Mobile networks turn to device insights to boost marketing

5 Myths that Hold a Business Back From Getting an AppMobile marketing has long promised to be an extraordinarily effective way for networks to reach their customers with relevant, timely messages – but getting the reality to match the promise is often costly, and rarely easy.

According to Lars Houbak, GM of Spirent Mobilethink, there’s one key insight, however, that can transform the way networks plan, design and execute mobile marketing campaigns. It’s simply this: that one of the single strongest predictors of how a customer will use mobile services and data is the nature of the device in their hand. Targeting users based on the characteristics and capabilities of their handsets, gives operators with limited marketing budgets a more effective, affordable way to boost data use.

Tailor communications to users’ devices
For example, it’s clear that you’d want to communicate different offers to customers who have smartphones than to those who have low-end, data-capable phones with small black and white displays. But what about the more sophisticated feature phone, with a colour screen, that has some ability to play audio and video? By appealing directly to the capabilities of each customer’s device, operators can deliver much more relevant, targeted marketing.

Leverage real-time device intelligence
The effect is multiplied if operators combine this knowledge with real-time offers and automatic device management. For example, the moment when a customer upgrades to a newer model with greater capabilities is a significant opportunity. Device-based campaigns enable operators to identify when that phone is activated for the first time, and then to trigger a sequence of automated processes, that could include a promotional message, an over-the-air (OTA) Internet setup message and notification to the billing system that the subscriber will use a special data plan that fits the specific phone. One of Spirent Mobilethink’s African clients used a similar device intelligence solution to increase data revenue in a specific segment by 12% in just one month.

Applying device intelligence is especially important in African and other developing markets because the landscape is extremely diverse in terms of the age, type and origin of phones. We have everything from iPhones, to new smartphones from unknown vendors in China, to ten-year-old Nokia feature phones. Operators need to find ways to deliver what each segment of this complex market needs and wants.

Spirent Mobilethink support this kind of closely targeted marketing with a global handset database, which keeps track of capabilities, features, configuration needs, access protocols and other technical specifications for every device in the ever-expanding pool of mobile handsets. Every phone in a network can be identified based on its unique IMEI number – and messages, automated configuration settings and notification to other back-end systems like billing and customer care can then be automated.

Timing is crucial: the sooner you send the subscriber relevant, targeted promotions and offers, the more likely they are to respond to the offer. Ideally it should happen within a few minutes of them switching the device on for the first time. You can only do this with real-time knowledge of the devices attached to the network and device management features that enable subscribers to experiment with new data services. This translates directly into reduced churn and greater revenue for operators explains Houbak.

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