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Can CSPs Enable Omni-Channel Marketing?

Carol Wilson

Almost half of global brand marketers think mobile network operators could help them engage with their customers across marketing channels, according to a recent study by the global Chief Marketing Officer Council. But that same study shows those CSPs lack confidence in their ability to reach their own customers across multiple channels.

The "omni-channel experience" -- defined as fully integrated engagement of customers across multiple channels, including social, mobile, web, contact center and retail stores -- is something every CMO is craving today, according to the CMO Council, a global network of 12,500 executives. For this study, it surveyed about 150 non-telco brand managers and 100 telco marketing executives, then combined those results with interviews and other insights for the report, Getting Serious About the Omni-Channel Experience, issued today.

"What is quickly revealed is that there is significant alignment on everything from the very definition of omni-channel to the list of challenges that will need to be addressed in order to fully exploit the opportunity at hand," the report concludes. "Most significantly, there is consensus that leadership is needed to guide the path forward, and this leadership can and should come from the very MNOs who are questioning their capabilities and strategies to engage with their own customers, let alone lead the way for big brands to better engage across the omni-channel landscape."

You're invited to attend Light Reading's LTE Advanced Pro and Gigabit LTE: The Path to 5G event – a free breakfast collocated at Mobile World Congress Americas with a keynote address by Sprint's COO Günther Ottendorfer.

How lacking in confidence about their marketing capabilities are the wireless operators? The CMO Council survey found 56% of telco industry marketers think they are being outperformed in the omni-channel effort by non-telco folks and just 4% of the wireless operators "think they are giving their customers a consistent, personalized and contextually relevant experience across all traditional and digital channels by leveraging persistence of information, respecting the privacy of customers, and aligning the business needs with IT," the report says.

Omni-channel marketing is the stuff that lets companies know you've been doing online research before you walk into their retail store, or lets them target consumers walking past their stores with mobile coupons, or ensures that when you call a customer service line, the representative who answers knows who you are and your customer history.

Consumers may consider it intrusive but marketers see ways of tapping new revenues more efficiently and keeping their customers happy and more loyal.

One primary finding of the CMO Council report is the need for both telecom and non-telco brand marketers to work together. To enable that the council has teamed up with a group called the Open ROADS Community -- ROADS stands for "Real-time, On-demand, All-online, Do-It-Yourself, and Social" -- which is a Huawei-funded initiative that it calls an "incubator for digital transformation" for telcos. The two groups are planning to create an "actionable framework for more effective and consistent engagement across all customer touch points and channels of digital interaction," according to the CMO Council statement.

The aim of the initiative is to advocate a common model, implementation roadmap, and best practices and processes for evolving to a higher level of customer experience, value creation, retention and business performance.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

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