One of the biggest challenges you can be given, as marketer, is that of selling pay TV services. Pay TV services are in the category of ‘luxuries’ that most people feel they can live without. You see, there are so many TV channels that one can access for free (under the free-to-air broadcasting model). So it becomes hard to persuade someone why they need to subscribe for pay TV services, in spite of them having access to so much free content. It soon becomes patently clear that the segment of society which views pay TV as a ‘necessity’ is relatively small. Yet there are so many pay TV service providers competing for that small segment of the society. It is on that basis, then, that the marketing challenge for pay TV services looks insurmountable.
In spite of the small target market, and the great competition, it is still possible to market pay TV services successfully. You just need to use the right strategies. You have to start by understanding the nature of the challenge.
The nature of the marketing challenge
One aspect of the marketing challenge here is where you have to convince people who have not yet started to subscribe for pay TV services that it is something they need. You have to get these people to a point where they can view pay TV as a ‘necessity’. It is only at this point that you would get them to pay for it using their hard-earned cash. So, how do you get them to view pay TV as a necessity? Well, one approach would be where you show them samples of the programs you offer (that is, the programs you offer under your pay TV packages). Then you would subtly make it clear to them that they would be ‘missing out’ on such — and more — content if they don’t subscribe for the pay TV packages. Another approach is where you actually avail the pay TV content to the targeted viewers, and give them a chance to enjoy it for a certain period of time for free. By the end of the period, you can be assured that some of them would have fallen so in love with the content that they would be willing to start paying for it. But that is, of course, only if the content is truly worthwhile.
Another aspect of the challenge is where you have to convince people who are using pay TV services from other providers to ditch those other providers, and turn to you. This is not an easy challenge to tackle – keeping it in mind that those other pay TV service providers are likely to have cultivated some level of loyalty in their subscribers. So you would be seeking to make those subscribers ‘betray’ the pay TV service providers they have become loyal to. It is certainly not easy. But you can do it by, say, demonstrating that your pay TV service has much better content that what they are getting from the pay TV service providers they have currently subscribed for. Alternatively, you can demonstrate to them how, by switching to your pay TV service, they would stand to get the same content they are getting, but at a much lower prices/subscription fees.
Advertising pay TV services
Some free-to-air TV stations are so hungry for advertising content that they may be willing to run your (pay TV) service ads. So that is one approach you can use, to get people to know about the pay TV service you are offering.
Another approach you can use is that of putting up billboards, informing people about your pay TV service, and inviting them to subscribe.
Yet another approach is where you can buy online ads, informing people about your pay TV service, and inviting them to subscribe. Online advertising can be particularly attractive, given the fact that it can be targeted at the specific audiences that are likely to be in need of pay TV services.
Selling pay TV services directly to targeted customers
This is an approach where you can hire sales representatives, to be moving ‘door to door’ trying to sell the pay TV services. Sometimes, things move faster when you go to the customers, rather than trying to get the customers to come to you. The most important thing here is be ready for initial disappointment. Therefore the sales reps would have to know chances are that people wouldn’t subscribe for the pay TV services the first time they are approached. But it is possible to (eventually) get customers with subsequent visits. Sometimes, all that the targeted customers may be interested in are the contact details of the company offering pay TV services. Then they can contact it later, when they want the pay TV services installed, at their convenience…
So the most important thing here is to get the sales reps who are sent out to have a broader perspective. The idea is to get them to understand that their role is not necessarily to get pay TV service subscribers there and then, but rather, to generate leads and future potential business.
Being ready for walk-in customers
The moment you open up an office where you are selling pay TV services, you can be assured that you would get some walk-in customers, however few. These would be individuals who, on their own accord, would have decided to subscribe for the pay TV services you would be selling. So the most important thing would be to be ready for such walk-in customers. The objective would be to ensure that you have everything you need , say, for installations at customers’ homes at hand. Actually the need to be ready applies, even for the other marketing strategies. It would be a pity for you to spend huge amounts of resources advertising the pay TV services, only to end up being unable to cope with the demand once the marketing campaign starts bearing results. So whatever you do, in terms of marketing pay TV services, it has to be backed up with preparedness to cope with the demand you are bound to start getting for the services. So this is about having adequate numbers of people for the installation work, having enough installation kits ready-at-hand, having a functioning customer care center… and so on.