Sprint Targets SMB Customers to Help Stem Falling Sales

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2014-08-13 Print this article Print
Sprint small business

At this point, all that the new Sprint Business brand appears to be is a marketing campaign.

This is not to suggest that marketing is unimportant, nor is it to suggest the new focus on providing solutions as a service isn't a good idea, because both are needed in the wireless industry. But the more urgent question for Sprint is whether this new marketing plan is enough to stop Sprint's slide.

Marin Martinovic, Sprint's director of business marketing, thinks it is. Martinovic acknowledged the company's difficulties and he said that a key part of solving it is to leverage Sprint's high profile in the public service community, where Sprint remains a major player, as a way to raise the company's profile in the more general business community.

"We see companies evolving as the work style changes," Martinovic said. He noted that for companies to evolve to meet the demands of the next generation of workers, they need a vision of what those workers expect beyond just getting paid for their time. He said that Sprint wants to be involved in creating that vision and helping with that evolution.

In one sense, Sprint's new business push is a great idea. Right now, T-Mobile has mostly ignored business users and while that company does have business offerings, it's not a key area of their current efforts. Right now, it's clear that T-Mobile's aggressive approach and price competition are hurting Sprint badly.

What's not clear is whether signing up business customers is going to reverse the quarterly loss of subscribers that show numbers beyond 300,000 a quarter. Even if the new Sprint Business brand is successful, it's unlikely that there will be much change beyond perhaps slow the decline, which would be a good start.

The reason is that few businesses operate on impulse. This means that even if a company's C-level suite decides that Sprint has a point and wants to act on it quickly, it will still take a couple of quarters to make any substantive switch. By then, Sprint will likely be No. 4 in the market and still losing current customers steadily.

While the new Sprint Business brand is a good idea, it's not enough. There's every likelihood that nothing that Sprint's new CEO, Marcelo Claure, can do in time to salvage its No. 3 ranking. But perhaps a new focus on business, on the new workforce and some changes on the consumer side of things can eventually make Sprint competitive again. This would be a good thing. The market still needs Sprint, even in fourth place.

Editor's note: This article was updated to correct the spelling of the name of Sprint's director of business marketing, Marin Martinovic.


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