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  • Writer's pictureHarry

Marketing Leads Broadband Network Success Beyond Customer Acquisition




Among all the discussions on BEAD, maps, planning, and building fiber networks, one topic crucial to success is never mentioned enough—marketing. It's usually viewed as an afterthought or something that we’ll eventually get to, waiting for the stars to align exactly right, to attain a certain number of customers, case studies, or projects first. This approach ignores a couple of fundamental truths: marketing, when done correctly and successfully, takes time and informs the process. Whether you are a network operator, ISP, broadband vendor, or consulting firm—take note. 

 

Marketing is not a tool; it’s a movement.

 

Marketing the network, specifically acquiring and retaining enough customers to make a fiber network feasible and sustainable in the long term, requires a strategy and a brand identity. Unlike most things in broadband, it cannot be easily quantified, reduced to a workflow, or simply automated.  

 

Just like AI, data is a tool that needs a larger context and must be informed by nuance, one-to-one communication, listening, initiative, and expertise from brand marketers and strategists who understand the broadband industry and can apply its unique landscape to tried-and-true best practices for engaging with customers and building rapport, trust, and ultimately, loyalty. 

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room."

-Jeff Bezos

 


It’s all about the brand.

 

We hear the word "strategy" thrown around quite a bit — “go-to-market strategy,” “actionable insights,” and “the power of automation and network data.” 

 

You rarely, if ever, hear the word "brand." Maybe because brand is harder to package as a commodity. It is not a one-size-fits-all approach. It takes time to define and build, and it can be lost in less than an hour. It creates an authentic emotional connection with its audience. It involves storytelling, a journey, transparency, and, most importantly, relationships—a dynamic where you listen more than you talk, value the feedback of your customer, and view candid feedback, whether positive or negative, as an opportunity to iterate and become even better. 

 

There is more to marketing than automating processes and applying customer data to templates and forms with your brand’s logo on a platform. If you know, you know—brand is identity, trust, loyalty, emotional connection, sustained growth, and competitive edge. 

 

Successful fiber networks know and understand their subscribers.

 

Technology tends to be transactional. It solves a specific problem, but one that doesn’t always take every conceivable situation into consideration. Anyone using a new platform quickly realizes this inevitable fact when they express frustration, asking, "Why can’t I just do this?" and are met with the response, "We’re working on it—maybe in the next update." The problem is, when this approach is applied to your marketing, it is much too slow, and your competitors will eat your lunch. 

 

One major component missing from recent broadband conference conversations is the customer—the subscribers who make up these networks and ensure they thrive. Every fiber project is different because every community it serves is unique, and the people who make up those networks have very different needs and demands. You need to run toward your customers, not shy away from them. Marketing is your superpower for both understanding customers and an opportunity to delight them again and again. 



Harry’s Recommended Roadmap for Broadband Success

 

1. Start Early 

 

Before the first fiber cable is laid, potential customers should know who you are, what you offer, and why you are different. 

 

  • Build Awareness: Launch early marketing campaigns to educate potential customers and build long-term relationships. It will pay dividends in the months and years to come. 

  • Community Engagement: Laying the foundation for the customer experience at the beginning of a project allows you to understand your future customers’ needs and address concerns proactively, fostering goodwill, setting expectations, and paving the way for a smoother deployment. 

 

2. Be Proactive 

 

Whether you are planning or constructing networks, or designing products to support fiber networks, you need to begin building your brand from day one.  

 

  • Set Realistic Expectations: Communicate deployment timelines, potential disruptions, and the benefits of the new network to manage customer expectations.

  • Address Concerns Early: Engage with potential customers to address pricing, service quality, and installation issues before they become major problems. 

 

3. Commit to Building a Brand 

 

Maintain consistent messaging from the start to build a strong, recognizable brand that people trust and prefer. 

 

  • Reputation Management: Early stakeholder engagement can help you mobilize customers and brand ambassadors to enhance your brand’s reputation and protect it during challenging times. 

  • Transparent Communication: Be authentic and honest. Own your mistakes and turn them into opportunities for improvement, building trust and credibility. 

 

4. Stay the Course 

 

Scaling back marketing efforts after the network is launched and take rates hit 30 percent is a critical mistake. Marketing is not just about acquiring customers; it’s about retaining them. Long-term success in the broadband industry depends on both customer acquisition and retention. 

 

  • Consistent Branding: Ensure consistent messaging across all platforms and channels to build a strong brand. 

  • Multi-Channel Strategies: Engage customers through multi-channel marketing strategies, including social media, content marketing, SEO, and paid advertising, to maximize reach and impact while providing valuable feedback. 

 

5. Prioritize the Customer Experience 

 

In today’s competitive broadband market, speed and price are no longer the sole differentiators. Excellent customer experience goes beyond just offering a reliable connection; it involves every interaction a customer has with your company. 

 

  • Personalized Communication: Tailor communication to individual customer needs to enhance satisfaction and loyalty. Customers appreciate it when their unique concerns and preferences are acknowledged and addressed. 


  • Owning Mistakes: Mistakes are inevitable, but how you handle them can make a significant difference. Acknowledging missteps, communicating transparently, and turning them into opportunities for improvement can build trust and strengthen customer relationships. 



Make no mistake, the right partner matters. 


In this increasingly competitive landscape, hiring the right marketing partner from the start can make or break the success of a fiber network.  

 

Integrated marketing agencies bring specialized knowledge and tried-and-true experience tailored to the broadband industry. Their holistic approach emphasizes strategy over tactics and keeps all marketing efforts aligned with client goals. It requires deep thinking and asking critical questions to address the unique challenges and opportunities within the broadband industry. 

 

By incorporating marketing into your broadband deployment strategy from the very beginning and maintaining it as a continuous effort, you can build a robust customer base, foster brand loyalty, and ultimately achieve long-term success.  

 

  • Remember, marketing is not just a tool for crisis management or customer acquisition—it’s an integral part of building and sustaining a successful network.  

 

  • Moreover, prioritizing customer experience and maintaining consistent communication are essential for standing out in an increasingly competitive market.  

 

Learn more about how Harry can help you at www.harry.marketing and join our broadband newsletter list for more tips and trends at hello@harry.marketing.

 

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