As evidenced by its television commercials featuring cannibalistic pigs and mucusy motorbike riders, Boost Mobile hasn’t stopped being edgy. But at first glance, being featured on the Home Shopping Network may give one the impression the company has mellowed. Heck, even the snowboarders and half-pipers who once flocked to its brand are arguing about their anti-establishment apparel in this winter’s Olympics. But HSN might provide Boost just the edge it needs to turn itself into a more nationally recognized brand.
Boost featured the first of its 15-minute presentations on HSN in the third quarter of 2009. While it is too early to give the initiative a firm thumbs up or down, both Boost and its master agent and coordinator of the HSN relationship, Mobile Now, say it is going well. The holiday season was strong and proved that Boost’s surprise-free, flat rate approach was tailor-made for this channel.
Steven Qureshi, president and founder of Mobile Now, says the HSN partnership is no more complex than any other resale relationship. The ordering and provisioning system is fully automated and integrated through Mobile Now to Boost. And HSN has access to a zip code and coverage database to make sure callers are in a Boost territory before initiating a sale. And as for divvying up the revenue, HSN simply marks up the Boost products and leaves the rest to Boost and Mobile Now.
In fact everything about this relationship relies on simplicity, from the HSN presentation to the Boost pricing plan. It would not work otherwise and it is why the channel works for Boost and not for all mobile operators. Besides, where can you get 15 minutes of airtime in front of 94 million viewers?
Here’s how it works. When it comes to technology, HSN typically invites a company representative — in this case Boost’s own Melissa Dawson — to talk about the product. Besides displaying the product, the presenters see only a monitor listing the performance metrics from which a presenter can tell if what they just said inspired a spike in call volumes. If so, the speaker keeps going back to that point to re-emphasize it. “It’s a very scientific sell, if you will,” Qureshi said.
HSN requires two things from the companies it does business with: that the presentation and pricing be simple to explain and that the customer experience be positive. Boost has been leading the industry in its approach to simplified billing and has caused other mobile providers to follow suit on its flat-rate unlimited plans.