Like last year, we wanted to get the industry’s perspective on the challenges, opportunities, and digital-marketing priorities for the future. In collaboration with Ovum, we surveyed 250 marketers from telecom companies — fixed-service providers, mobile-service operators, mobile virtual-network operators, and integrated fixed- and mobile-service providers — across EMEA and the US. The survey was conducted during November of 2015. Here are our favorite themes and findings from the study.
Our new research on the telecom industry revealed some fascinating insights in this hyper-competitive and dynamic industry. Digital leaders in the telecom industry are focusing on and investing in improving customer experiences as a means to improve their bottom lines and differentiate themselves in an increasingly crowded market.
Competition Will Increase in the Hyper-Competitive Telecom Industry
Telecom companies were asked to rate the current and expected levels of competition, with 10 being the highest level and 1 the lowest. As the figure below shows, respondents reported that competition is currently within the mid to high levels, and 60 percent of respondents expect competition to rise to the highest range of 8 – 10 by 2016.
Revenue cannibalization from established and new OTT (over-the-top) players will continue to cause downward pressure on financial performance. This, in turn, fuels the need for telecom companies to constantly innovate with respect to their offerings and the operations that support the sale, delivery, and support of these services. However, given the current flat-to-declining performance of the overall telecom market, operational and cost efficiency have become core requirements of every transformation project. As a result, cost reduction is now an important component of internal business cases and a key motivation for investing in new technology.
Experience Is the New IP (Intellectual Property) | Differentiation Through Customer Experience
Though cost reduction is imperative, telecoms are willing to invest in improving customer experiences as a means to offset competitive threats, and ultimately, to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. When asked “What is the most important strategic response your company is taking to counter competitive threats and rising expectations?” the majority of respondents (25 percent) indicated that investments in improving customer experience was of utmost importance.
Telecom Companies’ Key Strategies for Countering Competitive Threats Are Based on Improving Customer Experience
Investments in improving the customer experience fall into three different departments within a telecom business:
- Networking: Networks are being monitored and maintained consistently.
- Customer Service: Customer care is administered quickly and precisely.
- Marketing: Products and services are targeted, providing a high level of accuracy to ensure customers receive relevant information and offers.
Improved digital experiences continue to rise in importance as telecoms try to move much of their customers’ journeys to digital. Being able to identify and target prospects, convert visits to sales, and up-sell current customers has become the table stakes in this competitive market. Telecom digital leaders have made considerable progress here as well as with post-sales activities such as self-service capabilities, which enable their customers to add new features (such as roaming), monitor data usage, and buy more data. Easy and convenient methods to perform simple tasks result in higher customer satisfaction and reduced cost to serve.
Adobe has a rich history of working with the telecom industry to achieve their digital-marketing objectives; 92 percent of Brand Finance’s top-25 global telecoms have invested in Adobe Marketing Cloud. For example, Verizon Wireless, a long-standing Adobe customer, wanted to increase engagement and enhance customer experiences within sales, customer support, and branding sites.
“We want to help customers reach their goals quickly and easily on our website — whether that means finding the right phone or changing their account information,” says Chris Hansen, associate director of the digital design and development group, Internet sales operations at Verizon Wireless.
Investments in Adobe Experience Manager enabled Verizon to deploy video and dynamic media across Verizon’s digital properties, resulting in a 16 percent increase in conversions on product pages that featured video and a reduction in call-center volumes. Read more about Verizon and Adobe Marketing Cloud HERE.
Bringing great customer experiences to life has, in effect, become a new form of Intellectual Property. “Experience is the new IP” is a topic that I introduced and have been talking about for some time now. Experiences that meet and anticipate a customer’s need, enjoyment, and engagement are difficult to replicate, but if done well, provide substantial differentiation in the market.