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.
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…