6 B2B Telco Marketing Trends To Master In 2018
February 21, 2018
The Telcommunications industry is in a pivotal and unparalled time of digital disruption. From the diminishing role connectivity plays in today’s information value chain, to the explosion of IoT and a demand for greater mobile solutions and network security, there’s an industry-wide shift in focus around how telco service providers can play a bigger role within the business landscape.
Companies who fail to modernize their B2B marketing strategy and satisfy ever-changing customer demands will distance themselves from those they hope most to reach. The competitive landscape is ripe for providers to prove their worth and capture longer-term customer loyalty. Yet, when examining the sector and its largest players, we see that many Telcos are struggling to employ effective B2B strategies that connect with customers and earn a greater market share.
Why? For one, we’ve seen significant lag time in the modernization of marketing operations at large enterprise companies, resulting in continued marketing complexity. Second, the natural resistance to quickly adopt new digital strategies and tactics has left customer lifetime value (and money) on the table, with <10% of Telco marketers believing they are highly advanced and rapidly evolving when it comes to being more data-driven, customer-responsive and digitally adaptive*
In the face of shifting landscapes and mounting industry challenges, Telecommunications providers have six big opportunities to turn the tables and resonate with their B2B customer base. We’ve summarized these trends and their respective strategies below, which can also be found in our latest eBook.
1) Recognize the value of thought leadership (TL). Today’s B2B consumers seek companies they can trust. To make the vendor short list, Telco providers must produce relevant content that underscores their marketplace expertise. Honest and helpful information removes the risk from the buying process and demonstrates an understanding of industry regulations, customer challenges, and modern business pain points.
2) Embrace “blockbuster” – not lackluster – content. Thought leadership is not a one-and-done proposition, it should fuel a content franchise that extends across all marketing channels. Enter: the Hollywood “Blockbuster” model. Instead of acting like a publisher, think like a Hollywood movie machine — Focus on doing less, better; Build a small marketing empire from your back catalog of content (no need for new when you can remake a hit); Embrace extensibility by monetizing content into new arenas vs. creating one-off pieces.
3) Recognize the importance of touchpoint consistency. Using too many available marketing channels can lead to an inconsistent brand experience, despite one’s best efforts. For B2B Telco marketers who want to outshine the competition and remain memorable, it’s crucial to enforce a consistent and recognizable brand look and feel — from logos to design, color, formatting, typography and tone.
4) Embrace the end of hypertargeting. Having great content is one thing. Getting it in front of the right eyes is another. That sometimes means widening reach because potential buyers are excluded when scope becomes too narrow — not to mention advertising costs can go up. To avoid hypersegmentation, focus on “reach” as the most important KPI. This also helps avoid wasted impressions and ensures that marketing spend connects with more of the right audience.
5) Make a case for cost-per-connection. B2B measurement models can be just as problematic as B2B content models. That’s why Telecommunications marketers must strive for more sophisticated forms of measurement that better identify purchase intent, instead of tracking superficial metrics like click-thru rate (CTR), cost per click (CPC) and even cost per lead (CPL). Correlating online metrics with offline customer activity is key. We find that measuring “Connection Density” (CD) – how connected certain groups of professionals are – can be an accurate indicator of sales (more so than CTR or other traditional metrics).
6) Invest resources where it counts. When learning where best to allocate budget between top- and bottom-of-funnel messaging, follow a few quantitative rules to help maximize ROI:
a. 60/40 Rule. Invest 60% of budget in thought leadership or branding and 40% in bottom-funnel messaging.
b. 10:1 Rule. For every $1 spent on creative development, spend $10 on distribution.
c. 80:20 Rule. While marketers should invest in a lot of content across various channels, keep in mind that only 20% of investments will deliver 80% of returns.
The bottom line? Telco is changing fast. To stay ahead of the curve, B2B marketers must form deeper connections with current and potential customers while establishing a base of trust and taking advantage of stronger digital strategies for years to come.
*cmocouncil.org, “CMO Council Predicts Brand and Telco Partnering Will Drive Omni-Channel Marketing Effectiveness Globally,’ August 2017