ISP Digital Media Use

Part
01
of one
Part
01

ISP Digital Media Use

Three major internet service providers in the US are HughesNet, Viasat Internet, and Earthlink. HughesNet’s digital marketing is based on blogs, press releases (turned into content by third-party sites), utilizing social media and video ads, and touting their connections with and support of the 4-H STEM club. Viasat’s main focus for marketing is their differences — in what they offer and to whom they offer it, as they seek to provide across the globe what no other company has been able to provide — for everyone. Earthlink’s marketing focus has shifted several times in the last decade, mostly based on being bought by other entities.

Internet Service Providers in the US: Overview

  • According to Broadband Now, the US is home to 2667 internet service providers, like digital subscriber line providers, copper providers, cable companies, fiber internet providers, fixed wireless broadband providers, and mobile broadband and LTE providers. Their comprehensive list identifies these as the “top internet providers in the country”: HughesNet, Viasat Internet (formerly Exede), Earthlink, AT&T Internet, Xfinity (Comcast), and Charter Spectrum. Since AT&T and Comcast were already addressed, they were excluded from the list.
  • Therefore, the companies profiled are HughesNet, Viasat Internet, and Earthlink. Notably, no direct information could be identified on the marketing strategies used by any of the companies, so research was conducted into varying aspects of their techniques in order to create case studies that include as much relevant information as was available.

HUGHESNET

Overview

  • HughesNet is one of the largest ISPs in the US; their services are available in 53 states and territories, and they serve nearly 309 M Americans.

Blogs, Press Releases, Other Media

  • HughesNet, like many other companies, publishes a regular blog on their media channel, an example of which can be found here. In this blog/article, the company describes 7 ways high-speed internet can improve a community." Other blogs include topics like modern-day technology for April’s National Inventors Month, how to talk to kids about online security, and who gets the most out of satellite internet services.
  • The company’s media pages also include a Community Page; this page features many articles focusing on HughesNet partners, most specifically the 4-H Club, as well as topics like PBS documentaries and summer interns.

Social Media

  • HughesNet has a Vimeo page, as well as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram profiles. Their Vimeo profile shows 46 videos posted with 931 followers. The page’s tagline reads: “America’s #1 choice for satellite internet,” and videos are in both Spanish (for HughesNet Mexico) and English (for the US).
  • The company’s Facebook profile has nearly 26 K followers and touts the same tagline as their page on Vimeo. Posts include honoring fallen heroes for Memorial Day, promoting the 4-H Stem Lab, and promoting STEM skills for kids. They’ve also posted several recent notices, including one about how usage of the services doubled the week of March 20 (with the shutdowns), and the steps they took to ensure everyone was still enjoying a strong internet connection even though their services were loaded to their maximum capacity.
  • HughesNet’s Twitter profile has a similar (though just a bit different) tagline: “Updates from America’s #1 choice for satellite internet wherever you live.” They have 2893 followers and are following 553 other profiles. The same content that’s on Facebook is also found on their Twitter profile. The company’s Instagram profile has 1504 followers, and another version of their tagline: “Updates from America’s #1 choice for satellite internet. We are passionate about #STEM education & building future leaders! Enjoy our pics!” This page also connects to two additional profiles — both related to the 4-H program.

Social Responsibility

  • The company is noticeably focusing on their involvement with and support of the 4-H group and related STEM activities, as they promote that connections and relevant news/events on all digital avenues — with a number of posts and videos on the topic (or something related).

TV & Video Marketing

  • ISpotTV notes “12 nationally aired TV ad campaigns” for the company, all of which appeared in digital media channels (including YouTube), as well as on television. Their stats indicate that the company “has had 4170 airings and earned an airing ranking of #224 with a spend ranking of #1339 as compared to other advertisers.” These spots include titles like: “Where You Live,” “Within Your Reach,” and “Modernize & Upgrade.” Additionally, there are multiple spots in the group called “Stay Informed,” like “Stay Informed: Save,” “Stay Informed: Free Installation,” and “Stay Informed: $99.”

VIASAT INTERNET (FORMELY EXEDE)

Overview

  • Viasat Internet is another of the largest ISPs in the US; their services are available in 51 states and territories, and they serve over 308 M Americans.

Blogs, Press Releases, Other Media

  • Viasat publishes a regular blog, like most companies; recent blog topics include coping during the global pandemic, how to survive and thrive in this changed economy and world, and challenges for finding internet services outside of typical cable reach zones. One blog of note from August 2019 details the company’s focus on international expansion, and how their work on both domestic and international business (especially recent work in Australia, Brazil, Europe, and Mexico) will help them reach their goals.
  • Viasat’s new “constellation of three satellites” will launch in 2021, and they are focusing energies on how this trio will serve a slew of applications in a range of industries — “from residential and aviation to maritime, military, and enterprise,” and how the company is hoping to “fill in those many coverage gaps.” The article details the company’s long-range strategies of growing their consumer base have kept them successful for 33 years, and how that long game got a boost with their acquisition of WildBlue Communications in 2009, which gave them their first satellite. The addition of the trio is part of that long-game strategy.
  • Their marketing and customer-approach focus for this impending roll-out is based on their work in the aforementioned regions — and will be tailored to each country specifically, as “each country is unique and we need to understand and celebrate these differences,” as well as “how we [can] grow our relationships and business globally.” They state their roll-out and marketing plans will vary and will not a “one-size-fits-all” approach.
  • Their marketing approach currently (and in the future) will be about the choices they offer those individuals and companies without many options for internet services, and they’re using a “pretty interesting differentiated strategy” that will make their products/services “accessible, available, and affordable” globally.
  • Their press releases, like one from August 2019 that saw the company named to “Fortune Magazine’s 2019 Change the World List,” are shared with notable news and information sites, like PR Newswire, as an example.

Comparison & Review Sites / Sponsored Content

  • One strategy used by the company is utilizing comparison/review sites and with sponsored content, like Business.org and Fierce Wireless, as examples. On the former, Viasat is compared to HughesNet for satellite internet, while the latter article goes into detail about the company’s satellite, expansion, and offerings for consumers of all types. This latter article also details the company’s focus on “helping bridge the digital divide” in the US and across the globe.

Social Responsibility & Disruptive Technologies

  • One PR Newswire article on the company touted how “social impact is core to Viasat’s culture,” and is ingrained in the institution from “corporate strategy to employee engagement.” It outlines how the company supports skills- and tech-based volunteering programs, like helping citizens in Puerto Rico rebuild after the last few years of devastating hurricanes.
  • An article from April 2020 on Fast Company details how Viasat won a 2020 World Changing Ideas Award from the firm for their work in “delivering the internet to remote villages” and working to provide “wi-fi for everyone.”

Annual Report Details

  • Viasat’s 2019 annual report discusses several of their strategies that are both business and marketing focused. The first is “leveraging new partner-based business models to gain traction in ‘hard-to-enter’ global markets,” the second is to provide “innovative integrated space/ground architecture” for delivering high-quality services, and the third is “recognizing broadband connectivity is a means to an end, not an end in itself.” Their marketing collateral — for new business (and current customers) are based on these concepts.

EARTHLINK

Overview

  • Earthlink is one of the largest ISPs in the US; their services are available in 31 states, and they serve over 165 M Americans.

Earlier Marketing (2014 - 2018)

  • Prior to its acquisition by Trive Capital (discussed next), between 2014 and 2018, Earthlink changed their marketing focus and strategies. Previous to this, the company had a scattered approach to marketing based on the increasing number of products/services they’ve been offering since their initial inception as solely an internet provider.
  • After the transition, they focused on touting themselves as a “business solutions provider” rather than just a provider of services. The CEO notes, “the new business model needed a different marketing message in order to be successful in the market. So EarthLink changed its positioning message from one that focused on technical components and advantages — like the typical ‘speeds and feeds’ stats — to one that emphasizes how businesses can engage with customers better and improve the efficiency of their staff.” This new marketing focus helped sales teams “have more intelligent conversations with prospective customers,” and increased their customer base.
  • With this transition, marketing collateral included short videos used to grab the attention of possible new customers. Two video examples from this era can be seen here.

Current Marketing Efforts

  • Earthlink was then acquired by Trive Capital in January 2019, and post-transition, their marketing strategies became highly focused on new business development. The CEO noted a re-focusing of company priorities, as well as an expansion of partnerships, the company’s service reach, and available products/services — all toward increasing privacy and security for customers, as well as delivering a “world-class consumer experience” to new and existing customers.
  • Additionally, the company separated out (and sold off) part of the acquisition, putting heavier emphasis on enterprise-level channel marketing and sales, especially toward the retail, hospitality, and healthcare industries. They noted that the acquisition brought a slew of new partners, all eager to cooperate on with the updated company on “emerging solutions.”
  • Part of the company’s strategy to bring internet to every household in America is to focus intently on one thing — being a “pure internet service provider” — and doing it the best way they can, safely, securely, and at a fair market price. This focus — on one thing only — great internet service — was the other strong focus for the company’s new business and marketing strategies.

Blogs, Press Releases, Other Media

  • Like all companies, Earthlink prepares press releases and sends these to major news outlets and journalistic organizations, like BusinessWire and Picante Today, to provide coverage for them. For example, when the company won 2019 awards for Fastest Internet Providers Nationwide and Most Affordable Fiber Internet Nationwide, press releases on the win were distributed by other major news and tech industry outlets.

Comparison & Review Sites / Sponsored Content

  • Another strategy used by the company is utilizing review and comparison sites, like BundleFingers, as one example, as well sponsoring content. The site posts their current offers (with click-to-buy buttons), along with the top reasons to choose Earthlink for internet services, a quick overview of the company, information on speeds and product/service availability, reviews and customer satisfaction notes, and pricing, plans, and promotional information. Sites like these help new customers identify and compare ISPs — pros, cons, and everything in between, and is a common strategy used by companies in this space.
  • Additional examples of digital advertising — via third-party sources include deal-articles like this one from GetInternet, and review articles like this one from Whistleout, and this one from Consumer Affairs.

TV & Video Marketing

  • Two examples of their recent video commercials — both of which focus on the current pandemic — can be found here and here. The tagline for both commercial spots is the same: “All the Internet You Need” and the commercial spots have been featured on the company’s Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube profiles.
Sources
Sources