Today, the number of mobile devices is more than the world's population, making them one of the most prominent and pervasive technologies influencing our way of life. Smartphones alone total 2.1 billion, which is more than a quarter of the world's population.
An average consumer today has three devices, and this number is expected to more than double by 2020. All of these wireless gadgets will be connected to the Internet, and this connection is either through a WiFi or a cellular network provided by telecommunication players. How consumers use these networks varies across regions.
For example, the latest study conducted by Near found that WiFi usage was higher among female users as compared to male users in the UK, Philippines, and Australia. Male users outpaced female users on cellular usage in Japan and Singapore. The study was conducted using multiple datasets including location, device, and carrier to understand the internet usage patterns across geographies.
The telecommunications sector has revolutionized commerce globally with the help of these wireless technologies. The real-time data generated from mobile phones and other connected devices is constantly being fed to data centres around the globe. When tapped correctly, data from these connected devices along with location data can be turned to actionable intelligence and produce instant marketing and business advantages.
Telecom organisations can use this data intelligence for a deep understanding of not only their own consumers, but the consumers of their competitors as well. This competitor intelligence has been missing thus far, and can be used for decision-making in product launches, go to market strategies, marketing spend allocation, product pricing, and network allocation.
While insights on the demography, location-wise market share, top prepaid and postpaid plans, split across low and high value mobile data packs, carrier switching patterns, and data consumption patterns across WiFi and cellular networks for a telecom’s own consumers can help them upsell and retain their own base; having some of these insights about their competitors can take their consumer acquisition efforts to another level.
If a telecom player knew about the clusters in a city where it is most active and where its competitors are most active, then its marketing, store operations, distribution, network strength, and servicing efforts can be customised to a cluster level. This is because the messaging in a telecom organisation’s marketing campaigns is typically decided by the demography it is targeting, and the product (such as data speed, voice network, enterprise plans, WiFi, etc.) it is pushing.
Given this pressing need, there has been no single view to measure and compare how consumers respond to their marketing efforts and campaigns across digital and traditional media channels. But this situation is about to change.
Telecoms can now turn this situation around by investing in data products that provide cross-channel attribution analytics by using location data. These can help organisations optimise their marketing spends, and identify the touchpoints that work better than the others for transaction volumes and ticket sizes. Competitor intelligence is a goldmine for telecoms, and they need to look at players who can provide this in real time and help them act on these insights.
Real-time data can help telecoms to see digital behaviour in the physical world. This is a powerful capability, and provides the ability to understand where consumers are digitally active in the moment. Knowing where consumers are at any given time opens the door for direct, relevant messaging, thus boosting connectivity and even age-specific demographic promotions.
For instance, a study done by Near found that a large number of users in the 18-25 age group in the UK who were accessing the Internet through WiFi were seen on O2 and EE mobile carriers. This insight is useful to O2 and EE when it comes to making marketing and product decisions that bring them closer to their audience segment.
For example, they could offer a WiFi pack for unlimited access to hotspots near student centres. Alternatively, competitors of O2 and EE mobile carriers could also use these competitor insights to analyse and tailor their marketing strategies to attract this particular age group through WiFi promotions, thereby strengthening their customer acquisition efforts.
With consumable and actionable data, telecom organisations can get insights directly attributed to consumer wellbeing. For example, when a natural disaster occurs in a specific area, a telecommunications service may be able to alter wireless strength in the locale so that victims can rely on their mobile devices to communicate with their families and authorities.
Insights obtained by converging multiple datasets can also reveal previously unseen or unknown relationships. For example, you can link the timing of a public event with surge of data use by millennials. You can also link transportation times to a retail location promoting wide-scale discounts with spend lift. Telecoms can predict this behaviour and act accordingly for themselves, and their enterprise customers.
Predicting consumer behaviour is the pinnacle of smart decision-making, and data platforms that can enable such intelligence can prove to be the cornerstone of this advantage. Location-aware data can be combined with demographics, user preferences, people movement, and purchasing power to provide context, and provide a competitive edge to its adopters.
Smriti Kataria is director of research and marketing at Near
Smriti currently leads Near’s global marketing and research initiatives, where she is responsible for developing and leading the company’s communications and positioning for the Ambient Intelligence platform. She also manages Near’s data and consumer research business.
Prior to Near, Smriti was heading brand and market communication for the AP circle at Bharti Airtel, the third largest telecommunication provider globally. She has years of diverse experience in sales, marketing, product management and new business development.
Smriti holds an MBA from the Management Development Institute, Gurgaon. She enjoys portrait photography and leisure travel in her free time.