Contextual Engagement: An Opportunity for Telcos

Highlight: With real-time actions, DSPs can complement streaming data-driven insights

Contextual Engagement: The advent of native digital players is modifying the rules of business and such organizations are redefining the customer journey. Expectations of the customers are evolving and this is also impacting the telecom industry leading to some major changes like the democratization of smartphones.

Though this allowed telecom vendors to boost revenue from high data consumption, their original bread and butter (voice and messaging revenues) were threatened. There’s no doubt that with the huge success of over-the-top services and ongoing commoditization, the competition in the industry has boosted significantly.

The customers are changing and now they tend to lose interest in a product/service if it isn’t providing what it promised. For a business, it is essential now to provide the right offer at the right time. Though this is a challenge, enterprises can overcome it by personalizing and contextualizing offers that will drive engagement. What’s important is to comprehend customer behavior at a granular level.

Telecom operators are currently trying to focus on selling their core services to consumers. But those consumers are actually interacting with major over-the-top services like Netflix, Facebook, Spotify, and more. This major shift in the interaction between customers and internet services suggests that the telecom providers need to formulate a marketing strategy that is similar to that of OTT players.

So, what should be the focus points of your marketing campaign…

  • Quick Response: The actions must be initiated in real-time, so that the customers remain engaged.
  • Multi-Channel Interaction: For recognizing what platform individual customers favor, it’s essential for a telecom platform to be able to interact with multiple service delivery channels.
  • Be Comprehensive: Consider as many aspects of the subscriber as possible incorporating factors like time, device, geo-location, language and more.

Hence comes Contextual Marketing into the picture, i.e. the art of determining instantaneously an ideal action focused on the context of each individual consumer. But, how to move ahead with this approach.

Start with Personalization

Relevance of a particular message is critical. Customers frequently receive messages that are poorly timed and completely off target; with personalization, this issue can be resolved. Using Big Data analytics is one of the ways to do this, as it offers a holistic view of the customer’s usage of various services. By getting a better understanding of a customer, contextual data can be easily retrieved that can aid in inter-linking the social network profiles of the users. The next thing is optimal content personalization that is achieved with AI and other intelligent technologies.

If the personalization approach is done right, then it can improve customers’ experience and increase loyalty by delivering notifications and messages that reflect customer needs. In the end, the customer benefits are translated into company benefits. As per research, with personalization acquisition costs will be reduced by 50%, revenues can be lifted by 5-15% and marketing spending efficiency will increase by 10-30%.

Where will you find your users?

Currently, the most extensively used digital channel used by consumers is smartphones. Thus, user data becomes even more critical as it offers higher margins and a huge amount of data that helps in customizing offers for the users.

But the issue is that the telecom operators are still doubtful about how they can take advantage of this opportunity and fabricate digital channels the consumers will love.

The best part about being a telecom operator is that you have access to valuable user data that can allow you to compete with the most renowned OTT players. For example, the operators can track the usage of music apps at an instant for a particular user and hence provide related add-on packs or rewards based on that. TSPs can easily segregate and target the customers.

But, how to know that you are ready for contextual engagement…

You can follow the below-given steps to set up segments that can aid in determining the context on which the strategy will be based.

  • Set up your lifecycle stages: With lifecycle stages you can define where your customer is in their buying journey. Once you know the lifecycle stages of your customers, you can find out leads, sales qualified leads, subscribers and more from the database.
  • Define the persona of your buyer: With a buyer persona, businesses can represent their ideal customer. This helps them classify the contacts and determine what type of content will be suitable and at what platform it should be posted.
  • Audit and filter contact database: Contact database that is created over the years includes thousands of contacts. But you need to find out if the list is still relevant or if it contains a lot of many useless contact details. Filter the bad contact details and focus on the useful ones.
  • Level up SEO strategy: Search Engine Optimization is an ever-evolving landscape, with each passing year there are new techniques and trends coming up. Thus, it’s essential to check your website and optimize it for the search engines. This will eventually allow your target audience to find your content in the right context.
  • Recognize the top performing content: Your top performing content reflects what your target audience wants. In case of TSPs, they can check out what all packages are bought most frequently and can flash them more in the notifications in comparison to others.
  • Work on your website’s UI: Before shifting your complete focus on the campaign don’t forget to pay attention on the main website. Your website is the primary platform that also acts a portfolio, thus it’s critical to check it for any broken links, unnecessary pages and other issues.

Example:

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) wanted to gain the attention of the customers regarding skincare for their product range of Clean & Clear especially designed for teenage girls. But it was obvious that just with a blog or post it’d be difficult to do it. Thus, in order to reach their target customers, they launched their brand within existing teenage girls community sites.

The primary reason was that teenage girls spend most of their time texting with their friends online. By establishing the product amongst them J&J can make sure that more and more potential customers are getting to know about their product. Also, they offered shareable electronic postcards offering free skin analysis that can be easily sent online. There were free samples too of Clean & Clear products.

Due to the viral component, the campaign gained huge popularity and even encouraged girls to refer as many friends as they could. The referrals increased exponentially and helped J&J to put their product in front of the right audience.

Conclusion

Contextual Marketing is one of the best ways to reach your target customers and increase sales and profits. Just remember that this type of marketing requires good data and the ability to use it in the right context. This can only be done by following an effective data-driven strategy that can help in creating a better experience for your customers.

You need to start with what you are providing to your customers, thus bringing context in your marketing to reach the right people at the right time.            

Anubhav Goel

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