The utility industry faces complex challenges, driven by the impact of climate change, the threat of cybersecurity attacks, and the need for further decarbonization of the electric grid. As a vital industry to society, utilities desire new solutions to address better outcomes, including an advanced communications network that, like its electric distribution networks, is more resilient and secure, helps manage cleaner energy sources, and enables customer engagement innovations. Sitting at the center of this is an emerging technology movement that is proven to be the foundation to connect all these needs together: private wireless broadband.
This is the backdrop for Anterix—a wireless communications company that is the largest holder of licensed spectrum in the 900 MHz band in the U.S. This versatile spectrum, similar to the same airwaves your iPhone or Android use, uniquely positions Anterix to accelerate electric grid modernization by enabling private LTE (Long Term Evolution) network solutions and creating a nationwide utility broadband network.
The business goals for which Marketing and Communications need to address are clear:
With the U.S. private LTE and 5G network market size valued at $2.42 billion in 2022, revenue forecast of $13.6 billion by 2030, and over 100 Edison Electric Institute member utilities, there is runway for growth.
Historically, utilities don’t think of their telecom deployments within their electric grid operations strategically or at the c-suite level. In a traditionally risk-averse industry, the status quo is staying the course, or in this case, relying on commercial telecom carriers for their communication and networking needs. Due to millions of advertising dollars spent by AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, a utility-focused company like Anterix faces an uphill battle for competitive mindshare among executives.
Since the Federal Communications Commission’s monumental decision to adopt a Report and Order in 2020—enabling 900 MHz broadband deployment--Anterix has been transitioning from a holder of spectrum assets to a utility industry trusted partner with a platform of services and unparalleled wireless expertise.
These dynamics necessitated the creation of a compelling story to anchor our messaging, challenge the telecom giants, and influence executives to adopt private wireless broadband solutions, specifically Anterix’s 900 MHz private LTE network. The idea was to create a unique brand promise that captured Anterix’s evolution—from a holder of spectrum—to a Trusted Partner.
This brand promise was validated in qualitative and quantitative research:
Anterix is your Trusted Partner to Enhance Connectivity through Private Wireless Broadband Solutions.
To break through even further, a tagline was created, also validated in the same research:
“Anterix. Utility Meets Connectivity.”
Although Anterix targets a specific segment, it was critical not to be misperceived as just another utility vendor. Considering the magnitude of the needs and investment size, the Marketing team created a conceptual target, known as “Smart Energy Champions,” to inspire creative development. This describes this target:
To deliver the Anterix brand promise with impact, a holistic marketing plan was created to connect the Anterix ACTIVE Ecosystem (AAE) solutions platform with IOUs. Tapping into the AAE drove the overall theme of this plan—designed around brand advocacy—thus elevating the solutions created by AAE members who were on the 900 MHz private LTE network.
The multipronged plan included:
All components of the plan were connected through social, email, web, and the AAE member companies’ (100+) channels to help achieve Anterix’s goals.
With limited resources, Anterix punched above its weight—using social and digital to trumpet its vision.
The marketing indicators mirrored business impact. Anterix endeavored to elevate social conversations about private wireless broadband and saw impressive year-over-year growth in key metrics:
Anterix LinkedIn increases, 2022 from 2021:
@Anterix_Inc increases, 2022 from 2021:
Anterix sponsored the “Guide to Private LTE” special issue with the trade magazine, Energy Central, which delivered:
ABM campaigns targeted to top IOUs delivered this impact:
Virtual thought leadership delivered the brand promise through Anterix-sponsored podcasts, which achieved:
Research confirmed that Anterix had a strong Net Promoter Score (NPS):
This all had a direct impact on the ultimate business outcome—gross contracted proceeds. In November 2022, Xcel Energy (Nasdaq: XEL) signed an $80 million agreement to lease Anterix’s 900 MHz private LTE spectrum throughout its service territories. This $80 million agreement is the largest single one of the $209 million gross contracted proceeds to date for Anterix.
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