Trends that will Shape the Telecom Industry in 2020 and Beyond
Our industry outlook explores the opportunities of 5G and other marketing trends that could have a big impact on the telecom industry in the year ahead. To attract and retain clients, begin over…
Given the growing usage, and even dependence, of telecom services, telecom companies’ target audiences are wide-reaching and quite diverse. Thus, these companies are tasked with creating B2B marketing strategies. It appeals to many potential consumers and solves a plethora of challenges.
Marketing in the telecommunications industry must be an all-inclusive effort. It begins with a sound understanding of
- who your target customers are (and there likely will be many categories here),
- what they need and how they get their information.
Telecom executives need to identify the opportunity that lies beyond the market that would historically fuel their profit pool and reshape their companies and priorities to capitalize on the situation.
In the coming year, it’s never been more important for telecommunications companies to make data privacy and security a top priority.
Telecom operators need to undergo a major shift in their capabilities and their outward-facing identity to revive the fortunes in the vitally important business-to-business (B2B) segment.
Consequently, telecommunications firms should work hard to create digital environments where clients feel safe—and where brands are comfortable advertising.
This is especially true in the area of social media, where several platforms are now using AI solutions in conjunction with experts to weed out spam and other offensive content.
As the speed and reliability of fixed wireless increase, more clients may opt for it, increasing competition in the market.
Telcos are also starting to target enterprises for 5G applications in industries like manufacturing, health care (e.g., for telemedicine solutions), retail, transportation, and education (e.g., for distance learning).
This indeed has created a need for revamping telcos’ marketing strategy to elevate client engagement and B2B lead generation.
Telecom companies need to design around the customer to create a better experience. They need to embody the trust that they seek to earn in the quality of that experience. And devote the resources and attention needed to deliver on it and make it profitable.
Currently, telecom marketing strategies are all about digital transformation. But this has only intensified the challenges, as today’s connected consumers increasingly expect brands to engage with them across every available digital channel.
So let’s take a look at each of these 7 marketing trends in the telecom arena that can overcome this challenge, work together, and support success this coming year :
1. The year of 5G
Gartner anticipates that worldwide 5G network infrastructure revenues will touch $4.2 billion in 2020, recording year-over-year growth of 89 percent.
Once 5G comes into the picture, it is expected to create significant business opportunities for telecom companies. It helps them gain revenue in the fixed broadband market and B2B opportunities such as smart cities and the Internet of Things (IoT).
5G is poised to unleash the full potential of both AR and VR in the coming year. To feel seamless and deliver value, AR/VR experiences require the extensive bandwidth and low latency that only 5G can provide. These capabilities will create a wide range of opportunities for telecommunications providers by attracting more clients.
Unleash the full potential
It will also provide the ideal environment for telecommunications providers to employ “network slicing” to customize their offerings. In the context of 5G, this will enable the sharing of a given physical network to run IoT, mobile broadband, and very low-latency applications. This includes many connected-car and connected-home functions that have the potential to create entirely new revenue sources for providers in 2020.
The transition to 5G is expected to generate a windfall for network, infrastructure, and equipment vendors. Carriers can also use 5G as an enabler for private networks.
Increasingly, many of these enterprise applications will rely on 5G’s ability to enable edge computing. International Data Corporation predicts that in three years, 45% of internet of things-generated data will be stored, processed, analyzed, and acted upon close to or at the edge of networks.
By enabling data aggregation and processing at the edge, companies can achieve bandwidth savings while also reducing latency and improving reliability.
B2B companies who are dealing heavily with telecoms or communications, have to have their B2B marketing plans ready by the time 5G kicks in. By being able to prepare for the technology to come or having 5G available processes, one can take advantage of the new marketing opportunity that is coming up for grabs.
2. Persona-based engagement via analytical marketing
Rejecting the one-size-fits-all mindset of the past, some B2B organizations have started to understand that they will need to develop a long-term relationship with each unique client.
To move beyond the current marketing approach to service delivery, telecom operators can customize the user experience by identifying user personas and delivering customized experiences targeted to them.
By creating persona-driven customer experiences, telcos can deliver better experiences to user groups within customer companies. For example, B2B telecom operators can tailor the experience of an engineer charged with monitoring the network and differentiate it from the experience delivered to a procurement manager who is buying services. One customer, two different users, two differentiated experiences.
Incorporating analytical marketing into the organization entails making data mining a priority, a major shift in operators’ marketing practices.
A client in the United Arab Emirates is frequently sending texts to his friend in Oman; the mobile operator can detect his behavior and offer an additional service with discounted international rates to Oman.
The process of mining Big Data for such commercial purposes is termed as analytical marketing. Such activities involve extracting commercially exploitable insights from every data set in order to improve understanding of individual clients and their behavior, as well as of the general dynamics of the market and its micro-segments.
The analytics-based approach requires a far-reaching transformation within various aspects of the marketing function, in particular, three areas:
- data gathering
- insight generation
- client interaction.
With the enhanced awareness that comes from analytical marketing, operators can develop completely tailored value propositions that specifically cater to individual client needs, and reduce the overall cost to serve.
3. Proactive product recommendations
Nowadays in B2B markets, clients bear the onus for understanding their telecom needs and searching out the right products and services to fulfill them.
But telecom operators instead should consider proactively providing their customers with recommendations, like Amazon does for its clients.
Proactive marketing uses client’s data to see what will contribute to positive growth while product recommendation is basically a filtering system that seeks to predict and show the products/services that the client may want to buy.
B2B telcos can achieve this by using their knowledge of their customers’ network configurations to deliver timely, relevant recommendations.
For example, if there is a potential security threat to a network, a telco could alert its customers and recommend a solution.
4. ‘Freemium’ models
Over the last decade “freemium”-a combination of ‘free’ and ‘premium’, has become the dominant business marketing model amongst internet start-ups and smartphone app developers.
‘Try-before-you-buy’ offers are commonplace in the consumer space — witness Spotify, Stitch Fix and Mailchimp.
Most providers of cloud-based software, from consumer apps to HR management services, also use them to lower the risks and hurdles for new customers. Telecom operators should consider offering free trials as well to boost their marketing strategy.
For example, in a software-defined network (SDN) that enables real-time provisioning, a client could be given access to new services for 30 days without the need for a truck roll (i.e., dispatching a technician in a truck) and other upfront engineering costs.
Near the end of the trial period, the client could be provided with a simple, seamless purchase option.
B2B telecom companies can boost their odds of success in marketing with freemium models.
5. The rise of B2B Influencers
Influencer marketing is changing the way we view promotion.
The type of influencers you use in B2B influence marketing, and the tone those influencers take, plays a key part in the strategy.
The emergence of B2B influencers is apparent in the realm of B2B, and the B2B telecom industry is not insulated from this trend. There is a prediction that as influencer marketing becomes decentralized, we will see a rise in micro-influencers that are sought out for their industry and thought leader status.
This brings into light what a company is doing to encourage business leaders to promote and support their products.
While many marketers may think that “influencers” have to be individuals, that’s missing a bigger part of a proper influence marketing strategy.
Companies like Virgin Mobile USA, Apple Inc are some of the many telecom companies that have gone beyond influencers and created a B2B influence marketing strategy that really works.
Virgin Mobile USA, for instance, was one of the first wireless communications and VoIP providers to adopt social media and content marketing. Creating product portfolios that showcased media service providers made Virgin Mobile an attractive partner to do business with.
When it developed its social newsroom in 2012, Virgin Mobile Live, which promoted apps, music, and other digital content throughout the day, it attracted the attention of Buzzfeed.
Because Virgin Mobile was inclusive with its newsroom approach, publishers like BuzzFeed became an important distribution channel.
It is undeniable that B2B influencers bring about a sense of social proof that reiterates the benefits of a product or service that they are supporting.
As early as now, companies who are heavily invested in their B2B marketing have to take advantage of the role of influencers in promoting the products that they are marketing.
This can be as easy as tapping the people or business leaders that your prospects are actively listening to, and making sure that you are linked to their thought leaders to rally in support of your offering.
6. The evolution of AI, Machine Learning & Automation
Even if it’s just chatbots, your company has to lead the way when it comes to marketing automation. Not only does it emphasize superior customer service and savings when it comes to manpower, but it also reiterates a company’s commitment to new technology.
The telecoms industry is akin to the tech industry, if companies wish to survive, they must not only rely on producing platforms that are of superior reliability. But they also have to be continuing to push the boundaries and limitations of current technology.
This allows prospects and existing clientele to recognize that a company is ready for the future.
Current investments in AI and machine learning can allow for more efficient products to be created and if integrated into current offerings can give a company an edge from the competition.
7. The switch in Realities
We are still at the beginning of the AR and VR revolution. But there is no doubt that they have the potential to revolutionize multiple industries including the telecom industry, over the next five to ten years.
It is a way of providing an alternate form of content for one’s clients. And it can transform the way we interact with the world, unlocking new experiences, increasing productivity, and efficiency.
These technological advancements like VR and AR can prove to be useful in showcasing a B2B company’s unique marketing proposition. And it’s a great presentation strategy given that a company is taking advantage of new technology.
Telecom operators have been slow to react. But, in recent years, we see operators in developed markets beginning to dip their toes in the water.
For instance, Telefonica launched start-up incubator Wayra currently supporting eight VR and four AR start-ups. Another company, SK telecom has developed 360-degree VR live broadcasting capabilities. BT is trying to revolutionize the sports experience through VR enabled football match telecast.
VR can be used to give virtual tours while AR can be harnessed to build tools that analyze live images and provide commentary.
This would provide a fresh opportunity for operators. Over the last decade, they have generally been poor at innovation and have time and again missed the opportunity to leverage their unique assets to position themselves strongly in the digital space.
Nevertheless, there is the intention of many leading B2B operators to make a serious play within the digital space. AR and VR could well be the foundation to spearhead this marketing transformation.
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Closing Thoughts :
There are a lot of growing marketing trends in the world of B2B telecommunications. But they all rely on the fundamentals of this niche –
- Technology and proper lead nurturing.
By being able to provide reliable technology with a focus on the clients, one may be able to expand exponentially in the future.
Telecom companies will have a natural advantage in this new era, as they possess more consumer knowledge than their counterparts in a range of other industries.
As a result, they will have ample monetization opportunities.
However, many operators still have a great deal of catching up to do.
Our B2B sales & marketing consultancy firm can help you grow your existing channels of marketing communications from properly built pipelines to smart calling.
Don’t forget, the race is still on. Contact us here, we will take it up from there.