Magazine article Marketing

My Month: Spencer McHugh

Magazine article Marketing

My Month: Spencer McHugh

Article excerpt

Marketing director, EE, on a period that has taken him from fibreglass-cow 4G wi-fi hotspots at Glastonbury to helping a grandmother Skype and send texts for the first time.

Summer is one of the busiest times in my work calendar - and I love it.

It's a time to work hard, get inspired and spend as much time out and about as possible.

And that's exactly what I've been doing over the past month - meeting customers and partners and observing first-hand how our products and services are affecting people's day-to-day lives. It's clear that the introduction of 4G to the UK has triggered a revolution in customer behaviour - it's also reminded me that it is a challenging but incredibly exciting time to be a marketer.

First off was a trip to Glastonbury - we've been involved with the festival for more than 16 years, initially through Orange and now with EE - and it's astounding how the appetite for technology there has evolved during this time. Staying connected has become an essential part of the experience and we knew that this year's festival would be the most connected ever.

We were only too happy to play our part, providing a bespoke 4GEE network across the site allowing festival-goers to benefit from superfast wi-fi for free, all thanks to a herd of 4G cows.

The life-size fibreglass cows, installed across the site, had been converted into 4G wi-fi hotspots. Decorated by festival artist Hank 'the bin-painter' Kruger - to ensure that Glastonbury's heritage was integral to the idea - they proved a huge hit.

All this connectivity on site resulted in some interesting stats. Most surprising to me was that we didn't see people just accessing our Glastonbury app, uploading photos and sharing updates on social media, we also witnessed huge numbers downloading and streaming video and songs. In fact, customers downloaded a whopping 2.49 terabytes of data over the weekend, the equivalent of roughly 650,000 Dolly Parton songs.

That's something that simply didn't happen a couple of years ago, and 4G has played a huge part in these changing habits: our 4G customers have increased their data use by 66% in the past year.

With an increased desire for connectivity comes a need for more battery power - no mean feat in the middle of a farm in Somerset. So this year we launched the EE Festival Power Bar, a pounds 20 portable phone charger that could be swapped for another one at no additional cost on site once it ran out of juice. The reaction was amazing. The Festival Power Bar sold out well in advance of the festival and we handled more than 30,000 swaps over the weekend, demonstrating people's desire to stay connected at all times.

All in all it was a stellar festival and, if I'm honest, it wasn't all about work. Norman Jay's brilliant DJ set in the glorious sunshine will live long in the memory, as will a storming end to proceedings from Disclosure.

Continuing the theme of getting out and about this summer, I've also been fortunate enough to attend a series of great events at Wembley Stadium. We recently announced our lead partnership of Wembley and are proud to be working closely together to make the national stadium the most connected in the world.

I'm a lifelong Tottenham Hotspur FC fan and over the years have enjoyed some fantastic moments at Wembley. However, as we appear to be going through one of our 'rebuilding' phases, sadly there was no Spurs at Wembley this year.

However, all was not lost, as Wembley is famous for its fantastic summer schedule, and this year has been no exception, with a range of events from the FA Cup final, to gigs by One Direction and Eminem and the Froch vs Groves boxing match. …

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