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The Untapped Fiber Customer: Confusion in the Middle

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Just under 80% of both mid- and fiber-tier respondents believe that their home internet service is a “basic amenity,” viewed on par with running water or electricity. From smart televisions to smart thermostats, the number of household electronics that require an internet connection is growing. Marketing fiber as a “convenience” could be deterring customers who are on the fence about upgrading.

This past March, Trone Brand Energy surveyed a national audience of 980 respondents to better understand how current fiber-tier respondents (101+ Mbps download speeds) and mid-tier respondents (31–100 Mbps download speeds) rate their understanding, usage, frustrations and shopping behaviors related to their home internet service. This series will preview the results of our study and discuss marketing insights about mid-tier customers—your best prospects for upgrading to fiber service. 

What They Think They Bought

When respondents were asked to describe their home internet speed as either “basic,” “moderate” or “premium,” only 52% of mid-tier respondents said “moderate,” while 72% of fiber-tier respondents said “premium.” This demonstrates that confusion about home internet connections is more common among mid-tier respondents than in fiber-tier respondents.

Marketing fiber as a “premium” speed may better inform mid-tier customers that fiber is substantially faster than broadband.

But the Terms Are Confusing

Internet providers use several terms to market home internet plans and packages, but do customers really understand what they mean? Our study found that terms like “bundle” and “Wi-Fi hotspot access” were clearly defined to more than two-thirds of both mid- and fiber-tier respondents, but more descriptive terms like “fiber,” “gigabit” and “megabit” were only understood by around 62% of mid-tier and fiber-tier respondents.

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When asked what the terms “megabit” and “gigabit” mean, the responses were very similar between both groups. The chart above shows the most frequent words used by each. Surprisingly “megabit” is more associated with speed than “gigabit,” which has associations with “storage” and “data.” This key difference could stem from customer familiarity to similar-sounding data storage terms such as “megabyte” and “gigabyte.” Keen attention should be paid to audience awareness, and ideally, “gigabit” should be linked to definitions that speak to the speed and reliability over “megabit” in any marketing materials.

Know Your Audience

Overall, mid- and fiber-tier respondents to the survey share similar levels of understanding of their home internet. Where the two groups diverge most in this area is on how they describe their speed. Mid-tier respondents are split on describing their connection as “moderate” or “premium,” while fiber-tier respondents seem to know, for the most part, what they’re getting.

The next blog post in this series will examine how mid- and fiber-tier respondents most frequently use their home internet connection. It will be released on June 15th. In the meantime, please reach out to our agency if you are interested developing the right marketing strategy to expand your fiber clientele.

Before Your Next Promotion

  • Do you know the difference between your mid-tier and fiber-tier customers?
  • Do you have a separate marketing strategy for upgrading mid-tier customers to fiber?
  • What industry terms are being used in your residential marketing efforts that might be causing confusion?

 

Trone Brand Energy is an audience-driven, full-service advertising agency in High Point, North Carolina. Our agency specializes in the telecommunications industry and has extensive experience in developing audience insights, brand strategies, marketing materials, digital and social media, neighborhood activation plans, and more for telecom clients. Contact us to see how we can partner with your company to find the right audience and deliver the right message using The Firefly Effect™.  

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