Verizon’s marketing department had a disastrous week, judging by the headlines.
First, it was ridiculed for sending emails advising customers to “to trade in their unlocked Pixel XL smartphones for Verizon models of those very same devices at a $300 discount,” Kishalaya Kundu wrote for Android Headlines. This “appears to be a marketing error,” Kundu added.
We’ll say. The offending email allegedly was sent to someone who had bought the same product for $600 a couple of weeks earlier. Kundu observed that “the carrier failed to notice how the customer was already using the device he was being prompted to upgrade to.”
Granted, we have seen journalists create bigger howlers than that. But someone should have known better. The headline for this story of a marketing debacle? “Verizon Offering Discount To Trade In Pixel XL For Pixel XL.”
Then Verizon got a scathing review of its SmartHub product. And again, marketing got the blame.
“Someone, somewhere, deep in the bowels of Verizon’s marketing department, has apparently read a study saying that the Internet of Things is going to be the next iPhone,” Chris Mills wrote for BGR. “This noble Brand Crusader decided that Verizon should be a Thought Leader in this category, and directed the captive team of engineers to make a Product that demonstrates Verizon’s commitment to the IoT.
“But unfortunately, no one stopped along the way to think about whether this is a thing that anyone will want to buy.”
SmartHub is a “4G LTE modem that turns Verizon’s wireless network into a local Wi-Fi network,” Mills continued. Verizon positions it as a router for the “smart home,” which means it’s supposed to connect all your Nests and your Hue bulbs and smart salt shakers to the internet so they can send you endless push notifications.”
What’s wrong with that? The fact that your home Wi-Fi network will do the same thing, and is probably “faster, more reliable, and far cheaper per gigabyte than Verizon’s LTE solution,” Mills added. The headline for this derogatory article? “Verizon may have just made the world’s most pointless thing.”
Now Mills’ opinion is just one among many — other people like SmartHub. But Verizon keeps getting bad press. It was also trashed earlier this year when it announced it was abandoning 4.5 million email accounts, and these users would have to transition to Verizon’s AOL subsidiary if they wanted to maintain their addresses.
As Bob Brown recently wrote in Network World, however, it is like that “at least a good chunk of the 4.5 million email accounts controlled by Verizon will be moving elsewhere sooner than later.” Foremost among those other options are Gmail.
Don’t expect that story to go away any time soon.
Isn’t there any positive news for Verizon? Well, there is unless someone decides to write a negative review first. And it has to do with email.
The company launched a new email client for iOS and Android. It’s called Alto Mail, and it allows the users to see email from all of their accounts, including AOL, Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo Mail, Office 365, iCloud and Exchange.
Let us be the first to say it: Sounds great!