Ampd Gets Channelized

Ampd Mobile Inc., the multimedia-heavy MVNO that launched in January on Verizon Wireless 3G EV-DO network, is spending the fall building out and ramping up its channel distribution network.

Ampd focuses on its multimedia capabilities as a differentiator.

We realized that to get the local distribution and coverage we needed, we had to turn to channel marketing, says Geoff Fishman, senior vice president of sales and distribution at Ampd. We started off selling online at our site, but our research clearly pointed to the fact that a lot of consumers prefer to buy from wireless dealers.

Also, the product is differentiated on its content and lifestyle services, so to get that value proposition across requires more of a personalized sale. Its also something people need to hold and experience firsthand that sells the proposition, Fishman notes.

To fulfill the need for tactile marketing, Ampd now is focusing on three distribution channels, made up of dealers and a dual-pronged retail strategy. The retail arm of the initiative involves traditional retail outlets (the provider has inked a national deal with Best Buy Inc., for example), and lifestyle retail stores in malls and content/media-focused outlets, where people can hang out and experience our entertainment proposition right there, says Fishman.

But the wireless dealer channel is a top priority, with its consultative ability and localized reach. The traditional dealers that have the capacity to represent Ampd as a lifestyle choice are of great value, says Fishman. This is not a vanilla service you sell on price, plan and device. We are looking for those that can represent what the media and entertainment portion of our service is all about.

Ampd is working through master agents like American Wireless to sign up hundreds of dealers across the country. To support the ramp up, the service provider has implemented front-end training tools and programs that instruct dealers on how to speak the Ampd language of multimedia, along with other service differentiators like the phones and the quality of the network. It also provides PoS materials like a video loop demonstrating the Ampd service and reinforcing the brand, and merchandising kits. For the master distributors, Ampd offers one-on-one account management and online access to its backoffice systems for tracking and reporting.

As for compensation, Ampd offers two programs. One is a traditional upfront bounty-based program, and the other offers recurring monthly commission in exchange for more vigorous participation, Fishman says, declining to offer specific details.

Online distributors are another target. In July, wireless master agent InPhonic Inc. rolled out Ampd across its distribution network, which consists of its own online sites, partner affiliates and the e-commerce sites it creates and manages for other online businesses, national retailers, member-based organizations and associations. InPhonic also operates Wirefly, a one-stop comparison shopping site for mobile phones and wireless plans.

The dealers are hungry for this sort of product, says Fishman. A lot of the dealers we have also sell VoIP and satellite radio. They see what broadband has done in the landline world. They have been selling basic wireless data services for some time now. They understand the promise of wireless broadband, and are educating the customers on what that is.

He adds that agents have brought a viral marketing effect to the company, since many dealers are choosing to adopt Ampd for their own phone choice. Thats a telltale sign of future success, says Fishman. That shows we have a message that resonates out there. So that will carry over into the dealers own revenue opportunities, especially since as Ampd users themselves, they know exactly what it offers and can demonstrate that to others, with enthusiasm.

American Wireless
Ampd Mobile Inc.
Best Buy Inc.
InPhonic Inc.
Verizon Wireless

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