Genius Marketing: Part 1 – Free Credit on your mobile

Genius marketing: mobile top ups

Genius marketing: mobile top ups

Let’s stand up and applaud the sheer genius of some marketing campaigns and their Machiavellian knack to make us feel like we’re getting more for less (while often we get less for more).

Over the next few weeks I plan to write a few blogs on my favourites. I’ll start with mobile phone companies giving us ‘free credit’.

Here are two examples:

  • Prepay International calls card (spotted in a newsagent’s window near my home)
    The Marketing: Buy a £5 card and we’ll give you £6 worth of credit, buy a £10 card and we’ll give you £13 (do note £5 is the minimum card you can buy).
    The Problem: To be a true promotion you need to be given more calls than usual. This would usually be a reward for topping up a larger amount, or a short term deal. Yet in this case a fiver’s the smallest card available and this deal’s been on for at least a year.
    The Reality: In effect the price list is misleading. If the standard listed tariff is 20 minutes of calls to the USA for £1, a £5 card should get you 100 minutes. Yet the ‘promo’ means you get 120 minutes. The truth is their base price is actually 24 minutes per pound as the fiver deal is the basic package anyway. And this is the figure you should use when compared to other deals.
    As for the £10 deal it looks like you get an extra 30% with it. In truth it should be compared to the £5 deal, and that means only an extra 8%.
  • Tesco Mobile Pay As You Go Top Ups
    The Marketing: Top up £15 a month and we’ll give you an extra £30 worth of credit on top.
    The Problem: The promo here is genuine, as you’d get fewer minutes if you topped up with a smaller amount (Though £10 top-ups are still ‘doubled’).
    Yet it’s still superb marketing, as the bonus is only when compared to Tesco’s own price range, which is actually pretty expensive at standard rates. While the deal itself is actually pretty competitive (though compare first with the cheap mobiles guide), the marketing smears the icing all over the cake.

An exaggerated example will explain this…

Option A – price cheap

Standard Price: All calls 5p/min – all texts 1p
£10 top up buys: Either 200 minutes or 1,000 texts

Option B – promo speak

Standard Price: All calls 20p/min – all texts 4p
Promo: Top up with £10 and we give you £40 worth of credit
£10 top up buys: Either 200 minutes or 1,000 texts

As you can see both the options are exactly the same in terms of price. However the first isn’t strong marketing as most people don’t know the actual prices of calls and texts so their parameters for judging the deal are weak. But the buy £10 and get £40 offer in option B seems fantastic.

The value of the promo can only really be looked at when you see the actual cost of minutes and texts, yet many will buy due to the marketing.

Comment and Discuss.