When it comes to telecommunications content marketing, marketers are tasked with executing integrated campaigns that not only increase engagement and generate revenue but that also leverage the very products and services they provide. Consumers, individuals and corporations alike, depend on telecom businesses for transparent communication. Thus, when it comes to furthering client relations and consumer engagement, marketers must employ the latest technology -- taking a multi-platform approach in amassing their global footprint, retaining customer loyalty through on-target messaging, interesting content and compelling conversation.
Such a large and diverse industry requires that marketers have an acute understanding of the various audience segments they serve. From enterprise customers to telecom carriers and equipment manufacturers to mobile consumers, telecom companies must remain cognizant of the fact that not all content appeals to every audience, and that certain platforms are more effective means of communication when presented to the appropriate audience.
Furthermore, when implementing a well-executed content marketing strategy it's important to focus on the continuance of conversation, rather than simply pushing the latest product or innovation service.
Below are four key tips and case studies on how to effectively develop a tactical content marketing strategy guaranteed to boost brand awareness, retain customer loyalty and augment user interaction with your services and products.
1. Consider consumer pain points and priorities.
As a telecom marketer, it's hard not to jump to defend the industry's long standing reputation as one ridden with hidden surcharges, exorbitant monthly rates, complex contracts and overpriced devices. However, Virgin Mobile has been leading the pack in terms of friendliness and approachability. In an attempt to target a younger demographic, specifically 18-24 year-olds, Virgin's US-based marketing team, led by CMO Ron Faris, sought to hit the pain-point of most young mobile users nationwide -- high monthly charges on voice usage when the majority of their time was spent not talking on the phone. As a prepaid mobile provider, Virgin took advantage of their market position, as well as their knowledge of their target audience, to develop a campaign with data, not voice usage, at its core. Virgin's strategy was spot on. According to a 2013 Pew Research study, 78% of teenagers own a mobile device, and nearly half (47%) own smartphones. Virgin again hit the mark by strategically focusing on data versus voice; according to the same Pew report, one in four teens access the web primarily using their mobile device, compared to 15% of adults. In turn, data usage is key to young customers, especially those in the 18-24-age range.
Thus, as a way to engage their target audience, Virgin partnered with the popular, ever-viral website BuzzFeed, putting content at the forefront of their campaign. The result? VirginMobileFeed -- an entertainment hub featuring live streams of pop music, viral content and direct links to Virgin's various social media channels, including Tumblr, Instagram and Twitter. Virgin's in-house editorial team, trained by BuzzFeed staff, ensured that all content was relevant, clicky and "newsroom worthy," guaranteeing that interesting, shareable, or friendly, content was at the heart of Virgin's efforts.
Virgin internally acknowledged customer pain points in regards to their industry at large, and made an effort to turn them on their head. By ramping up the fun and friendliness quotient in their content offerings to consumers, Virgin honed in on what they knew their youthful customers would enjoy, and, by partnering with BuzzFeed, developed a fun content strategy destined to go viral.
2. Communicate with video.
When Samsung sat down to craft their marketing strategy for the Android-based Galaxy S3 in anticipation of the iPhone 5 release, marketers knew they had to focus on touting their own product and its unique capabilities while acknowledging the existence of their direct competitor's achievements. As seen in the case of Virgin, focusing on consumer pain points is always an excellent way to garner a reaction; Apple, Samsung's biggest competitor, was banking on their existing brand cache and customer loyalty in order to hit proposed sales and revenue targets for the iPhone. And, while the iPhone 5 was expected to be a huge success technologically speaking, Samsung took advantage of Apple's ongoing triumphs when crafting an integrated marketing for the release of their own device.
Samsung chose to forgo traditional marketing tactics and decided to go viral with social video. The result was a subtle and very clever commercial addressing the central pain points of iPhone users such as exorbitant costs, long lines at retail locations, software glitches, incompatible power adapters, screen size and so forth. The video's placement on YouTube was another agile strategy; given the massive volume of traffic YouTube amasses each month. According to a recent study by AYTM Market Research, nearly 60% of Internet users visited the video platform in March 2013, and 21.7% of users frequented the social network each day. By showcasing the commercial on YouTube, Samsung recognized it's viral potential and the value of YouTube's potential as an innate broadcasting and publicity tool.
3. Be timely and relevant; serve up content when your audience needs it most.
When you purchase a new mobile device, it's highly unlikely that you'll be able to use it in its entirety without some form of guidance or instruction from the manufacturer. In fact, there are probably several undetected shortcuts to learn as you become more familiar with the phone itself. The latest email marketing strategy from Verizon Wireless takes the wait and theorizing out of the equation by deploying a series of targeted email newsletters to new device owners directly following their purchase. The intent of these emails is purely informational, and not intended to drum up immediate business. Given the fact that the recipient made a recent purchase and most likely won't be investing in a new device for another one to two years. On the contrary, Verizon's aim is to educate their consumer base through targeted, device-specific thought leadership.
The content of the welcome email is separated into a four-part campaign, establishing a how-to, step-by-step guide for new users and owners. Verizon was able to assess the ROI of its product-specific newsletter by evaluating the open and click-through rates of their email campaigns, respectively. According to data shared by John Edwards, Verizon's associate director of email and search marketing, published on ChiefMarketer.com, the initial newsletter, otherwise known as part one of the segmented campaign, resulted in a 42% open rate and a 35% click-through rate. Although Verizon's high open rate is not necessarily surprising, since the consumers opening the email had recently purchased a Verizon Wireless product, and were presumably in need of the information, the initiative is a clear example of how to leverage both thought leadership and consumer needs as a means to garner in engagement and connect personally with users.
Verizon has leveraged content in other ways in an effort to exacerbate customer loyalty and sales through thought leadership. Their online mobile app "magazine," The Recapp, culls in news, reviews and rankings from around the web exclusively related to mobile applications. The sources are all high-quality and include editorial from publications such as Fast Company, USA Today, Wired, Gizmodo and Technocrati. The site's "App Living" section offers reviews and lists of top-rated apps by category, need and devices. Again, Verizon gets "device-specific" by incorporating content that is unique to various products Verizon sells to customers, such as the Blackberry, iPhone and Android.
4. Think about multimedia and commerce.
While user experience and design may be at the forefront of your consumer-driven marketing campaign, it's important to focus on multimedia, in all its mediums, as a main driver of consumer engagement. When UK telecommunications powerhouse Orange Telecom sought to build out their content marketing strategy they turned to multimedia as a tool of engagement. Orange developed a verticalized hub featuring fully licensed UK and world news, entertainment, lifestyle and sports content, complete with video, games images, music and movie trailers. Additionally, Orange provides users with the ability to stream music directly from their Orange mobile or tablet device, selling ringtones to consumers for instant use as well. In turn, Orange turned the traditional concept of content marketing on its head, by fusing news content with video, music, games and commerce. This multifaceted approach not only increased engagement to the brand's website, but it also established Orange as a recognized thought leader in entertainment and cutting-edge content trends.
As you begin to develop your own content marketing strategy, or iterate on an existing one, consider the calculated approach taken by Orange. One of their most on-target executions was understanding that an effective content marketing strategy must have engagement at its core. By employing various forms of multimedia, specifically video, music and visuals, Orange managed to augment time spent and interaction with their brand, all by creating a stimulating user experience featuring exclusive digital content that resonated with their users.