5 tactics from content marketing’s Batman, T-Mobile CEO John Legere

For John Legere, T-Mobile’s brash CEO, every day is a full-throttled opportunity to become a real-life superhero.

Taking cues from his hero Batman, Legere—the magenta-caped crusader—wields his wits alongside an arsenal of smart technology to outmaneuver his foes, punch far above his (and his once struggling company’s) weight, capture the public’s attention and attract new supporters to his cause.  

A dominant force in social media and content marketing, Legere’s handy utility belt of tactics have shifted the discourse of the entire mobile industry, forcing his “enemies” to react.

1. Listen to your customers

A proven CEO with turnaround experience, Legere was hired to right T-Mobile’s sinking ship. Before saying anything though, Legere spend months studying the market and listening in on customer service calls.

“None of the [technology] mattered,” Legere said of the calls in an interview with Fast Company. “There was this plethora of hatred for this industry and this never-ending list of things people wanted to change. They didn’t want to know what I don’t know. They don’t care!”

Capturing that customer angst, Legere adapted his management, appearance, and communication to embody an underdog spirit—becoming the swearing, ranting antithesis of the entire industry.

For his first public appearance, Legere donned a bright magenta T-shirt and ditched his script, channeling the frustrations of his customers and team.

“My head exploded,” Legere said, “and I just went on a rant about the wireless industry and how I didn’t get it.”

He’s been steadily making waves since, mainlining that same customer angst into successfully resonant content marketing.

2. Choose an enemy, plan the attack

Though some think Legere is more Bruce Wayne—unhinged and bored billionaire playboy—everything he does, says and directs the company to do is a calculated maneuver.

Yes, even the late-night Twitter feuds.

Legere realized for his company to grow he must attract the attention of his competitor’s customers before poaching them. A relentless competitor, this was the game he was built for.

“Declare victory, designate an enemy. Attack that enemy,” he told Fast Company. “The bigger the enemy, the better.”

Find your enemy—whether it’s a Goliath competitor, or simply the pain your potential customers feel—and start fighting. With a clearly defined storyline, your content marketing and ultimately your business will thrive.

3. Deliver what they want to hear, where they are

To ensure his target audience hears his message, and understands he is listening, Legere relentlessly pursues them on their turf using their language. No blah buzzwords or meaningless corporate speak here—just raw, authentic and unfiltered language.

Combined with his fiery competitive streak, and a genuine distaste for his “enemies,” and you have the perfect cocktail of explosive, must-see (and share) Twitter magic. Lather, rinse, repeat.

By successfully translating this empathy and deep customer connection into their content and product offerings, T-Mobile captures the attention and energy generated by Legere on social media into new customers.

4. Engage customers (and employees)

How do you celebrate your team recently being named tops in customer care from JD Power?

Well, when you’re John Legere, you roll up to your Albuquerque call center to thank your team in a Batmobile, streaming your arrival to a screaming throng of magenta-clad employees live via Periscope.

Remember, you can’t spell Batmobile with out T-Mobile.

On a near daily basis, Legere is engaging with current customers, those curious about switching providers, and his energized T-Mobile teammates in genuine, two-way interactions. Taking selfies, answering questions, giving away phones in Batman trivia, autographing huge cardboard cutouts of his own head…All in a day’s work of a modern-day, content marketing super hero.

5. Hustle. Be active

Incessantly active on social media, Legere tweets to his audience of millions an average of 20 times a day. If your counting, that’s four times more than Twitter creator and acting-CEO Jack Dorsey. Throw in a heavy dose of Periscope-powered live streaming, and you never have to go too long without a dose of Legere’s intoxicating riffing.

Combined with traditional media appearances, Legere consistently launches an all-out attack through strategic content marketing—both as an offensive weapon and elaborate, sophisticated subterfuge.

Watch out competitors, because like Batman, Legere is (or at least could be) everywhere.

One day he’s answering customer questions and explaining a recent FCC ruling while jogging through Central Park, the next he’s picking a fight with a rival CEO. And who can forget his signature “Un-carrier” announcements where he is at his best, constantly swigging from a Red Bull. 

“You take your foot off the gas for a second, and they come hard,” Legere said. “So we keep the front foot on the pedal pretty strong.”

Takeaways for your content marketing:

  • Listen and understand the frustrations, and fears, of your audience
  • Pick a fight with a powerful competitor and frame them as the “villains” in your story
  • Educate your audience where they are, reflecting the language they use
  • Engage with customers, teammates and curious consumers to rally support for your cause
  • Remain vigilant—hustle by delivering consistently compelling content
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