Sprint’s Unadvertising Program

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Today I (Sam Churchill) at DailyWireless got an email from “The Sprint Ambassador Team” offering me a free Sprint phone and service for 6 months. Apparently it’s a Samsung SPH-a900 (photos). I think I’ll take them up on it. I could use a phone.
Apparently Jeff Jarvis got a similar email today and writes about it in his blog:

I got email out of nowhere from Sprint telling me that they’d read my blog and wanted to offer me a chance to use a new, high-speed phone free for six months. The email said:

The Sprint Ambassador Team recently visited Buzzmachine.com and wants to invite you to participate in our Ambassador Program.

The Sprint Ambassador Program is all about exploring our latest products and services and allows you to give direct feedback to Sprint. We recently launched the Sprint Power Vision (SM) Network and want to provide you with the full experience, at no charge. Sprint Power Vision Network enables customers to download data at faster speeds and experience new data products.
The email and the terms and conditions ask to receive feedback but do not require it. I’ll take them at their word that they want feedback and if they get and use response from customers, that can only help them. If I were them, I’d publicize the ideas and feedback I got from customers and used. That is the real feedback loop.
And wisely, not a word is said about blogging this. If they tried to buy publicity with phones, that would not be good. But they’re smarter than that: They know that a blogger must blog. And so here it is: free publicity. And if I find anything noteworthy about the phone, I may blog it again. The publicity they get is not controllable. I could hate the phone (but I probably won’t since I am a gadget addict and a speed freak… and I could also buy the phone and hate it and blog that). It’s a risk, but a small risk well worth taking.
Jarvis sums up my feelings, too. It’s a novel (if somewhat risky) promotional experiment.
According to this website, T-Mobile’s average cost of acquiring a customer was $310 last year. That resulted in an Average Revenue Per User of $54 with an average cash cost of serving customers at $25.66 per customer per month. If you multiply $25/month times 6 months, plus $200 for the phone, you come up with $350. Sprint is betting that a $300-$500 investment in seeding the blogoshere will result in multiple new subs.Sprint probably won’t hit anything out of the ballpark, but it should be an interesting program, at least for marketing wonks like Steve Rubel.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Friday, January 6th, 2006 at 10:37 am .

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