VoIP Offering Differentiators (Don’t be another ‘me-too’ service ) Gregory Giagnocavo, CEO Dash911 - E911 for VoIP
How to Differentiate Your Service Offering (This is a five-hour seminar- 45 minutes) My Goal for You: SUCCESS The “Basics” are easy: (4 P’s of Marketing) -Product -Pricing -Placement -Promotion The “reality” is very difficult. New World? Maybe. Old World, for sure.
Signs of the (VoIP) Times Look back over the last year. Look forward to this year. Recognize any to which you should pay attention? Don’t be afraid – but you better be aware!
How to Differentiate Your Service Offering #1. Ask: What’s My Line? * Not Impossible * Requires - strategy, focus - discipline to stay focused - say what you do, & do what you say “Know thyself” - Apollo “Who are you?” - The Who Apollo at Delphi, Greece – where the Oracle was – might mean something. Really, future is not just a guess.
Ever have a moment like this? • Sixty days after you decide to start a VoIP company…… “Bad times don’t last…. Good people do.” Hang in there, it’s getting better every month.
Excitement Rising…. • Advertisement - AT&T 1996 This year, she will be … a little bit older … a little bit wiser … and a whole lot more connected… That reflects your future* customer base, too.
Is Marketing a Differentiator? • Misunderstood. • Fraught with mistakes, stupidity, danger and wrong turns. It’s “like” a war, but more predictable.
Marketing is a Differentiator • What is your customer proposition? • Business or Residential • Business and Residential • (if both, you need to clearly differentiate the two) • Selling on Price? • Can’t always be the “lowest price” • Losing game, if that is all you have to offer • That’s not all your customers want to buy • Why offer less than what customers want? • Selling on Service? • Price and Service -- Difficult but needed • Service: if you mean it, make it easy
Marketing is a Differentiator Got Marketing? The “how” matters. “Get in the Mix” or you won’t be around next year >Old textbooks, look up online, hire someone. But do it. (Others are.) Source: The Portable MBA in Marketing
Differentiate by Marketing to Influencers (“where” matters) • 1994 Strategy for Internet = VoIP today • Chambers of Commerce • Industry Groups, Coalitions, Boards • Real Estate, Insurance, Business Associations • PTA, Clubs, associations, organizations • How? • In-person, • Develop an info-pak others can use to present with coupons, information, trials (free minutes) • Write articles, radio shows • Offer your expertise – become an expert • Don’t get pre-empted, or co-opted
With friends like these … Who’s Your Friend? King County warning ads “… contact us directly for important information on potential limitations… READ THE FINE PRINT” Who needs enemies? (Solution: Keep ‘em close) A differentiator can be awareness of your offering strengths – sell to the influencers. (King County) Be aware of influencers
Differentiate by Marketing – Other Influencers (Power to the People) Marketing Online -Not just google -Not only banners -Spend time on Review sites Press releases (free to $400*) Sponsorships Locally? Donate: equipment, service, minutes. RNK - military
Marketing - Branding • Most miss maximum branding opportunities • Info-paks, educational materials to others • Info-letters about new services, their service • (out of sight, out of mind) • Shipping boxes • Brand any inserts, instructions, • Include flyers & coupons for referrals • Even answering the phone – reinforce your message, down to ‘on hold’ messages, music
Do we understand each other? Clear value proposition is important. Often overlooked in the excitement. (No big hairy feet!) Be clear. Use less fine print.
Clear Message as Differentiator • Clear Message cuts through clutter • Anti-VoIP messages • Other VoIP vendors & “The Phone Company” • Busy-ness of your future* customers • Too many of you take too much for granted • Assume they all will love the savings – price only? • Assume they even know what you are talking about? • Assume they aren’t assuming too much • “Well, no. We aren’t actually like Skype” • Your future customers are not so well-informed today. • Your competition will educate if you don’t. • Clear – “no big hairy feet”
Fine Print as a Differentiator • Fine Print Policy <- good advertising • Clear explanations • Setup and CPE charges • What’s included • Penalties • This will build customer trust • Hate hidden charges - Remember this is what people don’t like about ‘the phone company’ • No “big hairy feet”!
Differentiator: Approach to The Phone Company • Marketing “against” The Phone Company • Necessary? • Touchy.
Differentiate: The Phone Company? • Promotion vis a vis “the phone company” • Very important point – caution. • Do people hate the phone company? • People hate the phone company (extra fees*) • People love the phone company (it works) • Misguided: “get rid of”, “hate…”, “fire…” • Low Cost? OK. But it just has to work. • Out-market, out-deliver, out-feature and in the process offer lower costs. • Low cost without quality? Tough*.
Differentiate: The Phone Company • Important points. Hear this. • I don’t love your technology • Love what it can do for me • Wow: 200 features are nice • Give me 12 that work perfectly • “The Phone Company” • It’s the standard, it works. • I want best of both. • Use caution when dissing The Phone Company – Arrogance is Risky
Price as Differentiator? (Warning sign #1) Pricing – the Road Ahead.You face unknowns. Strange Conditions.
Per-minute pricing as a Differentiator? > Is per-minute rate a Significant Differentiator? (That last 10% was your profit margin. Or extra profit.) Source: Each company’s website on Jan 23, 2006 Yes. (when target is ethnic- or geographic- focused) No. Vonage growth, higher per-minute rates. ( PR is new) VERY careful don’t go lower than necessary on per-minute.
Price as Differentiator?(Warning sign #2) Pricing – the Road Ahead. (Be careful.) Some of you are slowly bleeding to death.
Per-Month pricing as a Differentiator? > Is per-month rate a Significant Differentiator? (Hardest part to price – depends on ‘the package’, ‘ the deal’, the market) *Vonage: Res. $14 / $24 ; Biz. $39 / $49 *Packet8 – attention to small business offering Many offer “low, low” limited minutes plans. Good? Some promote “20-country” plan -- for $19 Will depend on your market strategy – Can’t be all things to all people, at least not under one brand. Don’t go lower than necessary for your market. * Source: Each company’s website on Jan 23, 2006
CPE as a Differentiator? CPE – not an after-thought! CPE – a terrific product differentiator! Quality? Style? Function? (Hint: Value) High stated value Rebates, discounts Affordable net price Grandsteam --------- Cisco?
CPE as a Differentiator New innovations – keep an eye out.. Cell phone to VoIP adapter. Functionality = Value. Extend the value.
CPE as a Differentiator #1. Customers want choices. #1. Customers want you to support them. #1. Don’t sell what you can’t support. < Technology can be dangerous.
Customer Service as a Differentiator • Major eye-opener for some providers! • #1 rule for Customer Service: • Have true Customer Service!
Customer Service as a Differentiator • Make it easy to contact you • Phone, Email, Fax • LiveChat Now button – 24/7 is not impossible. • Mention the hours & zone to manage expectations • (no big hairy feet) • Goal: eliminate churn • Sunrocket Service? • 7 am to midnight • 7 days a week? • serious?
Other Services as a Differentiator • Directory Assistance – 411; Retail at 99 ¢ per call • Listings in to the 411 system; you can charge • 911 – FCC or not, by June ’06 • White pages - difficult • Yellow pages – really, really difficult • DIDs – USA, Canada, everywhere. $4.95+ • Prepaid and pay-as-you go VoIP will be hot. • Call waiting is not an add-on: feature parity • Other services, ideas: build strategy to embrace • Use these shows to meet vendors/aggregators “Do well by doing good” – profit center$
Marketing - Niches • So-called Ethnic Market • You do have unique connections, if you look. • Web page in the language builds trust, connection, sometimes needed. • Highly referential market. • Sell one, sell many. • Commitment to support these customers. • Language in-house for support • Knowledge in-house for marketing, advertising
Marketing - Niches • Ethnic sometimes means geographic focus • Not just web page in other language • Not just local advertising in other language • Focus on providing service to home country • Type of remesa – provide phone there, pay here. Huge market, largely untapped. • USA & Canada DIDS Where’s your next opportunity?
Marketing - Niches • Vertical • Any remote office worker businesses • Franchises, real estate, travel, etc. • Business organizations • Any associations - offer group discounts • International business, workers, organization • Easy sell on merits, savings • Not difficult to identify • Provide organization-wide savings, features • Have a plan to ship internationally, support.
Marketing - Referrals • 45% of VoIP providers don’t have a referral program. Source: Gregory • Agents, especially in “ethnic” marketing • Rebranded/resellers, but tightly-controlled - Nuvio • Refer with credit to the one referred - $25 each? • Approximately one month’s fee • Multiple Level Sales Organization • Start your own division • Hook up with an exisiting one; make new brand for them • Key is to leverage what you have.
You can do it! • African saying: Your mantra! Mine, too. “If not now, when. If not you, who?” Thank you for your time. Gregory Giagnocavo Dash911 JGG@Dash911.com