Cingular: raising the bar for clueless marketing

As a subscriber of the service formerly known as AT&T Wireless, I have to give Cingular props for not fumbling the technical changeover; my service is just as good (or, at my house, as bad) as it was before. The same, sadly, can’t be said for their marketing.

My plan was a promotional deal through Microsoft, my former employer. I have a Nokia 3650 camera phone and a plan that provides me with data minutes, most of which I use in a given month. So how is it that Cingular has decided that I’d be interested in “upgrading” to a free Nokia 6010 that has a tenth of the capabilities of the phone I have now—no “M-Life,” no camera, no Symbian OS?

Either Cingular doesn’t have access to the data about me which would tell them how to market more effectively to me—unlikely, as my bill now carries their logo—or else they’re just choosing not to exploit it. Dumb, Cingular.

Here’s how to get my business as a cell phone customer: stop sending me condescending direct mail pieces that are based on the premise that my phone is a five year old piece of crap. Show me some cool technology that I don’t know about yet. Tell me how to use the phone I have to better integrate with my life. Direct mail is OK—better than marketing email pitches—but it would be better if you did it in an unobtrusive way, say a blog. Just a thought.