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Great Products Still Need Marketing

I've been overpaying for my cell phone plan for a long time.


Not willingly, mind you.


Each time Rogers has increased my rates over the past eight years (which has happened at a frequency only possible due to the ridiculous lack of competition within Canada's telecom industry), I scour the internet to find a better plan.


But I'm self-employed and rely on my cell phone (and the high-speed data it delivers when I'm not at home) to earn a living, so when I've been unable to find a comparable plan at a lower rate, I've historically settled for the minor (and always temporary) price discount I earn after spending an hour or more negotiating with a Rogers customer service agent.


The last time Rogers informed me of a price increase, I was unsuccessful in negotiating a continued discount. "I'm sorry, that's the best offer we have available," I was told.


I again searched the internet for a better plan only to confirm the other big telecom companies weren't any cheaper and the smaller companies (most of which are owned by those big telecom companies) didn't offer the type of data speed I wanted.


That's when I got the email from President's Choice introducing me to PC Mobile.


I'm almost embarrassed to admit I didn't know this service existed. But, in my defence, when you Google "inexpensive 5G cell phone plans in Canada", PC Mobile doesn't appear in the top 50 (organic and sponsored) search results. It reminds me of that old joke:


Where's the best place to bury a body?

The second page of Google's search results.


Until I received that email, I can't recall ever seeing a single advertisement for PC Mobile.


No television or radio advertising. No website banners or social media ads. No direct mail.


Here's the thing: the PC Mobile plan was superior to my Rogers plan in every way.


A comparison of Rogers and PC Mobile phone plans.

Two and a half times the data. International (not just Canada-wide) texting. And PC points earned with every dollar spent, including a $20 bonus after two months of service.


And all for about a third of what my Rogers plan cost me every month.*


This post isn't intended to be a free advertisement for PC Mobile.**


It's intended to disprove a myth I hear too often: Great products still need marketing.


Bullshit.


Marketers are taught about "The Four Ps of Marketing".


"Product" is only one of them.


You can have the greatest product (or service) in the world, but people can't buy what they don't know about. That's why a strong Promotion plan is needed.


And once they're aware of your great product, they need to be able to find you so they can buy. That's why you need to think about Place: where your product (or service) can be purchased in-person and online.


Once your target customers know about your product (or service) and know where to buy it, you may be included in their consideration sets: that's when they'll compare what you're selling to everything else that meets their purchase criteria.


And while Price won't always be the determining factor, it'll usually be a consideration... which is why you need to ensure your pricing is appropriate based on your business objectives.


Great products still need marketing.


I wish PC Mobile, which has been around since 2005, had realized that much sooner: they would have saved me a lot of money and frustration.


 

* My wife and I both made the switch: after 15 minutes at our local Zehrs grocery store (where our nearest The Mobile Shop was located), we each walked out with new plans expected to save our family $1,152 per year in cell phone fees. And, yes, we each kept our existing cell phone numbers, so there was no inconvenience whatsoever.


** And no, I'm not getting paid anything for writing it... but if Loblaw Companies wants to hire me as a micro-influencer, I'm open to offers.


P.S. PC Mobile operates on Bell's cellular network; I think it might be possible that part of PC Mobile's network-sharing agreement might limit the type of marketing PC Mobile can do. This is only a hunch, but since it clearly isn't in Bell's best interests for the general public to learn about PC Mobile's significantly better cell phone plans, I wouldn't be surprised if such a restriction exists. In fact, it's the only rational way I can explain PC Mobile's lacklustre effort around promoting their phone plans more widely.

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