Adding 2.1 million subscribers in Q2 of this year, mobile provider T-Mobile now counts nearly 60 million customers among its ranks. Since 2013, the company has added nearly 15 million new customers, and is within a stone’s throw of surpassing Sprint to become the third-largest provider in the United States (currently, just 300,000 subscribers separate the two). With continuos growth over the last nine consecutive quarters, it should be only a matter of time until the company reaches its goal.
One of the reasons that T-Mobile is becoming such a presence in the mobile carrier marketplace is that the company is going out of its way to make itself known. The company’s television commercials are loud and brash, the current marketing initiatives use bright, visible neon pinks and contrasting grays (the branding looks like nothing else), and T-Mobile CEO John Legere has made it his personal mission to own the social sphere. With more than half a million followers on Twitter, and a distinctive and at times downright sarcastic online personality, he’s well on his way.
The thing that distinguishes T-Mobile’s social media approach from that of its competitors (and many corporate entities in general) is that the company leverages social platforms to improve customer service – and not necessarily to produce revenue or push a product. With all of the nation’s mobile carriers in a fight to offer the most data and minutes for the lowest possible fee, there is only so much that can be accomplished through traditional marketing initiatives. Yes, Twitter and Facebook can be used to promote products and services, but at what cost? Are businesses likely to lose as many followers as they gain when they turn these platforms into bull horns? One thing is for certain: with its “Straight-talk Express” approach to social, T-Mobile has no problem gaining followers at the moment.
Of course, having a following on Twitter and having a following in real life are not always synonymous. But as T-Mobile has shown, it is taking real steps to gain customers. Not only by winning them over through customer service, but also through attractive products and pricing (after all, it’s not like this area can simply be ignored). The latest announcement from the company turned out to be rather a big one: the carrier’s “Unlimited Everything” plan is now available in Canada and Mexico. Customers will be able to call and text friends, relatives, and business associates in these countries without incurring any extra fees. Perhaps even more impressively, the company will allow people traveling to these countries to do the same – also fee-free.
Though they may appear to be the result of a “kitchen sink” approach to marketing, these strategies are not haphazard or random. T-Mobile aims to be the populist choice when it comes to smartphones. With its various “uncarrier” plans, rollover offers, free music streaming service, engaging and playful social media presence, and lively marketing initiatives, T-Mobile is looking to distinguish itself in a sea of faceless corporate entities. It wants to be the customer-friendly, customer-focused, man-of-the-people mobile carrier. With nearly 20 million new customers in the last two years alone, it would appear that these strategies are working.
Whether this prodigious growth can continue unabated is anyone’s guess. However, all signs point to T-Mobile continuing to grow its customer base while also earning customer loyalty. In fact, the company’s own internal forecasts for 2015 were recently raised; they now expect to sign on as many as 3.5 million new customers this year alone. Such a number would easily slot them into third, behind Verizon Wireless and AT&T.
With a social media presence that is genuine, of the times, and focused on the consumer’s needs (rather than the company’s), T-Mobile is making a name for itself. As sarcastic and brash as the company (and its CEO) may be to some, it’s paying off – again!Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community