Pamela McGill

About Pamela McGill

Pam McGill is a former senior vice president in the Telecommunications Research division of Market Strategies International.

What Drives Trust in the Wireless World?

Trust is defined as “to place confidence in, rely on.” Whom do customers trust to provide their wireless service? The importance of this simple question cannot be overstated with wireless carriers facing the stiffest competition in decades. And the field is increasingly more crowded as cable powerhouses like Comcast and Charter join the fray. With more than 90% of US households having cell phones and more than 50% being wireless only (a figure that is growing daily), few industries have such a massive, growing addressable market. And they all face one cold, hard truth: Failing to gain the trust of their customers could be a multi-billion dollar mistake.

That’s why we focused on brand trust in our latest consumer omnibus study. We looked at not only the traditional wireless providers but also other potential entrants, including cable and technology companies, to find out who could disrupt the usual suspects. And, even more importantly, through our technology industry research we explore whether it’s even a wise business move for the likes of Microsoft, Amazon and Apple to throw their hats into the wireless ring. Continue reading

How Much SHOULD the iPhone X Cost?  

Market Strategies Releases Exclusive Price Point Analysis   

It’s September, which means the unofficial end of summer, football, a new school year…and a new iPhone release! But this year—the 10th anniversary of the iPhone—Apple is breaking the mold. Why?

  • As contracts have become virtually extinct, consumers are keeping their phones longer, creating a lengthier upgrade cycle. Apple needs to provide a more compelling reason to buy their product than simply, “it’s that time of year again.”
  • Apple has been criticized by some as losing its innovation edge by offering only minimal advancements. This new iPhone X model not only promises to create a new “premium” smartphone but also breaks up Apple’s typical two-year full upgrade cycle.

So, what is new and different about this phone that makes it so special?

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Training for Decision Day

Training

I run competitively, mostly in races around my home state of Arkansas, and I’m currently training for the Hogeye Marathon, which is known for its hilly, difficult course.

Training for a marathon involves many aspects from experimenting with different fuel/gels to finding the best pair of shoes to take you the distance. But the most important is probably the long run. You have to start out with a short distance/time and then gradually build up—maybe a mile or so every week—until you’re at least somewhat close to the marathon distance of 26.2 miles. This requires planning—working backwards from race day to establish a training plan to ensure there is sufficient time to gradually build up the distance.  Without a proper plan and follow-through, race day will surely be a disaster.

The same can be said of business decision-making. A snap decision on an important issue without proper forethought and planning could be an embarrassment at best and career ending at worst. So what does it take to get to “decision day” for your desired outcome?  Here are a few considerations:

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Market Research Musings from a Cord-Cutter Newbie

2015-04-cord-cutterNearly a year ago, my life changed drastically when a tornado destroyed my family’s home. We moved into an apartment while we rebuilt and had many decisions to make, including whether to keep our home telephone number. We decided to keep it in case those who didn’t know what happened tried to reach us or in case certain accounts were tied to it. However, it didn’t take long to realize that, even under these different circumstances, the “home phone” is not as necessary as we had once thought—the only people calling that number were my mother-in-law and telemarketers.

Fast forward to a couple of months ago: we were ready to move into our new house, and, after seeing such little usage over the past nine months, we decided to “cut the cord.” This turned out to be a little difficult in some ways—that number had been a part of us for more than 20 years, and we wondered how we would call our cell phones to find them when they get lost in the couch.

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Carrier Wars

2014-10-telecomLatest Brand Love Study Exposes Need for Innovation Among Carriers

In February and November of 2013, Market Strategies International investigated the concept of “Brand Love” for wireless phone carriers, handset manufacturers and mobile operating systems. Our goal was to understand current brand loyalty in the telecommunications space and its drivers. In that research, we discovered that customer loyalty was greatest for the wireless carrier. Among the carriers, both AT&T and T-Mobile showed loyalty growth across the course of the year.

Last year, T-Mobile disrupted the industry’s status quo with the launch of its “Uncarrier” initiative whereby it vowed to change the way that customers purchase mobile telecommunications devices and services. Now we see that 2014 has brought with it a dramatic shift in the way that the wider industry is marketing and selling to its customers. An all-out price war has ensued, the likes of which have not been seen since the historic cola wars of the 1980s. New headlines seem to appear almost daily touting the latest offer from carriers, each trying to outdo the other with promises of the best plans, best rates and best phones. For example…

Telecom Headlines

Given this chaotic marketplace, it is not surprising that customer loyalty has shifted as well (keep reading to learn how). As carriers continue cutting prices and offering more bandwidth, the industry is becoming more commoditized. It is increasingly difficult for wireless carriers to truly differentiate themselves in this highly competitive world. The latest wave of Brand Love explored this new reality and exposed the next best opportunities for wireless carriers, device manufacturers and mobile operating systems. We think you might be surprised… Continue reading

Smartphone Showdown

With the recent release of the iPhone 5, many consumers will wonder if now is the right time for a new phone. So, what are customers looking for in a smartphone, specifically when comparing phones that run the top two operating systems?

To find out, we conducted a study among consumers who purchased a new iPhone or Android phone in the past year. We used a web panel, surveying 100 buyers of each phone type. It should be noted we conducted this research prior to the official announcement and pre-ordering of the iPhone 5.

At first blush, OS consideration seems like a dead heat, with roughly half of each buyer group having considered the other phone platform during their purchase evaluation. However, there is an intriguing difference in previous ownership. Only 22% of recent Android purchasers have ever had an iPhone, but 40% of recent iPhone purchasers previously owned an Android. While this may be an effect of the broadening number of US iPhone carriers, it’s an interesting glimmer of weakness in the Android user base, particularly before the release of iPhone 5.

Why, exactly, are people choosing each type of phone?

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