Telenor's Easy Paisa Campaign, an Analysis!

We just witnessed a massive campaign by Telenor for its Easy Paisa (EP), across the city, through newspapers, hoardings, flyovers, television commercials and the web.

The teaser campaign which preceded the launch developed much hype and raised public’s expectations that Telenor will launch an extraordinary product. Also, seeing that Tameer bank is partly owned by Telenor, the public expected nothing less than an eye-opener from Telenor.

However, the scope of EP is disappointing and fairly limited, at least as of now. Telenor EP is a good product in terms of convenience only, however we can’t term it Mobile commerce; even non-mobile customers can pay their bills through the nearest EP outlets.

Mudassar Jehangir, mentioning some elements in a recent article, notes that Telenor tried to defame Zong in response to its campaign, results and its correlation with Zong’s services.

Jehangir further writes that Telenor was upset on the ‘surprise’ move by Zong, however, Zong had not launched the campaign and instead it was just rolling the usual TVCs with almost no change in tempo.

When asked why Zong didn’t plan such a campaign, Salman Wassay, Head of Marketing, Zong told ProPakistani that before launching a service, we follow a prudent and strategic approach whereby we first calculate the implementation and execution costs of a campaign, such as the utility bill payment service, to determine its feasibility, rather than focusing on launching the new service rapidly in all outlets across the country.

Mr. Wassay said that this bill payment facility is currently available at Zong’s service centres, and it will be at Zong franchises within the next 2 – 3 days. The company will extend this service to the remaining 5000 outlets initially on an experimental basis and gradually.

When asked about his thoughts on Telenor’s Campaign, Mr. Wassay appreciated it and said that it will create further awareness among the public about this service and other cellular companies will also benefit from this.

Another Perspective:

Market experts are currently engaged in discussing the scope and purpose of Telenor’s massive media spend; an interesting fact is that this type of service is not the industry’s first.

Let’s see what Murtaza Nabi has to say about the campaign on Marketing 360 Yahoo Group.

A high budget campaign for such a service is wastage of money. Will it benefit the company to pull out maximum customer attention from this campaign after investing so much? Think twice: an advertisement in the Jang can cost approximately Rs. 6 million.

Such launch campaigns create media bursts and capture the publics’ attention temporarily; moreover, with frequent incidents of violence and bomb blasts such as the one in Lahore recently, majority of the people’s attention is hooked on the electronic rather than the print media.

Analysts, like Murtaza Nabi, are of the opinion that this campaign’s purpose was not to introduce a product, rather it is a conspiracy with a hidden agenda.

Clearly this was not at all a seller campaign; instead it looked more like a branding campaign which is carried out for a company launch or before any expected merger or sellout to boost the face-value of shares and assets, notes a senior official of a telecom company.

“I see no connection between the size of media expenditure and the service portfolio. We must call it a hyperbole or just poor media planning”, says a senior executive in the telecom industry.

As mentioned in one of the earlier articles on Easy Paisa, the scope of this service certainly has the potential to expand – including possible plans of offering financial transactions related to sending and receiving money, via one’s mobile phone, both within Pakistan and abroad.

However, at present we can only make judgments on the basis of what we see. If there is a bigger picture, it is not apparent to us yet but we hope that Telenor will make it happen, one Day – however, in current scenario, the EP campaign and its purpose has left a question mark…

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK


  • Usman

    it would seem to me that Telenor has achieved a lot of its sucess through its marketing approach and to become number two in this market and leave all others in the mess that they are shows that any negative comments to this approach is just “sour grapes”. it says a lot that telenor is willing to continue to invest in this market and climate with these innovative services – so why not look at it as a positive for our country instead of pulling the leg of success !!!

    • zubair

      First of all telenor should pay attention on network as it has worst network not only services also quality matters a lot

      • Usman

        but thats not the point – we are talking about banking services and the quality of the Telenor network is better and braoder than most so i dont feel it is a deciding factor in the effort put in creating this good service. it was the only thing missing from their service offering. they are doing so well in the market these days i dont expect them to do things half way. this will become a big thing for Pakistan.

  • anam

    there is a difference between launching a new service and launching a complete brand. I am marketing student and studying brand management rite now. for me what Telenor has done was great, they are registering the brand name and its elements in the minds of the consumer which indeed is needed. However as far as zong is concerned they are doing it on trial basis and doesnt need to spend that much. Anywayz i like the new ad of easypaisa.

    • Azeez

      I agree with Anam… I think what Telenor has said through it’s EP campaign is this:
      “OK… the service is already there in the market… but telenor makes it Easy for you to understand and use the service”
      It increases the Goodwill of the company by a huge margin.

  • Rizwan Shah

    Good one amir, you always see with a different angle and importantly, which makes sense too. Keep up the good work

  • alam

    6 million rupees is expensive man. so telenor spent billions on a service that was already offered countrywide by Nadra and banks.

    In my opinion their weblounge was even better product which they didn’t advertise this big, anyway un ka paisa hay jahan merzi lagain

  • Ahmed

    The analysis gives a clear understanding as to what the companies have failed to offer with such a hype being created.

  • I was coming back to home, when on my way i saw this billboard saying ‘easy paisa’, initially I thought that it is some new company being launched. When I reached home, on this very site i found about what easy paisa is. After all the hype and heavy advertising, it turns out that this is just another way to pay your bills.

  • junaid

    Dear All,

    In my point of view a grand launch of easy Paisa Brand is to lay a solid ground and build an image of this brand to the peoples mind.More m-commerce serives will follow after mere utility bills payment. It is vital to first gain confidence of costumers before launching more soft services like payments, cash transfers on mobile phones. I am confident that telenor will expand its finanacial services portfolio slowly and gradually and not hastily or bluntly. Wait and follow…

  • obaid saeed

    i think master minds behind this all are thinking something else. AS CEO said in his interview that there is lots more in pipeline and they will promote this brand at global level. Keeping all this i think they are planing for sometihng big.
    Telenor group is operating in multiple countries. Hence they are good enough to decide where to invest an where not.(more capeable than an individual approach)

    ????????????

  • H.

    Introducing a new brand always requires an extra “umph” factor to catch attention. The fact that we’re discussing this brand here in itself reflects that Telenor has done a good job of putting the name out there. And knowing Telenor, if the services to follow are for masses, I think it’s a very good strategy to instill the name of a brand in the minds of masses. Imagine them heading towards such advanced services for not so tech-savvy users in the near future. People would be reluctant to start using their handsets for financial transactions if they didn’t believe in the brand. So, from my point of view, in terms of the services to come their current move seems pretty good. One hopes they can really follow it up with good services for the masses to blossom micro-financing.

  • Faheem

    Does anyone remember the fact when, “easyload” service was launched?

    See how the brand name is still popular enough that even a ufone or a jazz customer goes to an outlet and says, I need 50 Rs. easy load on my 0333-…. or 0300-…. number.

    Same is going to happen in case of “easypaisa” I believe.

    Agreed that the service is already present in the market (the utility bills payment at banks and post offices), BUT, I repeat; BUT, has it been provided by any Telco. ???

    The answer is a simple NO and hence, it’s yet another innovative service and another industry first.

    End of discussion.

  • Shahrukh

    I have gone through the whole chain, it is good to see that the campaing and the launch has attracted a lot of interest among the students and professionals of diverse background. I agree with the points in the thread with respect to Branding, or Brand Building or registering brand in the mind of consumers. But, i like all of you to focus on one important aspect of Marketing that is bottom line means profits. so, companies dont launch brands for the sake of launhing and spending hundreds of millions of rupees to just fill the Air Space of tv or radio or digital space of internet. Every rupee invested in this should have returns in terms of revenues.

    What i have seen so far, i can safely say that there is no differentiation in the products as there are many similar offering in the markets, doesnt matter any cellco has done this before or not. The offering is just a commodity, i dont know if Telenor has some bigger plans as the brand name is also not rhyming with the currently offered service i.e. bills payment.

    Also, while visiting different website and blogs, i have seen a number of comlaints that the service is actually no where, so the launch was merely a marketing gimmick.

    THE PROMISE IN THE ADVERTISEMENT IS NOT DELIVERED!!!

  • Agha

    I think Telenor has wasted their more than 50% ad spend. I think they have spend approx 20 million on print and TV media for EP campaign. They have ignored the Utility Bill media since this campaign was related to utility bill payments. TV reach is approx 50% household of Pakistan and Newspaper has approx 6% household reach. Whereas Utility bill reach is approx 80% household reach.

    It is a big question mark for Telenor media team why they have not advertised in punjab on Utility Bills where household base is approx 12.5 million which is 62% share of the total UB indistry.

  • curious

    “It is a big question mark for Telenor media team why they have not advertised in punjab on Utility Bills where household base is approx 12.5 million which is 62% share of the total UB indistry.”

    You make a valid point Agha. Telenor has spent 20 million on a campaign that generated less than 10 million in revenue. If I were the CEO, I would fire Telenor’s Marketing Director. This is just a waste of company’s hard earned revenue and then they complain that profitability is falling. Of course, with such stupid media spending, profitability will fall.

  • Usman

    Dear curious, let me correct you here, the total media spending by Telenor is Rs.230 million (23 crore) till now. And they have earned Rs.600,000 till now. They are not gonna break-even in next 5-6 years.

    And Telenor’s campaign will not only benefit telenor but also the other telecom companies when they come up with their Mobile Financial products. Their campaign is developing trust amongst customer to trust telecom companies with their money…. So telenor is wasting money for its competitors’ benefit :)

  • anamkhan

    Dear Usman and Curious!

    Do you guyz know about brand awarness, brand imagery, brand resonance, how and why companies spend on advertising, please search these terms, read articles trust me it will clear your minds for why such budgets are spend its not always about short term goals that companies are focussing on :)

  • Shahrukh

    Dear Anam,

    I appreciate your passion about Marketing and your knowledge about the subject, but, brand building is much more than the terms you have used. We see brands in our everyday life; tell me how many of these are build through Advertising? I can bet none, because advertising don’t build brands, advertising can launch products but for these products to become a brand they have to go through a whole brand building process.

    If you ask marketers internationally, mostly the brands are built through WOM, local publicity, micro marketing, then at a certain point you can always use mass media to complement all of this. In addition to that, you need to consistently deliver superior value to the customer.
    Unfortunately, in Pakistan, as there is a lack of professional marketers and mostly marketing strategies are done by Advertising Agencies, these are tilted towards expensive mass media channels where the agency makes money. So, this has become a norm that if you have to build a brand just hire an agency, create a fancy campaign and the recipe is quiet simple and standard i.e. good visuals, a song and beautiful models, that’s it, that’s all you need. FALSE!!!
    You can go back and see all telco ads and you can clearly see this approach, they can afford this because they have lot of resources in terms of budget, also their theory is to just fill the air and digital space regardless of the fact what they get in return.

    I am not saying that Telenor has wasted money in this campaign, we must appreciate the value they have created with this campaign, but when it comes to delivering the value to the customer, this is completely missing, you can browse internet and you can see that Customers are having all kind of issues with the Service starting off from availability at the outlets, to the knowledge of people at outlets, to so on and so forth. Even, few utility companies have denied having arrangements with Telenor for utility bills collection.

    This is really sad, running such a high budget with this kind of service and planning is suicide and pure waste of money.

  • I read your comments, I m not marketing student or like tht, I m jst simple student or simple ..One thing i know, what telenor have done is deliberatly good n outstadning, no matter it will take time to b on break-even but after break-even they will enjoy their service, which they have rendered to their consumer..
    now coming to budget side, Nike the sportswear company, spend abt $476 million this fiscal year for endorsements on celebrity athletes, the company’s $1.7 billion advertising budget for the year, so now you think, their C.E.O r fool or nuts who are spedning million and billion, maria sheapova(dont know exact spell) take 5million$ for wearing their sports wear.Nikes PROFIT falls 13%,by spending around the World Cup soccer tournament, now you say their is no comparision b.w nike and telenor coz its sports wear and other is telecom, simple come to Airtel, they have hired kareena ,saif, a.r rahman,Madhavan, kismat konnection lead actress n most important Shahrukh khan.Bharti Airtel signed a five-year deal with ESPN STAR Sports to become the title sponsor of the Champions League Twenty20 cricket tournament and their revenue is $6.7million ..Air tel spends much and much, and ebill,epay,e-recharge and many e products r launched by airtel, they spend on the adverstising n they did best coz they need to advertised and make it common as common pin, why to wait and for wat to wait, jst through card n win the game, tht telenor did..MArketing=attraction to common people , whn attraction done n core point is to maintain it. see any pie-chart of any company you will found advertising budget tooo much, but tht thy enjoy it

    probably , i would love to have critics on my note.