Mobile is trans­form­ing our lives, and because telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies are at the epi­cen­ter of the mobile evo­lu­tion, we wanted to get their per­spec­tive on the chal­lenges, oppor­tu­ni­ties, and dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing pri­or­i­ties for the future. In col­lab­o­ra­tion with Econ­sul­tancy, we sur­veyed over 200 exec­u­tives in the tele­com indus­try based in North Amer­ica and EMEA (Europe, the Mid­dle East and Africa). Here are our favorite themes and find­ings from the study.


Have Bud­get, Will Invest

Dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing is a strate­gic pri­or­ity for tele­com com­pa­nies but inte­grated mar­ket­ing remains elusive.


46% of tele­com mar­ket­ing bud­gets are devoted to dig­i­tal as com­pared to 38% for com­pa­nies across all sectors.

In addi­tion, 84% of tele­com exec­u­tives plan to increase dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing tech­nol­ogy spend over the next 12 month as com­pared to 70% across all sectors.

While the tele­com indus­try leads other sec­tors with respect to inte­grated mar­ket­ing, there’s still sig­nif­i­cant upside. Fifty per­cent say they have the tech­nol­ogy needed to suc­ceed. How­ever, 43% say mar­ket­ing doesn’t have the tech­ni­cal skills to uti­lize tech­nol­ogy to full extent. (This find­ing cor­re­lates with Adobe’s Dig­i­tal Dis­tress study.) Also,only 37% take an inte­grated approach to all mar­ket­ing (12% across all sectors).

Study Respon­dents
“Big Data is a rev­o­lu­tion and the hype about it is real. It presents the oppor­tu­nity to make our orga­ni­za­tion more agile, more effi­cient and more com­pet­i­tive.”
“Big Data will do three major things for us: 1. Deliver smarter ser­vices that gen­er­ate new sources of rev­enue.
2. Trans­form oper­a­tions to achieve busi­ness and ser­vice excel­lence.
3. Build smarter net­works to drive con­sis­tent, high-quality cus­tomer expe­ri­ence. It’s a nat­ural pro­gres­sion since mobile and social.”

Big Data, Big­ger Opportunity

Tele­coms con­sider Big Data to be the most excit­ing oppor­tu­nity for the near term as it will sup­port their efforts to increase rev­enues from the core busi­ness. Big Data ranked the sin­gle most excit­ing oppor­tu­nity over the next 12 months.

Dis­con­nected tech­nol­ogy plat­forms were also cited as the great­est bar­rier to inte­grated mar­ket­ing. Con­nect­ing these plat­forms will help unlock the value of Big Data.

In addi­tion to the impor­tance of con­nect­ing tech­nol­ogy plat­forms, other bar­ri­ers to suc­cess top the list of issues for US tele­coms, includ­ing too much data, no sin­gle cus­tomer view, and privacy.The US appears to be more mature in the area of Big Data and inte­grated mar­ket­ing with 64% of respon­dents say­ing they are able to attribute con­tri­bu­tion of mar­ket­ing efforts across mul­ti­ple chan­nels ver­sus 35% in EMEA.

Apps First, Mobile Matu­rity on the Rise

Mobile has received high lev­els of invest­ment and mobile matu­rity con­tin­ues to evolve.


Apps topped the listof chan­nels tel­cos will use to engage with mobile users over next 12 months. Respon­dents also said 58% of their Web users are mul­ti­chan­nel (access­ing both mobile and desk­top), which is help­ing drive con­tin­ued focus on Big Data.

Mobile matu­rity still evolv­ing, how­ever, com­pared to EMEA, US respon­dents indi­cated the following:

  • mobile is a sep­a­rate team (40% ver­sus 27%)
  • higher mobile invest­ment (56% ver­sus 30% at > $7.5M cur­rency adjusted)
  • higher per­cent­age of web traf­fic from mobile (52% ver­sus 39%)
  • higher pro­por­tion of vis­i­tors using both mobile and desk­top (63% ver­sus 53%)
  • higher use of mobile apps to engage with users (79% ver­sus 56%)
  • able to attribute the con­tri­bu­tion of mar­ket­ing efforts across mul­ti­ple chan­nels (64% ver­sus 35%)

In the short term, dri­ving mobile invest­ments through a sep­a­rate team may be advan­ta­geous. Clearly an inte­grated team can’t be equated to orga­ni­za­tional exper­tise and matu­rity in mobile. How­ever, a silo-ed approach to mobile orga­ni­za­tion will even­tu­ally limit full inte­gra­tion of mobile with other mar­ket­ing activities.

Video Mar­ket­ing Rises in Importance

Video and per­son­al­iza­tion are essen­tial to engen­der­ing engage­ment and con­ver­sion on small screens.

Video mar­ket­ing is a top pri­or­ity for tele­coms rel­a­tive to other indus­tries (28% for tel­cos ver­sus 9% for all indus­tries). Given the high pro­por­tion of users access­ing tele­coms sites through smaller screens and high audi­ence engage­ment with video, it is not sur­pris­ing to see video mar­ket­ing at the top of the list of dig­i­tal priorities.

Here are the top digital-related pri­or­i­ties over the next 12 months:


Sup­port for video is also evi­dent when review­ing bud­get plans. For exam­ple, 57% of com­pa­nies sur­veyed are plan­ning to increase bud­gets for video adver­tis­ing over the next 12 months.

telco table

In addi­tion to mobile and video, social and per­son­al­iza­tion are ranked at the top of dig­i­tal pri­or­i­ties. Con­ver­sion rate opti­miza­tion is notably absent from the list of top pri­or­i­ties, rep­re­sent­ing a gap within the tele­com indus­try where high mobile traf­fic but low mobile con­ver­sion rates cur­rently make for a leaky funnel.

You can find the full report here: Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing in the Tele­com Sec­tor.

Study Respon­dents
“Three-quarters of our traf­fic comes from mobile but 96% of our con­ver­sions come from desk­top … we should be able to improve on this.”
“There seems to be lim­ited focus on reten­tion. Due to the long pur­chase cycles (mobile phone con­tracts have two-year con­tracts as stan­dard), focus tends to be placed on acqui­si­tion rather than reten­tion. There are big oppor­tu­ni­ties for greater reten­tion through deliv­ery of per­son­al­ized con­tent. In turn this should reduce over­all acqui­si­tion [costs] and increase cus­tomer life­time value (through cross-sell opportunities).”