India is the world's cheapest telephony market, with 14 mobile firms jostling for space. Consequently, players are battling for new ways to increase average revenues per user (ARPU). BlackBerry Services - historically targeted at the corporate market - had a proven track record in commanding high ARPUs. As a late entrant to the BackBerry market, Vodafone needed to catch up with rivals and boost its BlackBerry subscriber-base by 50%.
Vodafone realised that attempting to grab share from the corporate market would prove difficult, so instead it targeted a completely different customer - pre-paid phone users. Although pre-paid commanded the lowest ARPU, research found that the youth liked to be seen as affluent, tech-savvy and constantly in touch with friends. Vodafone identified a trend that would form the crux of its campaign: a few youngsters were using their parents' BlackBerry's to communicate with their friends using BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). Vodafone decided to tap into BBM's attraction as a free alternative to more expensive text messaging and introduced pre-paid BlackBerry Services. The multimedia ad campaign positioned Vodafone's offering as the young and vibrant alternative to the corporate BlackBerry offering of its rivals. The benefits of smartphones were demonstrated at youth hang-outs and at Vodafone's 200 stores.
Vodafone increased its share of BlackBerry users by 96%, nearly double its 50% target and within the first four months of the campaign it signed up nearly 154,000 additional subscribers (of which 35,000 were pre-paid). Its post-paid customer base grew 74% from 160,000 pre-campaign to 279,000 post-campaign