Marketing Eastlink’s New Mobile Offering
February 21, 2013 | Chris Powell | Comments
Fending off Bell Aliant with a new campaign for a new service
The Maritimes is the newest battleground in Canada’s ongoing wireless war, with Halifax-based Eastlink the latest company to join the fray.
The telecommunications company acquired wireless spectrum in 2008 and has spent around $200 million since then to build out its mobile division. The privately held company (a unit of Bragg Communications) currently has an estimated 550,000 cable TV, internet and home telephone customers in nine provinces.
While the bulk of Eastlink’s business is located in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, the company also has a presence in tertiary markets in several provinces, including Newfoundland, Ontario, Alberta and B.C.
Dan MacDonald, vice-president of marketing for Eastlink, said becoming a “quad-play” company (TV, internet, home phone and wireless) puts it squarely in the crosshairs of archrival Bell Aliant. At the same time, numerous other telcos including Rogers and Telus are looking to enhance their offering in the Atlantic Provinces.
Eastlink partnered with Halifax agency Revolve in April 2012 to revamp its visual identity in preparation for the wireless launch. It has also expanded its retail footprint in the Maritimes from three stores to 12. The company’s retail presence will grow along with the network, said MacDonald.
Maritime agencies Chester + Company and the Idea Factory developed the creative platform as well as out-of-home advertising, TV commercials and collateral materials for Eastlink’s wireless play. Media Mechanics is handling web site design, online branding and social media.
The marketing plan will initially focus on the Halifax market, with a combination of targeted online and local sponsorship, print and out-of-home ads. The company also plans to make heavy use of U.S. ad avails to promote the service, said MacDonald.
“It’s very practical marketing that is hitting people where they are,” he said. While the campaign is aimed at the market at large, Eastlink’s recruitment efforts will be squarely aimed at its existing customer base, promising tiered discounts for existing customers.
Eastlink is positioning its wireless service as a product superior to that of competitors from both a technological (its network is entirely 4G LTE) and customer service standpoint, said MacDonald.
The launch positioning is straightforward: “Eastlink Wireless is here.”
“For us it’s really been about the customer need and what are the things the customer is looking for and what are the things they aren’t happy with today,” said MacDonald of the launch. “We recognize that customers want a high-quality network, great data speed, fair pricing and no contracts.”
The company is also offering the Eastlink EasyTab, which offers low upfront device pricing with no fixed contracts and the chance to earn credit toward their next device. “Customers told us over and over again that they really dislike the lock-in,” said MacDonald. “They dislike the ‘gotchas’. That was a loud and clear message from the marketplace.”
Eastlink is putting a significant investment behind the launch campaign, said MacDonald. “We spent over $200 million getting us to the point we are now, so it’s reasonable to assume we might be spending some money to let people know about it.”
MacDonald declined to discuss business objectives for the new wireless division, but a September report by The Convergence Consulting Group called Canadian Wireless: Assessing the Impact of New Entrants projected that new entrants would have 8.3% of Canadian wireless subs by the end of 2013 and 10.3% by the end of 2014.
The report said that the outcome of the 700 MHz auction set for the first half of the year, a potential entry by Shaw into the wireless space, and the possible merger or sale of new entrants would be “pivotal” variables.