media logos

kajeet enlists moms for strategic sales force

Competing with the big cell phone carriers isn’t easy. Not only do they have name-brand recognition, but they also have multi-million dollar marketing budgets. How, then, does a startup MVNO even make a peep in that environment? Many have tried and failed, as we saw in 2007 when a large chunk of the MVNO market vanished. Still standing, though, is kajeet, a cell phone service which targets kids aged roughly 8 to 14. Dubbed tweens, this demographic is largely untouched by the bigger carriers, and kajeet has used this to its advantage. At Forbes.com, Elizabeth Woyke examines how kajeet has used moms to expand its reach.

Many stay at home moms keep up blogs to share their thoughts with fellow parents. Some of them have been lucky enough to find streams of income from their blogs. In this, kajeet saw an opportunity. They recruited a number of mommy bloggers to become evangelists for their products. In return for blogging and twittering about kajeet, the company rewards them with $20 for each new customer they sign up, and then a commission on services purchased thereafter.

The company won’t stop there, though. They’re expanding it to a multi-level marketing (MLM) gig, whereby moms sign up other moms and get paid for their associates’ performances. Like other MLM programs, kajeet charges an up-front fee of $49.99 to receive the demo phone package, though that will be $69.99 once the program expands.

One issue Woyke touches, but doesn’t really expand, is the trust factor. “Kajeet believes moms are the company’s best chance to increase sales, as 85% of Kajeet customers are moms and moms naturally trust other moms when it comes to safety products.” There will always be questions of whether these kajeet moms actually endorse the product, or are doing so to keep up their income. In other words, it’s just like any other sales gig. Mommy bloggers are trying to sell kajeet service just like a retail employee. The difference should not be ignored.

This is certainly an innovative measure on the part of kajeet. They’ve abandoned their physical retail presence in favor of Web only. Websites don’t sell on their own, though. They need marketing machines, just like any other retailer. Kudos to kajeet for figuring out how to adapt to the digital environment.