While customer-centric marketing is increasingly seen as a kind of 'Holy Grail' for mobile telecoms operators, generic CRM systems, fragmented data, and poor campaign monitoring and reporting systems are undermining their ability to put subscribers at the heart of marketing relationships, according to a study by Freeform Dynamics, commissioned by Business Logic Systems.
The study, entitled 'Mobile Marketing Imperatives: Transitioning to a customer-centric approach', was based on interviews with CMOs and campaign managers from 13 Tier 1 and Tier 2 mobile operators in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Using the insights into best practices gathered from discussions with the panel, the authors have compiled a set of basic principles that mobile marketers should consider in their path toward a truly customer-centric culture.
At a time when many mobile markets are saturated, panel members placed great emphasis on developing customer loyalty programmes, improving customer segmentation, and aligning systems and processes to make customer-centric marketing a reality.
However, most members of the survey panel also agreed that set-up delays, cost over-runs, lack of automation, and over-reliance on IT departments had affected their ability to execute these campaigns.
Poor lead monitoring systems also mean that poorly-performing campaigns are often not spotted until they are too late to rectify. According to Josie Sephton, principal telecoms analyst for Freeform Dynamics, "The combination of sub-optimal systems and processes and a disconnect between functions can create both frustration and dissatisfaction issues among staff, and perpetuate political problems between departments."
The report also warns that enterprise-wide CRM systems are typically not one-size-fits-all, as was perhaps first envisaged when the original business cases were made, and the functionality they provide may not always be adequate when dealing with the real-time nature of interactive campaigns driven via mobile handsets. The end result, the authors suggest, is too heavy an emphasis on manual data processing and IT integration workarounds.
So what can be done? The report suggests that replacing current systems that do a good job in most other areas is not the right thing to do, but that it would be a useful exercise to consider solutions and approaches that could help address problems without having to change everything else.
Stewart Goldberg, chairman for Business Logic Systems, concluded: "This study highlights that mobile operators need effective tools that can be integrated with existing systems to develop more automated marketing processes. By building personalised and relevant dialogue with their customers, mobile operators can encourage profitable behaviours and create long-term subscriber loyalty. The challenge, however, lies in rapidly interpreting customer usage data to gain a more holistic view of customer activity for better campaign targeting."