The Future of Digital Marketing in Telecom Isn’t Customer-Centric, It’s Software-Centric
Now, at first glance you may be thinking, ‘the future of digital marketing is software-centric!? No way, this is 2018, the age of customer-centric digital marketing strategies and unique, personalized branding that’s built to strengthen the relationship between the consumer and a brand.‘
Well, if you’re up in arms about the title of the blog, please let me state my case, and I hope it will make more sense.
Unfortunately, the telecom industry is extremely complicated. Every digital marketer and executive that’s spent any time striving for success within this industry will be the first to tell you that. The reason being, as fast as technology has evolved in the last five years, the telecommunications industry has to move even more quickly to stay ahead of the game. In all honesty, they fuel the game.
Because of this increase in technology, we as humans have evolved as consumers. Three major factors have massively influenced this transformation.
Now, like giving a child a taste of candy, these telecommunications companies have given us, the consumers, a small sample of the speed and ease of a mobile generation; and like always, once humanity becomes accustomed to something we want more.
This sneak peek leads me to the theory that marketers need to embody software-centric digital marketing strategies for this evolution to come to fruition.
For digital marketers within the telecom industry to continue to improve their customer-centric digital marketing strategies, these marketers continuously have to study big data and then find a way to organize it, make sense of it, and use it to speak to a specific audience.
This is not an easy task for digital marketers to complete on their own; there’s just too much information for humans to process and too many hands in the pot at the same time. That’s where marketers are looking for help from A.I. technology, the Internet of Things (IoT), and blockchain technology to make this dream of perfecting the user journey a reality.
How Telecom Organizations Are Using Software-Centric Strategies To Make Their Brand More Customer-Centric:
- Customer service chatbots: A.I. technologies will allow providers to improve their communication on customer service inquiries and give the call centers more detailed information so they can route customers to the proper customer service agent or directly to salespeople.
- Voice search capabilities: A.I. technologies will allow customers to explore or purchase media content by spoken word rather than remote control, seamlessly improving the customer experience.
- Predictive maintenance: A.I. technologies will give companies the ability to fix problems with telecom hardware (such as cell towers) before they happen by detecting signals that usually lead to failure.
The craze that’s surrounding data science and big data may as well be considered the oil or gold rush of our millennial age. Even Rob Roy, the chief digital officer at Sprint would agree:
If digital marketers within the telecom industry wish to improve their customers’ lives, they have to collect what users are searching for in search engines, study their website’s analytics, and be able to seamlessly bridge the gap between the customer’s desktop experience, the mobile experience, the retail experience, and the call center experience.
These are no longer separate parts of the sales and marketing journey. They all fit together now.
This holistic view explains why digital marketers have to become increasingly software-centric to improve our customers’ lives. Even Google studies show telecommunication companies need to be software-centric to produce a successful advertising strategy.
To accomplish this task, A.I. systems are necessary to gather the data and present it in a way that’s digestible to many different teams within a telecom organization.
For telecommunications companies to perfect the customer-centric process and genuinely personalize their messaging and marketing strategies, they need to focus on machine learning systems to aid marketers in getting the brand-to-customer communication right.
This is where the successful telecommunication companies have to pivot their focus.
Since the beginning, telecom industries have fueled human-to-human communication. Companies like AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint would provide a phone or internet service to consumers or businesses, and everyone would go on their way.
Tuesday’s announcement of the AT&T and Time Warner merger shows it’s not the same these days. Telecommunications companies have had to transform themselves as brands because they’re not just phone or internet companies anymore. They’re also entertainment organizations as well as data organizations that are responsible for fueling the enormous surge of people watching online content and relentlessly searching the internet for education, answers, or products and services.
Technology has given way to a new, evolved customer, which gave way to a newly evolved telecommunications industry that’s trying to evolve with machine learning so it can continue to serve the evolved customer.
When these companies can successfully organize and act on their compiled data, it allows all digital marketers, SEO specialists, and paid search managers to do three things:
Every Telecom Company Must Understand the Customer “In the Moment”
Going back to Rob Roy’s quote from earlier, compiling massive amounts data is terrific, but if your corporation doesn’t know how and when to act on that customer data and present the right customer with the right message at the right time, then that data is as useless as subtitles in a silent movie.
A platform like Google has millions of users performing millions of searches every day. There’s no better way to get to know who your customers are and what they care about than studying what they are asking Google or Bing.
If major telecom brands can use machine learning to digest the essential questions, deduct their customers’ “jobs-to-be-done,” and then strategize their sales and marketing efforts around their customers’ pain points, they’re sure to elevate the user experience while creating a generation of brand-loyal consumers.
Telecom providers must quickly understand that a successful digital marketing strategy in this industry is not about how you can gain more leads and potential customers. It’s about organically creating a relationship in which your organization provides real, tangible value to your customers.
The video below, from David Gibbon, lead Inventive Scientist at AT&T does a great job of describing how they’re utilizing A.I. to improve the customer experience.
Telecom Companies Have Transformed the Customer, and Now the Customer Is Transforming Them
Over the last few years, customers have been introduced to incredibly personalized, tailor-made digital experiences from innovative brands.
This has allowed the customer to become incredibly independent in their choices in where they shop, what they watch, how they educate themselves, and what information they want to share. It’s made them more demanding, more impatient, and ultimately more important than ever before. Now, the same consumers are demanding an identical seamless user experience across the telecom industry, and rightfully so.
A strategic way for marketers to accomplish this feat is to implement cost-effective and specific communication strategies that:
- Tap into the customer’s pain points
- Attract their inner desires
- Demonstrate differences between brands
- Utilize visual metaphors
- Connect to their emotions
If marketers in the telecom industry are going to deliver content, it better be focused on the person you’re sending it to; but most importantly, it has to help them complete their “jobs-to-be-done” with as little strife as possible. Because in our “buy it now” and “near me” mobile generation, any friction in the purchase or user process will end in customer abandonment.
They must try to innovate for the future of personal devices like wearable and automated technologies.
Telecom Executives Must Break Down the Barriers in Their Organizations
There is no quicker way to fail at innovation in the telecom industry than to segregate your company and its employees.
The ability for these organizations to gather data and share it with all necessary teams is essential to success.
But, in a company that has 20,000 + employees, it can be challenging to instill a transparent communication strategy. These gaps between your sales teams, marketing teams, creative teams, data engineers, and executives are what cause poorly organized and ineffective marketing strategies.
If your organization is still working in the old school “silo” thought process, where each department works separately in their own world, then be prepared to put in some time and effort.
Prominent organizations need to break down the walls dividing teams to understand their data and the decisions they must make if they want to innovate for success.
As our customer begins to span several different parts of the customer journey, from online to offline, telecom companies must switch their marketing and communication strategies around those shifts. They need daily inter-organizational conversations discussing the data they’re researching and acting upon with a clear goal as to what they want to accomplish with that data.
- Store visits
- Customer Service
When the pillars of their organization were broken down, it allowed them to discover the fact that targeted search ads would be an effective digital strategy to promote an influx of in-store purchases.
Well, it proved to be successful because Sprint saw a 32% increase in in-store sales and a 26% increase in digital sales driven by search. These insights may have never been discovered if it weren’t for some innovative thinking in how our organizations share the data we’re mining.
Telecom Companies Must Focus on Relevant & Empathetic Content
For your audience, customer experience is everything. If your marketing, sales, and data teams are truly working in unison, then they’ll be able to successfully strategize efficient and effective communication and paid media strategies to reach the right customer with the right message at the right time. That’s the goal.
Telecom companies must place an enormous amount of focus on perfecting mobile experiences for the customer, whether it’s the ability to watch their favorite show on their iPhone from the comfort of their couch or get full cell service in the middle of the Mojave desert, it’s all vital for success.
In addition to mobile, they must also try to innovate for the future of personal technology like wearable devices and automated instruments.
The big 5, well, technically now the big 4: AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, Sprint & T-Mobile all essentially control a vast majority of everything that every person sees on their phone, their computer, their TV, or their tablet device.
For the customer relationship to improve and grow with these telecom organizations, they’re having to innovate their internet speeds and wireless capabilities to 5G, while strategizing how they can also own and distribute the in-demand content to their customer base.
Take AT&T for example. The merger that was approved on June 14, 2018 just completely disrupted the whole telecom landscape in an attempt to cut out the middle-man between their internet services and the television and entertainment providers.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson is quoted as saying…
“Turner has an amazing inventory of advertising that they just kind of sell broadly. It’s not a very targeted advertising approach. AT&T has an amazing amount of data — customer data for 40 million pay TV subscribers in North and South America, 130 million mobile subscribers, 16 million broadband subscribers. We have really great customer insight on what kind of shows and media content they’re viewing, where they are, all kinds of information on the consumer. Can you pair a very formidable ad inventory with a very formidable amount of data and information on the customer — viewership data and all kinds of other information — and can you create something unique just from a straight advertising platform and change how you’re monetizing content?”
What This Means for Telecom Organizations
The future of the telecom industry lies within the ability to engage with your audience regularly. To achieve this feat, we’re going to see major telecom companies attempting to produce their version of a social media advertising platform like Facebook or Instagram, and they’ll all begin to partner with entertainment studios to seamlessly create and deliver their own content.
They already have the users and the data, now the only thing they need to deliver is the actual platforms.
Telecom Organizations Need To Implement These Tactics Into Their Marketing:
- Optimize their experience for mobile
- Increase communication channels
- Produce empathetic customer experiences
- Speak to a narrower, more exact audience
- Utilize word of mouth
The purpose of any piece of information, whether it’s an ad, a blog post, a case study, or a Facebook video, is to improve your customer’s life and provide value.
Now, with the introduction of 5G technology, blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), and the entertainment and studio mergers, we’re seeing enormous amounts of data being communicated between machines which will eventually lead to improved customer experiences, advanced preventative technologies, and more personalized messaging.
To Sum Up The Software-Centric Approach Towards Improving The Customer-Centric Strategy
Put the Mobile Experience First
- Enchant your customer and continuously add value to their life. Every marketer within Telecom must deliver a fast, relevant, and assistive experience to every consumer. It’s essential for your customer journey to provide incredible mobile browsing and streaming experiences.
- Make their experience smooth and seamless, so they’re not overwhelmed by making a decision.
Properly Use Your Data & Analytics
- The top telecom companies are using A.I. technologies to gain a better understanding of their consumers. When you combine that data with smart automation processes, this enables mass customer personalization. The ability to connect that data to your brand’s media execution is paramount to success.
- Play into the research-obsessed customer and find ways to assist their journey and make them a part of your brand family.
Make Your Customer Communication Omni-channel
- If your telecom organization is going to succeed, you have to bridge your customer’s online and offline experiences, delivering a seamless journey from the first search to the education process to the purchase decision.
- Find transparent and empathetic ways your customers can tell you what’s important to them, so your organization can evolve for the future.
If managing your organization’s online marketing sounds like something outside of your wheelhouse, let’s chat; Evolve Digital Labs is here to help.
Evolve Digital Labs specializes in SEO, SEM, and website analytics for telecommunication organizations large and small.
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