying to get download speeds of up to 15 mbps. When I did speed tests, my actual speed was usually between 11 mbps and 14 mbps. Upload speed? That was capped at 1.5 mbps, which meant uploading videos took horrendously long!
From what I know about Windstream, they basically matched Time Warner in speed, pricing games, and service.
Then comes Allo.
Allo offers a FLAT bill rate. And speed minimums.
In other words, I could chose 100 mbps, and get that as my minimum speed. And I could sign up for $65 per month, and that’s my rate — that’s exactly what they ding my credit card for every month.
No games, no gimmicks, and a minimum service pledge? Plus, it’s for fiber, which I would have wanted anyway? HELLO!
I was pre-registered as fast as I could, and I got the fastest-possible install date that I could.
And aside from two times where there’s been a network-wide outage (and it’s been resolved pretty quickly), the service has been very consistent.
As I was writing this article, I did a speed check, and I got both download and upload speeds a hair north of 105 mbps.
Which brings me back to the door hangar I got from Windstream today.
Windstream is panicking.
If you know what’s going on, you can read between the lines in their marketing. They can’t keep up with Allo. When Allo rolls out in a neighborhood, everyone who cares about good internet service switches right away.
Windstream’s message? “A Plan That’s Simple, With No Surprises.”
They say they’re committed to the community of Lincoln. That they’ve created a high-speed internet plan without additional fees, equipment costs, or up-front costs. (Until you read the fine print and it basically says that yes, you’re going to have a bunch of additional fees.)
They’re backpedaling. They offered inferior service for years. Their customers put up with them, because the only other option was Time Warner. I was a Time Warner customer, putting up with them, because the only other option was Windstream.
If your business strategy is “lesser of two evils,” you’re destined for failure!
It only took the new kid on the block showing up and offering a customer-friendly service offering (business decision, not marketing) to have the two entrenched players suddenly feeling a bit disrupted.
And at this point, there’s not much they can do.
Allo will continue to roll out a superior service. Windstream and Time Warner will continue to see customer attrition of all their best customers.
And the better customer experience — a pre-marketing business decision — will continue to win the day.
What Windstream dropped off at my house today is an example of trying to solve a business problem with marketing…
I’ll bet the marketing and sales departments at Windstream and Time Warner are getting pretty beat up by corporate right now.
They’re being blamed because they can’t out-sell Allo. And Allo’s domination is only held back by their speed of installation across the entire city.
When I went to the Time Warner office to turn in my modem, the rep there didn’t even try. “Oh, you’re switching to Allo? Not gonna try to talk you out of that one.”
But now marketing and those poor door-to-door sales people are being tasked with trying to convince me to switch away. Yeah, right.
I don’t know what the offer would be to get me to switch over to a mismanaged internet service provider who abused their customers for too long. But I don’t think their accountants would let them make it.
What’s the application to your business?
Well, you probably read my daily essays because you’re deeply involved in the creation of marketing and selling messages for your business.
But before you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) consider what else might set you up for the sale.
What business decisions can be made at a level more fundamental than marketing that will predispose any marketing or selling you do to massive success?
Usually, this comes from taking the customer’s perspective, and answering a question along the lines of, “What would be a dream-come-true experience in terms of solving this problem, that would make my choice not only the best choice, but the only choice the customer wants to make?”
Figure out how to answer that in the right way, and everything else flows perfectly…
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
PS: Got this bit of feedback from a BTMSinsiders member. It references a concept borrowed from Perry Marshall, taught as part of the Most Valuable Customer strategy. It’s an example of how I’m completely changing members’ paradigm and thinking through the lessons I share. Creating brand new connections in your marketing brain, to help you create bigger breakthroughs.
Roy Furr, I got a quick but solid story for you. 2 mins.
I had a couple gears in my head that clicked just now.
I was doing some handwriting of one of Neil Strauss’s most expensive programs. And part of his offer was an extreme scarcity compared to the amount of people who had asked for access regarding this offer.
And when I thought about it from a principle/strategy level… two things hit me that I learned from you.
First, the espresso machine principle. The occasional customer who loves you and your stuff will spend 16x the amount a normal customer will. Secondly, it’s 40% market (list in this case), 40% offer (the espresso machine offer for super enthusiasts) and 20% copy, (which hits hard on the scarcity)
This super charged recipe shows how juicy principles can be when applied to your overall strategies.
Keep it coming. Loving it.
Have a good night.
Copy someone’s tactics, and you can learn to write better headlines, build a copycat funnel, etc., etc. Have a paradigm shift at this level that you can turn around and apply for the rest of your life? You’ve just increased your future possibilities by tenfold, in every market, in every media.