I have had a few concerns over advertising over the last months - I am annoyed by most adverts, and even more so when they are about something I understand (broadband service), but of late there has been a spate of "race the the bottom" stuff.
We are seeing people selling "Free broadband for 6 months", which is disconcerting. For a start, it is far from "Free", this is always with a "with phone line at £XXX", and some times that is quite a lot for a landline! Bear in mind we do a landline for broadband only use for £10/month.
But the big issue I have been trying to work out is how we can be different, or more to the point explain how we are different. The problem is that we try to be very honest with what we say, and that sometimes puts us at a disadvantage. We'd love to make claims that we are "better" than many other ISPs, but if we cannot say so with a definite measurable metric then we won't say it. Honesty is pretty important to us.
We gather that we are the highest average per-line peak usage of BT wholesale broadband, at least at some point when that was measured, but we have no proof of that (BT don't say that officially). But what that does mean is that "trying not to be the bottleneck" is indeed what we are managing - we are investing a lot in backhaul bandwidth to ensure people get what they pay for.
One of the big issues is that any "shared" service cannot guarantee the peak usage to everyone all the time. We cannot. What we can do is try very hard to ensure everyone can use what they need or want to use when they want. We can try not to be the bottleneck.
So I am unsure how we market ourselves. How we make truthful statements and good marketing statements, at the same time, in this industry.
We have has some lovely reviews! Support: As Nigel Tufnel (Spinal Tap) said: "These go to 11"
A lot of what we can say relates to when things go wrong. We know we are tenacious at beating up BT and TalkTalk over backhaul congestion and line faults and ensuring there are no charges when an engineer has to fix a fault in the network. But selling the "we do well when things break" angle is hard as it is saying "things break"! Sadly they do.
We monitor loss and latency on every line every seconds, and to this day BT do not accept a packet loss or latency issue as a fault category (in spite of a lot of pressure from us).
Whenever I personally get involved in any fault handling on any line (at weekends!) I almost always get very annoyed. I
Some how we need to find a way to explain to people that we are actually quite a good ISP and worth every penny, but to do so in honest statements that we can back with facts and tests and proof.
I wonder if I need a marketing strategy that is more than "If you build it, they will come" :-)
We'll have to have a meeting to figure it out (thanks xkcd)