by Erik Doescher


“Our Internet is fast.”

“But it’s not just fast, it’s really fast.”

“Really, really, really, really, really, really fast.”

Blazing fast if you will.”

“No wait…it’s lightning fast.”

“Our Internet is so fast it’s like riding a Triple Crown winner while being strapped inside an Indy car that’s on a rocket ship headed to the moon…but like 100 times faster than that.”

Did I mention it’s fast?

The creative team at Pivot has been working on a lot of Internet campaigns recently. And for us, the million dollar question has been: When your Internet is faster, how do you communicate that?

And here’s what we’ve decided: Maybe you don’t always have to.

We can say it’s “fast,” “really fast,” “blazing-fast,” “a million times faster,” etc., but at the end of the day, it’s difficult for the average customer to determine what you mean when you say your Internet speed is “lightning-fast” and what your competitor means when they say their Internet is “lightning-fast.” Lightning fast is lightning fast, right?

Let’s face it, “fast” as an adjective for Internet has lost its punch. Everyone says their service is fast. Even when it’s slow it’s “fast.”

“Fast” is simply the word of choice for Internet, sort of how “absorbent” is the word of choice for paper towels, or “riveting” is the word of choice for the latest bestseller.

At the end of the day, is “fast” really what customers care about? Or does something else trump speed?

And just what would cause a customer to leave their current Internet provider and switch to another provider? Or upgrade with their current provider?

It’s probably not just hearing how “fast” it is. So what then?

Well, maybe they’ll switch if the offer is good enough. But outside of that $300 tablet you’re offering them or an exceptionally bad experience with their existing provider, what’s going to be enough to push the average Joe into actually picking up the phone and calling to learn about other Internet options?

One thing: Experience.

Experience, like only hearing five seconds at a time of their favorite song on Spotify. Or seeing the buffering symbol pop up during the most critical point in their movie on Netflix.

A few weeks ago, after having the same Internet provider for fourteen years, my wife and I started looking for another option. Was it because a new provider sent us a postcard telling us how “fast” their Internet service was and we just couldn’t resist? Nope. It was because for two weeks straight, our Internet service was poor and we were having difficulty streaming video. Fourteen years, and we were ready to leave due to one thing…experience.

So what’s the point?

The point is that maybe our advertising needs to focus less on how fast our service is, and focus more on how it improves the customer experience. On how it will make the customer’s experience better.

Think about it. If your Netflix is buffering every 30 seconds, which message is more appealing to you: “Fast Internet with speeds up to a gagillion megabits per second” or “Never buffer again. Enjoy smooth streaming from here on out.”

We’re guessing most customers would say the latter.

And this obviously doesn’t just apply to Internet service. How can you address customer experience in marketing all of your services?

For instance, how does your TV service improve a customer’s viewing experience vs. just offering them 972 channels of “entertainment?” How does your security system make a customer’s everyday experience with her family better vs. just offering “four sensors and a motion detector?”

The challenge is to determine what’s wrong with your customer’s current experience.  And then let them know how your service solves it.

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