Sprint: Inertia

Most people love their mobile phones, but not their carrier… so, why don’t they switch?

Challenge

Research showed the majority (70%) of wireless customers in the target geography had been with their current carrier four-plus years, and many had over seven years of loyalty. People were not switching wireless carriers in these markets because it was simpler to stay with their current carrier, or because they would forget to take action despite paying more money than they should be. Further, Sprint was consistently outspent by the competition, and Sprint’s network quality was perceived as subpar despite major investments in infrastructure technology.

Challenger Brand Solution

Symbols of Re‑Evaluation

Insight

Most people love their mobile phones but not their phone plan. Our research indicated that the biggest hurdle for consumers who want to change carriers is the perceived hassle. The data also revealed that there were trigger moments (getting their bill, upgrading their phone) or life events (getting married, adding a child to the plan) when the barrier to change was lower. We separately uncovered that, historically, competitive spend dropped in June and July, leaving a window of opportunity for Sprint to achieve a higher share of voice and greater impact.

Strategy

We identified target audiences with the highest propensity to switch to Sprint’s value pricing for its Unlimited plan, and then created materials geared toward the trigger moments that can spur these audiences to overcome inertia and consider switching. Messaging reminded prospects that they were overpaying for wireless and prompted them to think about switching when the monthly bill arrives, before life gets in the way and inertia settles in (until next month’s bill comes and the cycle repeats).

We created a campaign that allowed for flexibility in changing offers to match the audience’s applicable lifestyle/trigger moment (for instance, a discounted Unlimited Family Plan for growing families or a device BOGO for newlyweds), all with constant reminders of how expensive their current bills may be.

Results

Sprint had the best June – August period in its history, exceeding all previous acquisition campaigns. Even though the broadcast media ended in mid-July, the weight of the campaign and consistent messaging (unusual in the category) led to residual sales growth through August. Digital advertising performance (clicks) was the highest in company history. Executions that called out the competitor were geo-fenced by zip code clusters, and ones that carrier-targeted customers’ current providers scored best.

In-market mystery shopping research conducted by the GKV team found high levels of awareness of the promotion, and findings were used to optimize key messaging that was resonating with the market and driving store traffic. Inertia messaging proved to be so successful that a holiday version of the creative debuted several months later to resonate with the audience and impact inertia.

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