AT&T today launches CallVantage in New York state. The onslaught will likely be backed by their TV campaign and a very aggressive marketing blitz including lots of press coverage which can be anticipated by looking over their press kit page on their web site.
If you're wondering how series they are taking this, check out their homepage and see the front and center attention AT&T is giving to VoIP. There CEO is a marketer first. This is why he was hired after a long career in the cell phone sector. Vonage, Packet 8, Voice Pulse, Broadvox all better gear up and start realizing that AT&T is coming in a huge way.
If you look at the TV spot that AT&T produced it is very slick. Part commercial, part infomercial it has the feel of a prescription drug spot in voice tone and pace. The set you apart from the crowd clearly appeals to the early adopter, and the almost Orwellian 1984 feel and the look/style of the people they are pulling out of the crowds seems to indicate they are targeting a younger audience. Like I said, Dave Dorman is a marketer, and this campaign has his hands all over it.
This my friends is a campaign. It is not a one shot effort like some companies entering the space are doing. It is not simply a PR effort with announcements that service is now available. AT&T is selling in based on research, both proprietary and secondary. They are offering features people want and communicating the benefits of the features, not only the VoIP service. This is classic marketing. So far. I fully expect that as time goes on AT&T will leverage their event experience to get to the masses. The PR and TV parts of the campaign are designed as much to educate and inform as they are to stimulate trial.
What Dave Dorman has done is stepped up and said that to win the battle for the market, they have to educate the market about VoIP. If you notice, since AT&T announced entry into the space, the VoIP news noise level has increased. Smart marketers know they have to lead the category, not just get news for themselves.
If the AT&T product is as good as the marketing, then the other carriers have to start to look over both shoulders...and then figure out how to market better.
By jumping into New York, perhaps the most influential media market in the USA, AT&T has said the race is now officially on.