CREDO Mobile’s Marketing Strategy–Focus on AT&T and Verizon’s Anti-Environmental Contributions

CREDO Mobile, the telecommunications company that donates a portion of its proceeds to progressive causes, is running a special promotion this week that ends Friday, May 7th.  It’s actually a heckuva promo.  Free Blackberry Curve, up to $200 to buy you out of your current contract, and 25% off your bill for the first 12 months.  I know this because, as a former customer, I’m on Credo’s email list.

In this promotion, I found the email particularly intriguing.  It cuts right to the chase:

  • If you’re with AT&T, you should know that since 1998, they’ve contributed $23,000 to Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, who “favors the death penalty” for abortion providers; as well as $9,000 since 2007 to Representative Gene Taylor (D-Miss.), who recently compared the Gulf Coast oil spill to “chocolate milk.”
  • If you’re with Verizon Wireless, you should know they’ve donated to the Texas Freedom Fund, which supports politicians like Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), and earlier this month took sides in California’s gubernatorial election by donating $10,000 to Meg Whitman.

In contrast, CREDO Mobile fights for the causes you believe in. Since 1985 we’ve donated more than $65 million to progressive nonprofits like Doctors Without Borders, Planned Parenthood, Global Fund for Women, Earthjustice and the ACLU.

Now, I’m a progressive guy.  I know that Michelle Bachmann may perhaps be the most insane (and evil) politician ever to exist.  (No, really, she even puts Sarah Palin to shame in terms of naivety and awe-inspiring myopia).  I support the same groups CREDO does, like Planned Parenthood International, which I wrote in a former post was perhaps the absolute most effective use of any donation money I could make to a non-profit for long term global sustainability.  All of which begs the question:

Why am I a former customer?  In the case of CREDO, I let my membership lapse because I found a better deal.  I know.  I’m a jerk.  But at the time, CREDO was offering only plans that were limited in minutes.  I had gone over and racked up consecutive bills of $300+ for several months running.  But I’ve always wanted to return to CREDO.  Upon seeing the email I referred to above, I followed the link to the CREDO site and found the following ad:

I was pleased that I did not see my current cell provider on the “dirty duo” list, but, of course, I know it’s probably not much better that those–and certainly not as forthcoming as CREDO.

But I also didn’t see how much switching would cost me.  And that’s something that’s stopped me several times from joining CREDO.

Scrolling to the next page, following the link that says “Plans,” I found, to my pleasure, that CREDO now offers an unlimited plan–but it’s the same price my current provider charges.

NOW WE’RE TALKING!

My good friend Bill Roth, a 3p writer and sustainability strategy advisor to businesses, wrote in his book The Green Secret Sauce that businesses should seek “cost less, mean more” solutions, meaning that if green products cost less than conventional ones, the tipping point will be reached and our course toward a green economy will be completely secured.

I don’t necessarily agree with Bill on this.  I think a more apropos solution might be “same cost, more benefit.”  If price competitive, the choice for most consumers, I think, would be to go green and healthy with their purchasing decisions.  But his point is a brilliant one.  Enough customers will still purchase based on price that unless green products are, well, at least really close on price, the path to a sustainable future will continue to proceed slower than it needs to.

CREDO has now achieved price parity, service parity, and more benefit with its competitors.  My apologies to CREDO if they’ve been offering similarly priced plans for a while now.  I would have switched much earlier if I’d known.  But count me in for this promotion, and as long as you continue to offer a “same cost, more benefit” solution, I’m all yours.  Perhaps mentioning that in the main email you send to the already progressive members of your email list?  We already know you’re cool.  Tell us you’re price competitive, too, and you might see a better conversion rate!

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Scott Cooney is the author of Build a Green Small Business (McGraw-Hill).

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Scott Cooney, Principal of GreenBusinessOwner.com and author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill, November 2008), is also a serial ecopreneur who has started and grown several green businesses and consulted several other green startups. He co-founded the ReDirect Guide, a green business directory, in Salt Lake City, UT. He greened his home in Salt Lake City, including xeriscaping, an organic orchard, extra natural fiber insulation, a 1.8kW solar PV array, on-demand hot water, energy star appliances, and natural paints. He is a vegetarian, an avid cyclist, ultimate frisbee player, and surfer, and currently lives in the sunny Mission district of San Francisco. Scott is working on his second book, a look at microeconomics in the green sector.In June 2010, Scott launched GreenBusinessOwner.com, a sustainability consulting firm dedicated to providing solutions to common business problems by leveraging the power of the triple bottom line. Focused exclusively on small business, GBO's mission is to facilitate the creation and success of small, green businesses.