At the recent CTIA show in Las Vegas, much of the talk centered around how service providers need to focus on generating revenue from advertising as companies like Google will be giving away many of the services they hope to charge for.
A good example of such a service is Google Maps which utilizes cellular tower triangulation to approximate GPS. It doesn’t stop there of course… With Google Gears for Mobile, Google is in the enviable position of allowing mobile devices to utilize hosted applications whether or not there is a live internet connection.
It isn’t news that Google has a head start in delivering services and advertising… Now carriers need to catch up.
But service providers are terrible at getting into new business areas and they have little experience in advertising. You know, that reads a bit harsh. Allow me to rephrase… Let’s say instead, that if wireless carriers learned to sell advertising as well as they spend money on their own ads, they will be in great shape.
What is the first step in becoming a better advertising company? In my view it is mastering how to advertise your own services to your own customers. After all, the bewildering array of services providers have in their arsenal is confusing to keep track of, let alone sell.
Enter Pontis, a company dedicated to enabling service providers to target market customers on a granular level ensuring the right offer gets to the right customer. The company provides a graphical, drag-and-drop interface which allows marketers to set up multiple campaigns based on complex criteria. These campaigns can be designed in advance and events can be predicated by triggers which alert the system to take some sort of action.
Guy Talmi the Senior Marketing Director at Pontis calls this concept "managing the marketing relevance of each customer through dynamic adaptation of product offer and purchase experience." Certainly this statement effectively sums up what the Israeli-based company does.
One of the first steps in any properly customized campaign is the segmentation step which allows you to apply analytics to purchase data in order to differentiate various customer classes or subsets.
Your analysis could point out for example that mobile prepaid customers are not topping off as often as they used to. Could the problem be these customers are being lured away by another offer from the competition?
Either way, you need to respond, right? One way to do this is to segment the customers who are not topping off and come up with a way to turn your churn lemons into returning customer lemonade.
You can further segment this group into customers who use SMS, Java games, video downloads and ring tones. Now you are ready to play the game of Churn Reduction. All you need is a board, some plastic playing pieces and a friend. Just kidding, in this game you just need solutions from Pontis (or equivalent) and some imagination.
In this hypothetical example you could send messages to your selected customers offering them two free ring tones if they top off their accounts with 10 euros or more. If this works well, you can come back to this audience at a later date and offer a large discount on future ringtone purchases if they top off with 25 euros or more.
The segment that didn’t respond should not be abandoned. For them you could offer a 20% bonus on top off amounts with a 10 euro minimum for example.
Using solutions from Pontis, you could achieve this marketing outreach with WAP push, SMS, MMS or other means.
The system also allows reminders to be sent before expiration deadlines.
Pontis handles the systems integration if needed and as you might imagine, this is the tough part of making all of this targeted and integrated marketing solution work.
Although I used a wireless example here, the company’s solutions are also powering VoIP, cable and IPTV providers around the world.
My final thought to service providers is that you should explore the exciting world of customized advertising very soon as getting into the advertising market seems more like a mandate from an evolving market than something you embark upon when you feel the time is right.