Stand Apart from Your Competition by Connecting with Customers’ Interests

While competition isn’t new, in communications and media especially there are multiple viable competitors fighting for the same customers

Recently, while attending a Beck concert at the Dos Equis Pavilion in Dallas, I noticed there was a kiosk to rent lawn chairs and, as a perk, T-Mobile subscribers were exempt from the fee. It felt to me like a great way to connect with customers and meet them at their interests.

With only so many consumers in a market, acquiring new customers and retaining current ones becomes even more critical. It’s no longer enough to compete on price and offerings.

So, how can today’s communications and media companies stand out from the crowd?

One of the most effective and creative ways is to establish meaningful connections with customers and meet them where they are.

Companies can do that by connecting with their customers’ interests and lifestyles (also known as lifestyle content marketing).

Here are some companies doing that today:

T-Mobile Casts a Wide Net to Reach Customers

The cell phone industry is, in a way, much like the car insurance industry: nearly everyone who needs the service already has a provider. According to a Pew Research Center report, 96 percent of Americans own some type of cell phone, and it might be difficult for companies to dial in on only one interest among their customers.

What T-Mobile decided to do was cast a wide net to connect with the largest percentage of people who own smartphones. According to the Pew report, this includes:

· 96 percent of people ages 18–29 and 92 percent of those 30–49

· 91 percent of college graduates and 85 percent of those with some college background

· 90 percent of people who earn $50,000-$74,999 and 95 percent of those $75,000-plus

To reach these people, T-Mobile focused on three areas: home life, entertainment, and travel.

1. CEO John Legere grabbed his phone to connect with T-Mobile customers by hosting a Facebook Live cooking show called #SlowCookerSunday, even producing a cookbook with the same name.

2. T-Mobile partners with Live Nation to provide concert perks — such as discounted and exclusive tickets to popular shows such as Smashing Pumpkins and Billy Idol — as well as free lawn chairs to customers. The $20 rental fee for lawn chairs at Live Nation venues is waived for T-Mobile subscribers.

3. T-Mobile partners with Gogo to provide free in-flight texting and one hour of free service to all customers, as well as free unlimited service to subscribers on the T-Mobile ONE Plus or ONE Plus International packages. This can be used on flights with Alaska Airlines, Delta Airlines and American Airlines.

These ways to connect with customers based on their interests have been successful so far. Now that the U.S. Justice Department approved T-Mobile’s $26 billion merger with Sprint, they may be even more successful going forward.

Customers Get Perks at Sporting Events

Companies across the United States recognize how popular sports are with their customers and how powerful marketing at sporting events can be. Instead of simply advertising at a professional sporting event, some local branches of major brands are taking the next step to offer perks to customers and attendees.

Many companies offer giveaways when a local team accomplishes a certain feat in a game. For example, when the Philadelphia Flyers score at least four goals in a home game, each attendee can get a free Chick-fil-A breakfast sandwich the next morning by presenting the ticket stub at a participating restaurant.

Sewell Lexus of Dallas has taken perks one step further. They partnered with the Texas Rangers for the 2019 season, offering complimentary valet parking for all home games. Lexus owners need a Texas Rangers valet window sticker — available at two Sewell Lexus locations — to receive the benefit.

Companies Use Social Media to Become Lifestyle Brands

Red Bull is a great example from the beverage industry. The brand has long identified with extreme sports and adventure seekers. To attract more people to their brand, Red Bull has sponsored a Major League Soccer team (the New York Red Bulls), the annual Red Bull Flugtag event, and the record-setting skydiving attempt from space by Felix Baumgartner.

By aligning with the interests and culture of their customers, Red Bull used the power of social media to attract even more people to their products.

These are some of the ways in which creative and innovative brands are connecting with their current and future customers. It’s no longer about competing on price and service. Communications and media companies must separate themselves from the competition by understanding what makes their customers tick and provide value-added benefits along those lines.

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