In case you have been hiding under a rock, you most likely heard that Apple released the new iPhone 4S yesterday. To some it is a huge announcement, to others that were expecting the release of the iPhone 5 it was disappointing. To me, a long time Sprint and Mac customer, it was amazing news as for the first time the iPhone is now available on the network. The most shocking part about it, is that one of the biggest announcements for Sprint in 2011 but if you look at Sprint’s digital platforms, you’d never know it. Talk about a HUGE missed marketing opportunity.
As of about 36 hours after the media announcement, all that Sprint’s digital platforms had to offer were a couple of tweets from the @sprint account promising that information was coming soon.
As a Sprint customer for over 10 years (with a one year break while working outside the US) and a die-hard Mac “fanboy” since 1999, this was the announcement that I was waiting for. The second it was announced in the Apple media event, I was loading up Sprint.com…. nothing. Went back an hour later with “early upgrade” money burning a hole in my pocket… nothing. Checked today (over 24 hours later)… nothing. Now being that every computer and media device I own is made by Apple and I’m not ditching Sprint, chances are whenever they finally get around to releasing the info, I’ll eventually upgrade. But what about all the customers they’ll need to conquest to meet their contractual obligations with Apple? Chances are many of them already have iPhones and both Verizon and AT&T are already talking about the new phone and offering pre-orders. Sprint’s marketing team… big time #fail.
Product development, Public Relations, Corporate Communications, and Marketing need to collaborate
I have worked for and with several large companies throughout my career and one thing that I find most often is that communicating internally across these four critical tiers is one of the most dysfunctional processes these companies have. In the end though, all marketing (especially digital) will only be successful when these areas are synced up. Imagine if Sprint’s digital marketing team had product pages and upgrade information ready to roll out the second Apple announced the partnership? Well I’d have my iPhone 4S pre-ordered and I’m sure there are a lot of other customers that would have done the same. In the end, there should have at least been some kind of messaging placed up digitally say in the event there were web technical issues. Twitter, while unreliable, is still up and so is Facebook and PR Newswire.
Sprint, I truly hope you find a way to generate some real excitement as, from what I understand, you’ve “bet the farm” on this deal and I’d really hate to see a rollout fluke like this bring the demise of my favorite wireless company.