By Stephanie Forrest, marketing director at CommProve

We talk a lot about innovation in the telecoms space but it’s rare that we talk about marketing as part of that discussion.

Fierce competition in a continued economic downturn makes the need for effective marketing a business imperative.

The consumerization of IT, and the growth of new channels such as social media, creates new opportunities ripe for exploitation.

Yet, all too often, in the middle of all this fluidity is a staid marketing department or one that is frozen by senior management who have little understanding or interest in marketing.

At a time of huge economic, technological and social change, creating and advertising a slightly tweaked tariff is simply not relevant.

On the B2B side of telecoms, a series of data-filled product announcements does not secure attention. Pre-sales content is not marketing.

Companies need to clearly articulate their vision of the future and cut through the same old industry buzz words with language that is easy to understand and that clearly explains how operators can improve customer service and profitability, and the role the vendor has to play in that journey.

For example over the summer, with all of the sporting events and festivals that took place in the UK, it was safe to assume network congestion would be a hot topic.

Instead of a pitch about CommProve’s RAN awareness software we conducted some research into consumer expectations and experiences of live mobile video.

The results, no surprise, showed that 70 per cent of those that had tried to watch a live event on their mobile had been unsuccessful.

An integrated campaign, embracing digital and social media, ensured that we were able to reach our niche audience on multiple occasions through different channels.

A short, neutral white paper presented the research in detail and was the central piece of content that the audience was driven to via PR coverage in trade media, our own Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn news feeds and an engaging infographic.

Outreach to prospects was complemented with a highly targeted advertising campaign on LinkedIn.

By focusing on our target audience, and creating useful content relevant to their job role, we attracted their interest and engaged with them.

Customers do not want to be ‘sold to’ but respected as intelligent people who make purchasing decisions.

In helping to inform them, a company earns the right to be considered.

Operators and vendors alike need to take a far more respectful and insightful approach to their propositions and communications.

Marketing teams need to re-evaluate how they tell the company story, and develop strategic engagement programmes that touch the consumer at multiple points and that have clear KPIs.

Just as the industry needs to reinvent itself to survive, so too does marketing.

Done well, marketing can lead the business transformation that needs to happen and not follow it.

Photo: © alphaspirit

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