June 08, 2019

The global data economy is multiplying exponentially as digital consumers become veritable oil wells of personal data. According to PwC, the current value of the data economy will rise to more than $400 billion by 2025. The biggest beneficiaries of data currency trading are telecommunications companies, notes a new editorial perspective from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council.

“Possessing a vast abundance of ever-multiplying customer data, the world’s leading wireless network operators and communications service providers are now challenged to turn this under-performing asset base into a new form of ‘data currency’ that can create customer value, generate new revenue streams and be used for competitive advantage,” notes Donovan Neale-May, Executive Director of the CMO Council in a byline article published today in the organization’s PeerSphere digital magazine.

“Industry analysts, commentators and consultants believe telcos are now hard-pressed to become more adept at dealing with vast loads of dynamic, real-time data and use this to create more operational efficiencies, engaging user experiences, secured and trusted services, as well as diversified revenue streams,” states Neale-May in the “Live Data: Now the Life Blood for Telco Value Creation” cover story.

Leading PwC consultants concur. “The opportunity for telecom operators lies in helping customers manage their Internet experience, including their privacy and connectivity rights. Telecom’s role in the new data economy is grounded in operators’ core networking and connectivity capabilities, their central position as the carriers of all digital traffic, and their large customer constituencies,” writes three PwC Strategy& consultants Florian Gröne, Pierre Péladeau and Rawia Abdel Samad in a recent opinion piece (https://www.strategy-business.com/article/Tomorrows-Data-Heroes?gko=7b095).

In a 2018 CMO Council global survey of 150 senior marketers at leading communication service providers, mobile network operators and digital media companies, almost half report they are still working to improve the quality, timeliness, depth and reliability of customer data in their organization. Only a third rate their effectiveness as very high or consistently good, in comparison to 22 percent who see it as inconsistent or not very good.

“Having a large customer base, access to communicate to them, and the fact that they have a connected wallet, opens up the opportunity for commerce from an intangible digital product to tangible digital products and finally into physical products,” notes Enzo Scarcella, COO of MTN. “But, unless you are leveraging those assets, and the data around usage, both geographic and transactional, telcos run the risk of becoming a commodity,” he cautions.

According to those telco marketers surveyed, the top five contributors to customer value creation are:

  •     Efficient and accessible customer care and quick problem resolution (57 percent)
  •     Consistent, predictable experience across all channels of engagement (54 percent)
  •     Operational excellence, reliability, uptime and quality of service (48 percent)
  •     Simplified customer journey to subscribe and use services (46 percent)
  •     Personalization of content, plans, and support programs (28 percent)

Surprisingly, tracking customer value creation as a critical contributor to business fundamentals and performance indicators has yet to be widely adopted in the telco sector. According to CMO Council research, fully 60 percent of telco marketers state they have yet to undertake studies that correlate customer value creation to business performance.  

Looking to counter competitive threats and inroads, the CMO Council notes that telco marketers are now embracing a wide range of new strategies to deliver both customer value and incremental margin or revenue. Among those topping the list are better use of data and insight, more advanced customer engagement technology, infrastructure upgrades, and quicker response to evolving digital business service and lifestyle needs.


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