Operators have invested in networks like 3G to deliver a superior data experience to subscribers. There is a strong belief that data services can enable operators offset their declining voice revenue and potential wise it is true. According to COAI, data services contribute around 20% of total revenue and studies indicate that it will cross voice revenue in another 5 years. Indian operators have low broadband data ARPU compared to operators in even emerging markets like Mexico. Can we accelerate the growth of data services? We can do it if operators get the promotional strategy right along with their focus on coverage, content and making the services affordable.
The slow adoption of data services and low date usage even in the urban cities are still areas of concern for operators. Marketing teams in Telco’s have their task cut out to devise strategies for promoting data usage to justify their investment in next generation networks. Through this article I will discuss few essential things operators could consider while devising an approach for promoting data usage.
Target users by cell site and handset
It is important to identify the target market first for promoting data services. One obvious factor will be the availability of 3G and it makes sense if we limit our focus to only those users in cell sites where data services can be provided with desired quality level. We can still save marketing cost and improve relevance if we can promote data service to only those users with in these 3G cell sites having a data enabled handset with them. Operators can even try to sell special packs bundling data enabled handsets and data plans together to users in these locations having feature phones. Through targeting by network type and handset details, marketers can, not only encourage data enabled handset users to increase their data usage, but also increase the addressable market size by selling data packs including data enabled handsets.
Convert potential non-data users and new users
Marketers usually make the mistake of treating both data users and non-data users the same way and provide them with same offers. We have seen such offers ineffective, this is because reason for zero data usage among the two segments is different and it has to be treated differently. The micro segment constituting non data users having higher usage and data enabled handsets is most likely to subscribe to data services as well. Most of the time the reason for not using data services is the perception of higher cost and complexity associated with it. This is where marketers should consider offering free data services to give a feel of the same. Along with recharge coupons, instead of full talk time, offer some free MB of data usage. Now track the non-data users who were offered this free data service and identify the users who availed it. A second wave of promotion can be targeted at them for selling data packs now. Even for users who have gone for handset change to data enabled ones can be targeted for this multi-wave marketing approach.
Encourage data users to use more
As we always say in telecom world customer retention is a real challenge. It applies to data users as well. Marketers need to constantly track ‘zero data usage’ among data users. Tripwires can be placed which can trigger special campaigns for encouraging data users to continue using data service and avail more products. Contextual and personalized promotion of localized content and apps holds the key here. This is where data user’s historic behavior, intent and 2G/3G bucket balance could be useful for marketers. Marketers should understand a data user’s needs and preferences and promote right data products like videos, wallpapers and so on. Even the handset attributes like Operating system, screen size, make and model can be useful, for example users having handsets with bigger screens would prefer watching movies and playing games. Young population remains the largest consumer of data services and marketers need to look at creative offers and campaigns to reach them.
Future is Data
We can expect the data scene to get more exciting with Wi-Fi and LTE network deployments further enhancing the data connectivity and speed. OTT services are becoming quite popular and even operators now realize the value of OTT and content as a major revenue stream for them. These essentials discussed in the article could enable marketers to promote data services more effectively.