Novel data pathways boost the communications industry.
In just a few short years, the communications landscape has undergone a dramatic transformation. The once ubiquitous idea of having a mass market of customers is nearly obsolete, as consumers are more informed than ever and are increasingly demanding more affordable, individualized communication products and services. To compete in this era of the “empowered consumer,” industry leaders are under huge pressure to capture—and utilize—every relevant tidbit of data available in their efforts to understand the customer experience, reduce costs and boost profit.
Smart Integration = Data Innovation
Building the proverbial 360-degree view of the customer and understanding an individual’s behavior in a time- and context-sensitive manner these days requires the addition of data from non-traditional sources such as smart phone applications, social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter, and video-sharing websites like YouTube. But the costs can be prohibitive unless communications companies first determine their objectives and what kind of data is needed to reach their customers.
Marketing today is 70% science and 30% art.
The potential for innovation has never been higher. Communications leaders have access to a greater breadth and depth of consumer data than perhaps any other industry, making them uniquely qualified to leverage offers from other industries, adopt new business models and enrich the customer experience by up-selling and cross-selling new services.
Consider this example of how a telecommunications company can use available customer data in innovative ways to benefit itself as well as the consumer:
A mobile phone customer asks three friends to lunch by creating an invitation using her phone’s calendar application. Shortly before lunchtime, the mobile phone operator determines the customer’s current location, the number of people joining her and other relevant data, such as how much time she has blocked off for the lunch on her calendar. From there, the mobile phone operator analyzes nearby restaurants for current wait times and pushes a list to the customer’s phone of several restaurants that could seat four diners in fewer than 10 minutes, accompanied by relevant discount coupons. She selects which restaurant she prefers, enjoys her lunch with friends and redeems the coupon.
Of course, customer privacy is paramount, but market research shows that while customers hate to be inundated with irrelevant ads and messages, they will invite and welcome time- and context-sensitive offers that generate immediate, personalized value.
Merge Customer Expectation and Experience
Consumers today are more demanding, are better informed and have more buying options than ever before. They seek an individualized, end-to-end experience whether on the Web, in a store or talking to a customer service rep. However, many communications companies fail to deliver on that expectation because the available customer information is not analyzed and applied appropriately.
High performers have a greater analytical orientation than low performers.
33% of low performers have above-average analytical capabilities versus 77% of high performers.
Advanced analytics can help close that gap, so complete customer data can be accessed and used uniformly at every touchpoint, enabling each interaction to be tailored specifically to the individual’s needs and wants. For instance, when a customer begins searching for online movies from a home computer, smart phone or other source, analytics can automatically take into account his or her previous selection, current device parameters for audio and video playback, screen format requirements, and real-time network bandwidth to optimize buying choices and viewing capabilities.
Though all customers may desire high-end, personalized service, it’s not sound economics to offer the same level of service to everyone. Therefore, customers’ preferences, behavior and profitability potential must be analyzed and then their treatment geared appropriately, in accordance with enterprise values and brand image.
Improve the Bottom Line
In addition to helping organizations better understand their customers’ needs and tailor their individual experiences, advanced analytics also enables fine-tuning of sales and marketing efforts, reduced operating costs and a boost to the bottom line.
15% of top-performing companies vs. 3% of low-performing companies indicated that analytical capabilities are a key element of their strategy.
Descriptive analytics can shed insight into the current customer base and operational trends in order to inform processes and increase overall efficiency. Adding predictive analytics can inform a future-focused strategy. The ability to accurately predict how profitable a customer will be instead of simply how profitable he or she has been enables communications companies to offer the right product and the right level of customized personal attention using the best channel to maximize sales and profitability.
Make It Happen
Applying sophisticated analytics has proven to be a competitive advantage and can help companies increase profits, decrease costs, boost margins on a new product and meet myriad other objectives. But without a targeted ana-lytics strategy, it’s virtually impossible to reach those goals.
So before shopping for tools and technology, take a look inward because any application is only as good as the data behind it.