More than Lip Service

Several years ago I used to hang out with one of the ad reps at my magazine. She would joke that whenever one of her clients began discussing sports she would say dont get me started, indicating once she got started talking about football, for example, they wouldnt be able to shut her up. In fact, Janet knew very little about sports.

Today in telecommunications just about everyone is talking about broadband, IP services and convergence. There are plenty service providers unfurling new broadband networks and a few marketing innovators. But in some ways were still pretending rather than truly understanding when it comes to market opportunities related to this new broadband, IP-enabled world.

In many cases, service providers seem to be focused on driving down prices and their margins for VoIP, broadband and various other services in the competitive marketplace, rather than centering all their efforts on developing unique product offerings and packaging and servicing them in a way that will appeal to the target customers.

Savatar Research reports that many of the 1.8 million SMBs in the United States arent answering the call for VoIP, as new and traditional telco, data and equipment providers struggle to differentiate their offers, and to create compelling price and product strategies that ring true to SMB owners. The study reveals that the SMB market is ready to move to VoIP. Yet it says that VoIP providers have not tuned their sales processes or their pricing and offering strategies for this market, and that SMB decision-makers are unclear where to turn for the best VoIP options.

At CompTel/ASCENT this week, there are a lot of opportunities both on the exhibitor floor and in keynotes and sessions for attendees to educate themselves on how to break out and be a winner in this new-generation networking world. May I recommend one particularly salient event, which I am moderating. It is todays New Revenue Streams and Services Using IP, sponsored by Virgo Publishing, the parent of xchange magazine, of which I am editor.

This panel features Kevin Brown, vice president of marketing at Pannaway Technologies, who will focus more on revenue generation on the consumer side; and Jeff Silbert, vice president of marketing and sales at M5 Networks Inc., who will discuss opportunities to win and keep business customers.

Paula Bernier

Editor in Chief

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