What are best practices when it comes to building an effective digital marketing strategy in the telecommunication sector? To answer that, just look at what some companies have done: from using data creatively, to making the most of new formats, to scaling up their social media presence.

As we mentioned in a previous post, the telecommunications sector is showing some signs of recovery, especially thanks to the IT sector, which recorded 2.3% growth in 2019, where  spending by Italian companies exceeded €31 billion. For this reason, the telecommunications sector seems to have finally emerged from a phase of economic stagnation that has led telcos to lose a lot of ground compared to new competitors who are more aggressive, agile, and digitally oriented.

However, such growth must be supported with smart and targeted actions to keep it going. One way for companies in the sector to do this is to create an effective digital marketing strategy—and make this your main objective. This means making the most of the innovations and opportunities provided by the digital transformation and, taking into account the main communication trends expected for 2020 (wearesocial.com).

But what does an effective digital marketing strategy actually look like? To answer this, in this post, we will take a look at some successful case studies in order to understand how some telcos have been able to improve their business by focusing on communication or digital marketing. Let’s learn from the best!


The importance of Data: the case of Turkcell 

Turkcell is the leading mobile phone operator in Turkey and the second largest in Europe in terms of the number of users. In 2011, the company faced customer retention issues and a drop in subscriptions. To solve this challenge, Turkcell used data to develop a creative digital campaign.

By analyzing its target audience, the company discovered that most users were active on Twitter. To capitalize on this, they created a real time Twitter based competition. In this way, Turkcell made itself known on the channel, becoming more relevant to the public, and it also made the most of the information available.

As Turkcell understood, data is a valuable resource for your business because it allows you to intercept trends and consumer behaviors and make use of this information for relevant campaigns and offers. Upstream, we know that accurate collection and analysis is necessary, because not all data is good data. In fact, the data you collect is often raw and messy, and it needs order and structure to make it intelligible and useful. At this point, we must try to use it creatively, integrating it into our campaigns using content that is both original and innovative to make it as memorable as possible.

From the Turkcell case, we can take away this point: a good digital marketing strategy should be a data-driven strategy. This is especially relevant for companies in the telco sector, who naturally have access to large amounts of data.


The benefits of a winning Customer Experience 

The customer experience is an opportunity for leverage for companies in the telecommunications sector. Today’s customers are more demanding than ever before; they expect fast, effective actions that are tailored to their specific needs. This is particularly true for telcos, which can aim to improve the customer experience in order to boost retention among their customers.

This is especially important given the recent decline in the reputation of telecommunications companies. This is demonstrated by the report from Brand Finance Telecoms 300 2019, which found that the brand image and reputation of telco organizations has been declining for the past three years. Although there was a 7% increase in 2017, since 2018 the percentage has gradually decreased, reaching 1% in 2019. This is because consumers perceive telco as distant and detached, with opaque pricing systems and an often complex and cumbersome customer care service.

This perception makes it an even more critical challenge that telco companies must work to address. Let’s look at what a telco company did to improve the customer experience related to a key area: service outages (forbes.com). Where it used to take up to three hours to identify the problem, thanks to major investments in R&D, the company was able to reduce response time to 30 minutes. In addition, the company has put in place a screening service for its infrastructure, capable of predicting possible service interruptions and alerting its customers with ad hoc communication, so that they were not only not taken by surprise, but were also aware that the company was already taking action to solve the problem.

The results of this simple strategy have been outstanding. For example, the number of negative user comments reduced by 47% for the 3G network and by 34% for the 4G network, while customer retention increased considerably.

This shows that you can market not only through pure communication operations, but also by working within your organization. As always, however, the necessary condition is to be on top of what your users are saying and experiencing by analyzing their comments and behaviors so you know exactly which tensions to address.


The power of content: the case of Virgin Mobile

From the examples presented so far, it’s no surprise that an effective digital marketing strategy must be built on user data. Companies will need to use this in new and creative ways and, most importantly, they must use it to place customers themselves at the center of a memorable experience, one that meets their expectations. To be successful, any strategy must also focus on content.

As Bill Gates said in a famous essay, titled “Content is king:” “Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.”

This is certainly true, since the modern consumer finds himself completely overwhelmed by multiple types of stimuli, and the only way to capture their attention is to reach them with messages that are clear and effective. In a word, relevant. Only in this way can a company stand out from the crowd and make a breakthrough in the hearts of customers.

Let’s look at an example of this in a case study of the global wireless communications provider, Virgin Mobile.  The challenge facing telcos in the United States was to be more relevant to users and generate interest and greater demand for products using social advertising. To do this, the company partnered with BuzzFeed, creating the first digital “editorial staff” who chose editorial content based on audience-relevant digital conversations. By being able to link itself to popular themes and trends in the moment those conversations were taking place, Virgin Mobile was able to increase its “brand affinity,” and build a relationship based on social communication and continuous engagement.

The results were impressive. As the CMO of Virgin Mobile, Ron Faris said: “Social content allows us to tell the Virgin Mobile story, and that in turn excites people about the brand and what it stands for. We’ve seen lifts of over 150% in consideration for their next phone purchase.”

This example shows how strategically important it is to approach your audience with truly relevant and engaging content. And when it comes to creating relevant content, it matters what you communicate, as well as the means you choose to execute it.


The medium counts as much as the content: the case of China Telecom 

From a recent report by We Are Social in collaboration with Hootsuite on the use of the internet, mobile devices, and social media in Italy and worldwide, an interesting fact emerged. According to the Digital 2019 report, around 54 million Italians surf the Internet mainly to use video content. In fact, 4 out of 5 Italians use smartphones to watch videos of any kind, from cooking tutorials, to games, to entertainment content made by Youtubers.

In light of this, it is clear that the medium chosen to communicate plays a fundamental role in terms of effectiveness; video can be a winning format for this.

It is no coincidence that Samsung has long since adopted video to talk about its products, comparing them with those of competitors and highlighting how their specific characteristics can improve the everyday lives of all consumers. In this way, the South Korean multinational has managed to digitally replace the product testing experience in physical stores. This, however, is just one way to use video.

Another interesting example of using video comes from China Telecom. The Chinese giant has created its own video streaming service, which includes a collection of films and other content, all provided with a focus on the user experience, which is made memorable by the use of high quality photographic formats, high standards of video-coding, and the use of constantly updated digital technologies.

In this case too, the results were remarkable: in just two years, the company has gained two million new active users on the platform, thus capturing a 20% market share of the entire online streaming business.


The key is proximity: the example of Wind 

The case of China Telecom shows how you can use video to be truly relevant to your consumers. But that’s not all. Video also makes it possible to give users a feeling of closeness, of proximity.

In this sense, social networks are very useful, because they allow different brands to speak directly to their customers, reducing the distance between company and consumers. On the other hand, it is the users themselves who ask for this, as they are used to interacting with brands’ social pages as if they were dealing with real people. This behavior can be exploited by brands to improve their reputation with customers who surf online, showing themselves to be closer and more empathetic.

The European telco giant Wind understood this type of opportunity. Over the years, Wind has built a simple, effective, and consumer-friendly social communication. In this way, Wind gave itself one more weapon to succeed over competitors, a weapon that is a formidable tool for generating interaction with users. 

Blogmeter, which analyzed the overall performance of profiles of the telecommunication brands on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, identified Wind in first place as a telco company that performs better on social media, managing 27,000 total engagements (engage.it).

The competitive advantage in holding such a position is clear: by being able to provide interesting, engaging, and snackable, social content, Wind is perceived as more relevant by consumers. This not only influences consumers at the time of purchase, but also helps improve the customer experience and, consequently, to increase customer retention, which, in the long run, is cheaper than acquiring new customers.