Modern digital marketing
gets sharper with telco data

11 December 2017

Marketing campaigns have become more precise today, as measurement tools bring new insights and enable businesses to carefully calibrate their marketing efforts to reach audiences. With so much riding on data, its quality has to be precise and up-to-date.


There is no question online giants such as Google are the biggest players in online advertising today. Their vast reach and audience segmenting data clue marketers on how successful their messages are getting through to consumers. They are, however, are not the only sources of data. Indeed, brands are seeking more original sources of data that may be more relevant to their marketing efforts.


In a study by research firm Ovum in 2017, 67 per cent of brands said they considered telecom operators as better original sources of data insights than Google and Microsoft. Telcos are also ranked higher than brands such as Apple and Samsung.


The insight came from more than 300 senior decision makers at brands from the United States, Britain and France, who were from various sectors such as automotive, financials services and retail, according to a report in TM Forum.


As providers of broadband, mobile and pay-TV services, telcos have good cross-sectional insight into the consumption habits of consumers. Anonymised for customers’ privacy, this data is likely to be more accurate and thus crucial to the success of targeted marketing campaigns.


One key difference is how well telcos know their customers. Unlike online services, where people can sign up for multiple accounts and often create fake identities, each telco customer is a verified individual or corporate entity. An ID is needed to subscribe to a mobile phone line or pay-TV services, but not for signing up to an online service.


Short of the digital identities administered by governments, telcos are rightly one of the most trusted sources of original data. For brands that have been disappointed by the reports distorted by fake or inactive online user accounts, the data from telcos is definitely a better option.


At present, many enterprise owners are still not aware of what telcos can provide in terms of customer insights. Almost half of the respondents in the Ovum survey did not know that telcos could provide such intelligence to support their marketing campaigns.


However, those that knew were keen to tap on the data sets that telcos possess. Rather than cherry-pick the constituent parts of the data sets, they saw value in the data sets as a whole.


The insights they wanted most include real-time location data, network intelligence (such as data usage) and the relationship that a telco has with its customers. Other data that interested digital marketers were digital content usage, messaging usage and user browsing history, according to the Ovum study.


Besides that, there is more that a telco understands about a customer. For example, besides his surfing habits online, one can also gain insights from his pay-TV subscriptions, which provide an idea into the type of content he likes and likely the demographics of the family that he is staying with in the same household.


Location information is key too. Telcos can use the data from Smartphones signals to show where the most popular places are in a mall. They may in future correlate this information with the surfing history of users who were there, for example. So, through the anonymised data, one can get a sense of what people were looking for when they were in particular parts of a mall.


This means a campaign can be based on insights collected from both the physical and digital worlds. And coming from a source that is trusted means you can expect higher precision and accuracy of the data.


In other words, there is an alternative source of insights that is only just beginning to be tapped on by savvy brands. By combining well-used sources from online companies with the trusted data sets from telcos, some are starting to craft campaigns that are more holistic and effective.


In the coming years though, more companies will seek telco data to better fine-tune their campaigns. Having more accurate sources – not just more sources – will be the difference between success and failure of the marketing campaigns.


Follow StarHub Business on Linkedin for the latest business updates.

5 things you didn’t know your business is over-spending on

Time to re-evaluate your monthly expenditure.

Read more
New world of retail

How new technologies drive shopping behaviour.

Read more
Making your voice heard with digital marketing

5 critical online marketing tools to stay on trend

Read more