Let’s face it. Mobile operators have what it takes to both understand and influence the behaviors of their subscribers to drive better results. They have tons of data on their customers. And they have a marketing channel that allows for anytime, anywhere engagement. So what does success look like for the in-base marketer at today’s top mobile operators?
It isn’t high take rates or record level click-throughs. It’s the ability to influence the right behaviors over time to drive significant and sustainable business performance. To be more direct, it’s the ability to impact the KPIs that matter.
With this in mind, I wanted to highlight a few lessons learned from working with mobile operators that anyone focused on mobile can apply to their mobile marketing approach:
1. Some data is better than no data
Disparate, structured, unstructured, stored, internal, external…the list goes on. Data’s not always pretty but don’t let the complexities or eagerness to boil the ocean bring your marketing efforts to a halt. Yes, in an ideal world everyone would be able to access all data from across every silo via a single, always-available source but that reality is several years down the road for most companies – including the operators.
The key is clearly defining the behaviors you would like to change and then identifying the data required to derive insights around those specific behaviors. For example, a major initiative for nearly every mobile operator is to prevent customers from leaving. With just a few data inputs, such as usage and payment history, behaviors associated with churn can be identified to then guide appropriate actions.
Remember – it’s not about having the most data; it’s about using the right data.
2. It’s all about relevancy, not immediacy
There are a lot of questions around ‘real-time’. For mobile operators – that have massive volumes of data flowing through their systems – ‘real time’ can be a point of contention among stakeholders as some link the value of data-driven marketing to the ability to collect real-time data. What everyone needs to realize is that real-time is the nirvana i.e., the best case scenario.
What I’ve learned firsthand, however, is that a delay in gathering and analyzing data does not equal a show stopper. Mobile operators have realized that it’s not as much about immediacy as it is relevancy. After all, is an offer that’s delivered to the device really deemed valuable if it’s delivered at the right time but not in the right context? The key is having rich customer insights to ensure a stream of contextually relevant actions, and to integrate results as quickly as possible based on what is being tested and learned.
The goal is to get what you can when you can and then analyze and act on it accordingly – whether it meets the definition of ‘real time’ or not.
3. Social effects can spread quickly
The beauty – and risk – of mobile customers is their ability to connect with, share, and badmouth all at the drop of a hat. What some mobile operators are doing is leveraging advanced social graphing to determine just how much of an impact social influence can have throughout someone’s network, and the results are pretty compelling.
By applying this understanding of connections to a specific marketing goal, such as reducing churn, marketers are able to visualize the impact that one churning customer can have throughout their network. With these insights, coupled with the ability to proactively monitor for changing behaviors, marketers are able to spread the positive and prevent the negative.
Before the digital age, marketers were challenged to identify and reach their customers – and the idea of timeliness and relevance was a moot point. With the mobile device, marketers no longer have an excuse and consumers are expecting an experience that’s worthy of one-on-one engagement.
With this in mind, mobile operators are upping their mobile marketing strategies to ensure each and every interaction is tied to achieving specific KPIs. And in return, they’re realizing both short-term and long-term successes.