T-Mobile Tuesdays: Gain and Retain

My family has used T-Mobile as our carrier ever since cell phones became popular, or at least for as long as I can remember. I can’t tell you how long that’s been but for most of those years, I was begging to switch to a better carrier like Verizon or AT&T. My family didn’t get service in half of my town and whenever I went to a friend’s house I had to borrow their phone or use their house phone to contact my parents. T-Mobile sucked.

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To quote the legendary Bob Dylan, “the times they are a-changin.'” T-Mobile has greatly improved not only their service (their 4G LTE covers 99.7% of Verizon’s coverage), but they were the industry leader in the #Uncarrier movement. T-Mobile’s customer base has continued to grow based on this as well as their attractive pricing strategy to lure customers away from competitors. T-Mobile has overtaken Sprint to become the 3rd largest wireless telecommunications company in the US which is ironic considering the 2014 talk about Sprint acquiring T-Mobile in a merger. Now, it’s Sprint that is open to being acquired by T-Mobile. In their most recent earnings call, T-Mobile CEO John Legere cited declines in carrier service revenues for the 3 major competitors since 2014 but boasted about T-Mobile’s growth.

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So, T-Mobile is growing and it’s the most affordable option. I know pretty soon, like most other millennials, my parents are going to kick me off of their family plan and I’m going to have to get my own plan. I think that this will only increase T-Mobile’s growth as flocks of (potentially still in-debt) twenty-something year olds decide what carrier to give their business to.

Enter T-Mobile Tuesday & the potential key to lure even more customers away from competitors…and retain them!

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To quote John Legere, “T-Mobile Tuesdays has turned the idea of the loyalty program upside down. This isn’t about customers showing loyalty to us — it’s about us showing our loyalty to them with free stuff — every single week.”

For those of unfamiliar with T-Mobile Tuesday, it was a promotion started by the company in June of 2016 to give back to loyal customers. The promotion is accessible for T-Mobile customers through the T-Mobile Tuesday app, which has been downloaded 10 million times. Each week, customers can open the app on Tuesday and “Play” the game which is just unlocking the promotional deals of the week. Past deals have included free Lyft rides, free Wendys, free Subway, free Papa Johns, free movie tickets, discounts, and much more. As of late January 2017, 6 million T-Mobile customers have used the app to redeem over 27 million gifts. That’s awesome. Users can also send their rewards to family/friends who don’t even have the app. For example, Legere claims to occasionally send rewards to the Verizon and AT&T CEOs as thank yous for sending T-Mobile so many new customers.

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I’ve yet to take advantage of T-Mobile Tuesdays because I usually forget but for college students or “Yuppies”, T-Mobile Tuesday means free food and not having to cook. That’s the dream.

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When I first heard of T-Mobile Tuesdays, I immediately thought that there had to be some catch or that it was a brief marketing scheme to give back. I was wrong. There’s no catch and according to CEO John Legere, their loyalty program is permanent.

Last week, two of my roommates and fellow T-Mobile customers took full advantage of the rewards the app had to offer (sick invite, guys). They used one of their free Lyfts to get to the T-Mobile store in Brighton to pick up a pair of free socks and then walked to Papa Johns, a less than 5 minute walk. My roommates each ordered a large Papa Johns pizza for free and then took a free Lyft back to BC. T-Mobile literally is just giving away stuff for free and there’s no catch at all.

Both of my roommates are fellow business analytics majors (one of them being an #IS6621 alum) so we started thinking, how are they doing this in a way that’s profitable for them and their partnering companies?  Only one company that I know of has stopped participating in T-Mobile Tuesdays – Dominos.. Dominos dropped out of the partnership after 2 weeks of giving away free pizza to T-Mobile customers because it could not handle the drastic increase in orders.  They may have dropped out in the early goings of the promotion but T-Mobile has gained even bigger partnerships as time has gone on (Shell, Buffalo Wild Wings, Stubhub, & more). In my opinion, more and more companies are trying to get involved in T-Mobiles promotional campaign because the promo is allowing them to reach a whole new base of customers. One of my roommates will now only use Lyft after downloading it for T-Mobile Tuesdays. It isn’t always a completely free item, sometimes it’ll be 25% off or a discount up to a certain dollar value, but T-Mobile customers are still taking advantage of the offers because they don’t see any reason not to. I’m a pizza snob from Long Island, New York and even I would get a pizza from Papa Johns if it meant I didn’t have to spend a ton of money or cook.

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With T-Mobile Tuesdays, T-Mobile has taken their business strategy and applied it in a way that will only help them attract and retain customers. It’s the most affordable carrier with comparable network services to its competitors and they’re going to give me free stuff every week as a thank you for being their customer? Sign me up.

(But hopefully I’ll just take advantage of the app using my parents’ account and not my own for a few more years…”save dat money”).

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9 comments

  1. T-Mobile redefining the idea of the loyalty program by choosing to show loyalty to customers rather than the other way around is in keeping with Peter Weill and Stephanie L. Woerner’s essay on “Thriving in an Increasingly Digital Ecosystem.” Having been downloaded 10 million times, the T-Mobile Tuesday app speaks to how suppliers must embrace the customer voice and experience inside the company to gain trust and keep them coming back. #WellDone

  2. Nice post. T-mobile has been very adept about using social media data to stay one step ahead of their competitors. It will be interesting to see what they do now that some of the others are copying their unlimited data offers.

  3. Great post! A couple of my roommates are among those who have been sucked in by all the benefits offered from T-Mobile’s Tuesday app. In general, I think it’s really interesting to take a look at how companies have been changing their loyalty programs to keep up with digital changes.

  4. Great job! The personal intro made it very relatable, and the graphics throughout were quite engaging. I found it particularly interesting how the idea for merger between Sprint and T-Mobile was reversed. Also, this post makes me wonder what Verizon will inevitably do to combat this. Data shows that promotions are good for attracting interest, but are not a long term strategy for sustained growth.

  5. Wow, it turns out I didn’t know anything before reading this post! As I’ve been nearing “adulthood,” I’ve been thinking about the terrifying prospect of getting booted from my family’s wireless plan and have held the apparently archaic idea that the only two options were Verizon and AT&T. I’ve obviously been seeing the advertising war going on between the major carriers for the past year or so. At a time when most plans are more or less comparable in terms of service, promotions such as T-Mobile Tuesdays could be a major differentiating factor that attracts a large quantity of new customers.

  6. Nice post. I wasn’t even aware of everything that T-Mobile was offering to customers. T-Mobile Tuesdays actually sounds like a great way to connect with and draw younger customers. While a family may not find it worth it to take a free Lyft to pick up a free Papa John’s pizza, a lot of college students sure would. It seems like they know their target audience and are looking to lock up customer loyalty in a demographic that isn’t known for having too much brand loyalty.

  7. Informative post I had no idea this existed. I work for Verizon and I’ll be honest 5 years ago we wrote T Mobile off as dead. As technology has got coverage and reliability is no longer a differentiator for customers. T Mobile has do e a great job at knowing who there customers are and engaging them with the brand.

  8. Really interesting post. It will be interesting to see how some of the other players respond to T-mobiles use of social media and its digital business strategy. It will be interesting to see if other companies not in the telecommunications market try to do something similar.

  9. I have had the feeling that T-Mobile is just getting it done with marketing and social media, but I am pumped to hear that their service is getting better and better. I am on Verizon, and I hate it. My calls drop all over BC’s campus, Verizon has no personality, and in the last couple years I have realized that the moment I am on my own, I will leave Verizon. Legere is a beauty, and it is fun to see a CEO so passionate about his product, company, and brand. It is impossible to be on twitter without seeing T-Mobile all over the place. I definitely think I will be a T-Mobile customer at some point.

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