T-Mobile Shrinks Your Bills

An Independent’s Day
According to its website, www.BillShrink.com is “an independent service providing unbiased and personalized recommendations to save you money.”

From what I can tell, BillShrink is like Consumer Reports, but focuses exclusively on cell phone plans, credit cards, and gas prices.

Recently, T-Mobile started running prime-time television ads that encourage viewers to visit BillShrink.com for a “mobile makeover” (see the ad above). The underlying message of the ad is simple: T-Mobile provides the best value for your cell phone dollars, and an independent website proves it.

It’s Not Us, It’s Them
This type of advertising is not new. The auto industry is filled with ads touting cars as winning awards from Motor Trend and JD Power & Associates. Restaurants tout their Zagat ratings, and movies advertise critics’ reviews.

The reason we see this type of “don’t just take our word for it” advertising is because it has proven to be effective. And the reason that it’s effective is because it strips a brand of its traditional “marketing spin” and lets independent reviewers give their honest, unbiased opinions.

Studies show that consumers are becoming increasingly more hesitant to believe a brand’s marketing message. This form of advertising simply validates a brand’s message by involving an independent third party.

I Applaud the Effort
T-Mobile has stiff competition in the cell phone service market. It doesn’t have the biggest network (Verizon does). It doesn’t have the iPhone (AT&T does). So, T-Mobile has chosen to compete on value, and they have an independent source that rates its service as the best value. I’ve run many cell phone plan scenarios through BillShrink.com, and the site ranks T-Mobile as the best plan every time.

The Jury is Still Out
We’ll have to wait a while to see if this new campaign is effective. In my opinion, it’s a great strategy that has proved to be effective in many other industries. And if it doesn’t work, T-Mobile still has Catherine Zeta-Jones as its spokesperson.

If their value isn’t a sight for sore eyes, at least their spokesperson is.

Add This To Your To-Do List
How do your products and services stack up against your competitors’ in independent reviews? If they’re the best, you’re probably already advertising that fact. If you’re not, you should be.

But what if independent panels or critics don’t review your products and services? Well, you could sponsor an independent study, but that gets tricky and you have to do it right. Instead, you could simply highlight what previous customers have said about your products and services. Real product testimonials are extremely powerful and a great first step into the “don’t just take our word for it” advertising game.

There’s never a lack of ideas.

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