Verizon and AT&T have both dropped their law suits against each other, deciding to keep their competition within the market battlefield instead of the legal one. This is good for consumers because there is no value for us when companies get distracted from their actual business of delivering goods and services.
Unfortunately for AT&T, though, the courtroom wasn’t as much of a distraction as a desperate effort to move the fight out of the arena where they are losing. Their fundamental problem is that they have lagged behind on the important battle fronts – they have not been fast enough building out their 3G network and they have been dismal in providing satisfactory customer supoprt. In fact, Consumer Reports in their upcoming January issue is rating AT&T last among the four major carriers in 19 of the 26 cities they surveyed. The biggest thing going for them is that they have an exclusive contract with Apple for the iPhone, but even that might end in 2010.
Watching the action between AT&T and Verizon should reinforce some lessons for all marketers. Strong, aggressive advertising (as from Verizon) works – as long as you are advertising from a position of strength against a clear and importantly perceived weakness in your competition. On the other hand, no amount of advertising, internet presence management, social media interaction, and especially legal actions will help you if you haven’t successfully dedicated your organization to satisfying your customers with great products, services, and support. AT&T should have been spending its cash on these instead of on its lawyers.
Domus, Inc. is a full service marketing communications agency based in Philadelphia. We build inspiring brand platforms and aggressively communicate them using appropriate mixes of marketing media, including social networking, other internet presence management, online and offline advertising and PR, and other vehicles such as events. Please visit our web site at http://www.domusinc.com for more information.