Updated on 13/01/2023
Introduction to Digital Marketing for Internet Service Providers
The best digital marketing strategies for Internet Service Provider are based on two pillars: data and people. What does it mean concretely and operationally? We see it in this article.
There is no economy, there is no market, there is no production and modern services without digital; and there cannot be digital without Internet Service Providers, which provide the “raw material”, that is, connectivity, the network itself. It seems important to start from this awareness, very basic, but that should never be taken for granted. Especially today, at a time when technologies are evolving at a very rapid and unprecedented pace, as well as user expectations: be they private, companies or public administration.
According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index:
- Internet users this year exceeded 5 billion;
- Connected devices have reached the figure of 28.5 billion by the end of 2022 (against “only” 18 billion in 2017);
- The average broadband speed will reach 75.4 Mbps (account 39.0 of 2017);
- Moreover, global traffic, always by 2022, should reach 4.8 zettabytes (therefore, 4.8 trillion bytes, a staggering figure).
Then came the current period of emergency. The challenges of connectivity have multiplied with the Covid-19 pandemic: the lockdown period, the increasingly widespread turn to smart working or distance learning, the transition to digital for shopping and payments, when even entertainment and social interaction have become increasingly “remote.”
In short, it’s a period of acceleration, a time when companies do not want to be caught unprepared in order to preserve market positions, reputation, and the trust of users.
In our previous post , we talked about the present and near future challenges for the ISP industry. Now we want to focus more specifically on digital marketing for Internet Service Provider. Let’s start with a fundamental awareness: the starting point for any digital marketing is a simple word: “data”.
Big Data: What is it? How can it be used?
By now, we’ve all heard about ”Big Data.” Actually, it means something very simple (i.e. a huge amount of “digital information”), but with complex and multiple implications. Understanding these implications, and knowing how to exploit them, is the key to the success of digitization in every sector: from process optimization to marketing and customer dialog.
Let’s take a step back, however, and start with a more technical definition, provided by Gartner: “Big data is high-volume, high-velocity and/or high-variety information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing that enable enhanced insight, decision making, and process automation”.
How does all this translate, on a concrete and operational level?
It can be said that Big Data allows you to do something very “old”, but with the most modern tools of digitization: that is, to perfectly analyze your production processes, to have a detailed understanding of how it evolves over time; and, at the same time, to get to know your customers, your target audience, as much as possible. Digital Marketing and Customer Service depend on the efficient analysis and interpretation of this huge amount of “digital traces” that are left by customers. Without knowledge of the target, in fact, you risk to proceed only blindly, by trial and error.
Big Data, therefore, is today the compass that companies must use to put their strategies on track; it’s also the parameter on which to measure the results achieved. In a word, this information is the most precious asset of any business, and that includes for Internet Service Providers.
The ultimate goal? To transform this data into coherent and effective strategies, which, in turn must aim to create solid and lasting relationships with customers. In short, you will start from numbers, in short, to shift your attention to people.
From Big Data to Data-Driven
The starting point is data, the arrival point is people. It’s between these two poles that the best digital marketing strategies for Internet Service Provider must be developed. There are multiple strategies possible: from traditional email marketing (always effective and functional, because it allows you to directly reach consumers), to positioning on search engines through a surgical attention to Search Engine Optimization (SEO); and any strategy must include the collection and analysis of data, of course.
Then, there is the whole field of influencer marketing; even in this case, companies must have a very precise understanding of the target audience. Social media marketing is absolutely essential today. Even further upstream, there is “content marketing”, with the parallel opportunities that open up through the “education” of the audience (including the use of video tutorials).
In a previous post we explored the different types of marketing, including best practices and the most successful examples. Read the post here.
There are two points, however, that require our focus:
- there is no perfect recipe that is valid for everyone. On the contrary, often the success of digital marketing consists in finding the right mix of different strategies, calibrated to the needs and objectives of your company.
- even more important: the heart of digital marketing for Internet Service Provider lies in Customer Service. Competition, today, is less and less a matter of costs and fees and more and more a matter of quality of the service and the relationship with users (which, in turn, become the ambassadors of the brand).
Also in this case, it’s a matter of starting from Big Data to create an increasingly tailored Customer Experience and customer support, up to individual customers (and we’ll focus on this point later in the post).
Let’s look at this successful example from Australia.
In 2010, NBN (National Broadband Network) was born, a national project to extend Internet access throughout the country via super-fast fiber. It was a very ambitious project, and some weaknesses began to emerge: various kinds of technical problems, “bottlenecks”, the unreliability of the network. As a result, there was a wave of dissatisfied and angry users who risked seriously undermining the reputation and credibility of the company and the project. NBN’s response, however, was a powerful one. It combined a powerful “technical” analysis of Big Data with a tailor-made communication addressed to its users.
This is how it worked: through very advanced data analysis systems, NBN was able to identify problems on the network almost instantly; as a result, it sent tailor-made communications to the users concerned, before they could even realize that there was a problem.
The result? A 50% reduction in complaints and issues. This resulted in a rapid improvement in company reputation.
In short, this is an exemplary case that demonstrates the importance of transforming data collection and analysis into a tool for “approaching” the Customer Base. All of this, in turn, is the first step towards broadening the user base.
From the Data-Driven to customers
Is it possible to get even “closer” to your audience? The answer is yes. You can push data analysis beyond segmentation (on a geographical, demographic or behavioral basis) and really address the individual, in a one-to-one perspective. This means personalization and this is what specialized companies like Doxee do, with a focus both on the optimization of internal processes and on the dynamics of marketing and Customer Care.
Let’s look at an example with one of the most important and innovative Italian Internet Service Provider: Fastweb. In its collaboration with Doxee, the first step was the complete digitalization of its Customer Base.
In step two came personalization: Since 2009 Fastweb has been using the Doxee Pweb® technology, creating personalized micro-sites through which customers can access their data, view their bills, and get further details of their subscription. The third step was the use of personalized and interactive Doxee Pvideo®, tailored to each customer’s needs and distributed via email.
The turning point was to radically transform the billing process, from a cold and annoying touchpoint, to an opportunity for dialog between company and user, with positive implications for reputation and loyalty. It starts from a simple and transparent illustration of the costs incurred, to the possibility of inserting specific calls to action, useful for upselling and cross-selling operations.
In conclusion: digital marketing strategies for Internet Service Provider are constantly evolving, and they will continue to do so. But one thing remains fixed and invariable: the decisive importance of knowing your target and putting people at the center of your business.