Meet the CMOs: T-Mobile’s Sherrard pushes ‘unique and meaningful’ ad campaigns to meet customer needs

Andrew Sherrard, T-Mobile's chief marketing officer.

CMO: Andrew Sherrard

Bio: Sherrard joined T-Mobile in 2003 and is responsible for strategic development of all marketing, product development, pricing programs and related activities. He came to T-Mobile from Clorox, where he was a marketing manager as well as a brand manager for the Glad and Pine Sol lines of products. Sherrard holds a bachelor of science degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

How much money does the company spend on advertising? T-Mobile spent $809 million on advertising in 2016, according to Kantar Media, marking a slight dip from the 2015 ad budget of $820 million.

What’s the company’s marketing message? “It all starts with being the Un-carrier—we’re on a mission to change wireless for good,” Sherrard said via email. “And we do that by listening to customers and solving their pain points. Our customers come first. A lot of brands say that, but we have a history of walking the talk. We back it up with every business decision we make—and that includes our approach to marketing.”

What’s the company’s advertising strategy? “We don’t have deep pockets like AT&T or Verizon so we have to be different, more focused, more interesting, and frankly, better,” Sherrard said. “We’re incredibly focused on bringing the Un-carrier to life for customers in relevant ways—during the moments, and in the places, people are most engaged. We develop unique and meaningful creative for each campaign or moment to really drive home what’s important for that audience. And, we follow that up with award-winning social and powerful digital campaigns. Take Super Bowl, for instance. We went BIG with 3 minutes of engaging, hilarious, turn-your-head content. We brought a totally unique group of talent that match our disruptive style of play. Everything focused on the biggest customer pain points of all—data limits and monthly taxes/fees. But we took it beyond TV—it was a completely integrated event across the web, PR and social, resulting in T-Mobile being the second most talked about brand on Twitter, behind Pepsi.”

Is the company’s advertising successful? Like its overall business strategy, T-Mobile’s marketing mirrors an irreverent front office led by CEO John Legere. And the strategy continues to pay off: T-Mobile has effectively disrupted the market in recent years as carriers have moved away from two-year contracts and subsidized handsets and toward zero-rated data offerings and unlimited plans. The nation’s third-largest mobile network operator added 1.1 million total net subscribers in the first quarter of 2017, marking four full years of adding more than 1 million customers each quarter, and it posted $7.3 billion in service revenue, up 11% year over year.