Mobile technologies are fundamentally changing the way businesses interact with consumers.
Telecommunications companies obviously play a huge role in this, so a new report published by Econsultancy and Adobe gives an insight into how these businesses are themselves adapting to the new digital world.
The Digital Marketing in the Telecom Sector Report also explores the key trends, opportunities and sector-specific issues shaping digital strategies in the telco industry.
The research is based on a global survey of more than 200 telecom executives based mainly in North America and EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa).
Here’s a summary of three key trends identified in the report:
1. The importance of data and the customer experience
Telecom companies naturally acquire a lot of customer data when people sign up to contracts and use their networks, so it’s perhaps not surprising that telco marketers see big data as a huge opportunity.
In fact the research shows that telecom marketers are twice as likely as other companies (19% vs. 10%) to view big data as an exciting opportunity for the next 12 months.
To quote an anonymous respondent:
Big data is a revolution and the hype about it is real. It presents the opportunity to make our organisation more agile, more efficient and more competitive.
Which one area is the single most exciting opportunity for your company over the next 12 months?
According to the annual Econsultancy/Adobe Digital Trends briefing, customer experience emerged as the foremost opportunity across all sectors (20%), but this report shows that telecom companies don’t seem to give it the same level of importance (15%).
This is surprising given the importance of customer experience in differentiating businesses from their rivals, particularly in a competitive market such as telecoms.
2. Investment in digital to continue, especially in content and display
The research shows that telcos dedicate almost half (46%) of their marketing budgets to digital channels, which is significantly higher that the average of 38% across all other sectors.
Looking at where that money will be spent in the next 12 months, two-thirds of respondents (66%) said they plan to increase investment in content marketing.
This appetite for content marketing is consistent with the findings for Econsultancy’s annual Marketing Budgets Report, published in February 2014, which found that this was the area where year-on-year budget increases were most likely.
The second-most popular area for increased spend among telcos was online display (62%), which may reflect a growing ability to reap returns as a result of better use of first- and third-party data to target ads.
Budget plans for digital marketing channels and disciplines (over the next 12 months)
3. Technology is a major stumbling block
Only half of telco respondents feel they have the marketing technology that they need to succeed, which is a major problem for an industry that sees big data as a key opportunity.
While they are more than twice as likely as their peers in other sectors to report this (50% versus 24%), it’s still a worryingly low proportion.
This problem will be tackled in part with increased spending on digital marketing, but that is by no means a guaranteed solution.
Unless there’s a clear strategy in place, organisations might end up with a comprehensive suite of tools that aren’t integrated.
This is something that’s already plaguing the sector, with more than a third of companies surveyed reporting that disconnected technology platforms (39%) is a top barrier to integrated marketing, slightly ahead of organisational structure (38%) and lack of a single customer view (35%).
Download the full report for further insight and recommendations on digital marketing within the telecoms industry.