Nhamo yemumwe hairambirwe sadza is a Shona proverbs that is literally translated, “Another person’s woes are not reason for you to refuse sadza (that’s the staple food around here).” Telecel has just said that to NetOne’s face. They have announced a promotion they are calling bundlemania to promote their WhatsApp, Facebook, Megaboost and WiFi bundles.
So, every time a customer purchases one of those bundles through the Telecel 8480# short code, they earn points for it. They get 1 point for every 50c they spend. The more points you have the higher your chances of winning in a random draw that will be conducted periodically. Prizes include cattle, laptops and cash.
Obert Mandimika, the Telecel Branding and Communications Director says they are doing this to reward their customers who have been buying these bundles so much. I say they are doing it because they see the frustration that OneFusion customers have right now and they are calling all of them to move to the red side of town. Good move.
Mandimika actually says explicitly:
On top of wanting to give current bundle users an opportunity to win some of our many prizes, we are also asking those who have not used our bundles to do so and experience our affordable services while also standing a chance to win
Telecel’s Megaboost bundle is really a direct competitor of the NetOne OneFusion, one of the most popular bundles ever created in Zimbabwe.
OneFusion customers not only have been messed around by the fact that they could not use the bundle the way NetOne promised they would but NetOne has gone on to revise the packages, chopping up the offering. They did this at the wrong time really. POTRAZ of course has ordered them to compensate their complaining custormers
Beware though Telecel
I am very skeptical about promotions as a strategy. Now, with this bundlemania Telecel is going into a double promotion. Megaboost itself is a promotion and one that was not successful when implemented as OneFusion by NetOne. On top of that bundlemania is a promotion for uptake of another promotion.
That can be a costly move. Genius but costly and Telecel have to watch out and not get carried away.
Promotions require the executing business to have a clear exit strategy and a defined exit point in terms of time or mileage reached. the homework becomes how to convert the customers who come to your network for the promotion into brand loyal customers.
This is difficult in a market where Econet has built a moat (an impenetrable body of water around a castle that defends the castle from attack) around itself in the name of Ecocash. This mobile money product makes Econet a ready option at any given point besides the fact that Ecocash itself is a successful product that brings in good profitability as a standalone. Fact of the matter, a good number of NetOne and Telecel subscribers are Econet subscribers as well just because of Ecocash.
This emphasises the point that a strong value proposition is a more sustainable strategy than a promotion that bleeds you revenue. Econet has done well to stay away from the race to the bottom pricing tactics. The new competitive strength in the age of the internet is business models. You need to invest in defining your business model and you have to keep changing it.
However, bundlemania is a very decisive offensive against NetOne. Telecel is therefore picking one fight at a time. I hope they have a strategy to retain the subscribers who will show up then craft a strategy against the blue boys. Interesting times…
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