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Are 31% customers waiting to be sold to?

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In a recent survey by Sapio Research, 31% of consumers say their mobile operators provide ‘utility like’ services, but say there is an opportunity for operators to “offer more services and better engage with me”. Does this represent an immediate market opportunity of almost a third of mobile customers who want to buy digital services from their operators?
Are 31% customers waiting to be sold to?

Openet recently held a press event in Dublin to discuss the findings of the recent survey we commissioned with Sapio Rsearch which examined consumers’ views on the digital leadership of mobile operators. Part of the discussions focused on the question, do consumers view operators as providing utility like services. The good news for operators is that only 21% out of the sample of 1,620 consumers say that they ‘will always view their mobile operators as providing a utility service’. These would represent the traditional ‘tough sell’ segment when looking to upsell digital services (i.e. any service that can be used via a smartphone). 32% are already believers and “consider their mobile operator to be a key digital facilitator that engages with them and delivers real value to them”. 17% of the sample have no opinion either way, but the most interesting segment was the 31% who currently see their operators as providing utility like services, but say “there is an opportunity for mobile operators to add more value and engage with them”.

Does this 31% represent the immediate opportunity for operators to upsell digital services to and get them to start using more digital channels for engagement? Is this the telecoms equivalent of the ‘silent majority’? Would a small amount of marketing and selling convince them to sign up for the operators’ new TV offer, music service, banking or gaming service? Also, getting these consumers to engage using digital channels, shouldn’t be too much of an uphill struggle, as they said that they want their operators to engage with them.

But selling content isn’t like selling a ‘utility-like’ service. The issue with a lot of content is that the appeal is subjective. A general football TV offer is standard fare. However, being able to offer a Liverpool TV special to people based in Liverpool could perform better. Conversely, a Manchester United TV offer made to people living in Liverpool, wouldn’t get too much of a pick-up and PR nightmare could be significant. The message is a very simple one – know your audience. For operators (theoretically) this shouldn’t be too hard. They have a lot of customer intelligence in their marketing databases, they have real-time usage data. As for execution, they have the channels to send out contextually aware notifications. While some operators are using joint real-time usage data and marketing data from their data warehouse to push personalised and contextual marketing offers, some aren’t and are still relying one a ‘one size fits all’ approach to offer marketing.

At Openet we’ve seen some operators implement real-time offer management using real-time usage data (collected primarily for use in charging and policy). They enrich this data with customer info from the data warehouse. Next stage is then running this data past a range of pre-build offers in the offer catalogue and triggering the most appropriate contextual aware offer – in real-time. The results have been impressive with one customer reporting a 28% increase in offer uptake. One consideration is that one person’s ‘personalised contextual marketing’ is ‘creepy marketing’ to another. Knowing a customer’s propensity to look at or ignore offers can help here.

The systems to use real-time data to deliver contextual personalised offers already exist. What’s interesting is that there could be a very large (31%) segment of mobile consumers who are just waiting to be sold to. Using real-time, contextual marketing could be the tool to help convert this massive group of customers into believers who are buying digital services from their mobile operators and engaging through digital channels. The technology is already there. The market is there and the opportunity is now.

 

Click here to download the Openet / Sapio Research Paper: Mobile Operators – Digital Leaders or Also-Rans

Blog Author

Martin Morgan
Vice President of Marketing

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