The telecom sector has reached saturation point in many emerging markets, with market penetration sometimes higher than 100 percent of the population. Mobile operators are finding it increasingly challenging to compete and grow in such markets by employing a traditional go-to-market strategy. This well-worn blueprint has rested on their understanding of aggregate demand, and has been based on the underlying assumption that there are still new users to acquire and that these acquisitions would compensate for price reductions. Telecom operators must now rethink their entire approach to marketing, fundamentally reorganizing themselves to allow more effective growth campaigns.
Telecom companies need to embrace a new level of targeting and reject the outdated view of customers as large, indistinct, and coherent segments. To tailor offerings to specific customer needs, companies should employ analytical marketing, mining the Big Data already at their disposal to respond continually to the behavior of individuals and market microsegments. Investment can therefore be channeled productively, rather than wasted through overly simplistic assumptions about the general market.
For this transition to take effect, telecom operators must build five key capabilities within the marketing function: data management, microsegmentation, commercialization, product design, and adaptive learning. Deploying these capabilities will ensure that customers’ needs are more accurately identified and serviced. Customers will be more likely to respond positively to marketing approaches, with growth resulting from the combined profitability of each micro-segment.
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