Telco Marketers Report Big Appetite for Live Data Insights to Add Customer Value and More Relevant Digital Services


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New CMO Council Survey of 150 Mobile Network Marketing Leaders Reveals Many Obstacles to Applying Real-Time Data Intelligence to Upgrading Customer Experience and Revenue Growth

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Jan. 29, 2019) – While possessing a vast abundance of ever-multiplying customer data, the world’s leading wireless network operators and communications service providers are now hardwired to turn this under-performing asset base into a new form of “data currency” that can create customer value, generate new revenue streams and be used for competitive advantage.

In a new global survey of 150 senior marketers at leading communication service providers, mobile network operators and digital media companies, almost half report they are still working to improve the quality, timeliness, depth and reliability of customer data in their organization. Only 29 percent rate their effectiveness as very high or consistently good, in comparison to 22 percent who see it as inconsistent or not very good.

Research conducted by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, in cooperation with Huawei, found timely insights into customer interactions, transactions, locational information, as well as pricing and profitability were among the top most valued areas of intelligence for customer value creation.

Entitled “Customer Value Creation from Live Data Interpretation,” the report published today was based on a survey undertaken in the second half of 2018. The research also includes commentary from in-depth interviews with senior executives from Bharti Airtel, Cell C, GLOBE, MTN, Orange, SingTel, TCL, Verizon, Vodacom, Vodafone and Saudi Telecom Company.

According to those telco marketers surveyed, the top five contributors to customer value creation are:

  • Efficient and accessible customer care and quick problem resolution (57 percent)
  • Consistent, predictable experience across all channels of engagement (54 percent)
  • Operational excellence, reliability, uptime and quality of service (48 percent)
  • Simplified customer journey to subscribe and use services (46 percent)
  • Personalization of content, plans, and support programs (28 percent)

Surprisingly, telco marketers ranked the following three areas as less important for customer value creation:

  • Transition from 4G to 5G platforms and other network innovations (11 percent)
  • More choice, flexibility, convenience and less onerous terms of service (7 percent)
  • Recognition and reward for customer loyalty, longevity and overall lifetime value (4 percent)

Less than 10 percent of telco marketers say their organization is highly effective at using historical data to better understand customer needs and revenue growth opportunities. Only 20 percent report they are consistently good. The majority of respondents believe they are getting better. However, a disappointing 28 percent say they are inconsistent in the use of historical data, have problems with extracting data from silos or are just poor at using it effectively.

When comparing the use of historical data to real-time insights, survey participants believe access to timely customer journey and lifecycle analytics would be the best way for them to deliver more relevant and valued products, services and experiences. Among the top six types of real-time data most desired by telco marketers are:

  • Customer journey/lifecycle analytics (61 percent)
  • Multi-channel engagement (48 percent)
  • Purchases and transactions (37 percent)
  • Automated smart interaction, such as chatbots, digital avatars, adaptive learning, AI (33 percent)
  • Location and mobility (28 percent)
  • Pricing and profitability (28 percent)

However, survey participants noted that the primary obstacles to generating greater customer value from live data utilization were based on a myriad of perceived deficiencies. These include lack of resources/talent, dated infrastructures, digital transformation delays, change-resistant mindset, knowledge of advanced technology and the lack of data integration and unification across the enterprise.

“Surprisingly, tracking customer value creation as a critical contributor to business fundamentals and performance indicator has yet to be widely adopted in the telco sector. Fully 60 percent of telco marketers state they have yet to undertake studies that correlate customer value creation to business performance,” notes Donovan Neale-May, CMO Council executive director.

“Looking to counter competitive threats and inroads, telco marketers are now embracing a wide range of new strategies to deliver both customer value and incremental margin or revenue,” Neale-May points out. Among those topping the list are better use of data and insight, more advanced customer engagement technology, infrastructure upgrades, and quicker response to evolving digital business service and lifestyle needs. 

In executing on their strategies, telco marketers ranked the top 10 new products, programs, experiences, partnerships or services that exemplify how they are furthering customer value.

  • Security and threat protection
  • Cloud services
  • Implementation of 5G services
  • Subscription-based content
  • Remote monitoring and management (IoT)
  • eCommerce
  • Music on-demand
  • Digital wallet/payments
  • Predictive maintenance
  • Bundled services (quad play)

Research and Report Details

Customer Value Creation from Data Interpretation: To address this much needed area of global knowledge transfer, the CMO Council is teaming with Huawei to define a model and roadmap for how chief marketers can generate greater customer value, affinity and revenue growth through live data interpretation in the telco sector. This is aimed at developing a more intimate understanding of subscribers’ digital lives, unmet needs, and willingness to pay for more personalized and relevant service offerings.

The global CMO Council survey of 150 chief marketing executives at leading communication service providers, mobile network operators and digital media companies was undertaken in the second half of 2018. Some 34 percent of those surveyed represented operators and carriers headquartered in Europe, 25 percent in North America, 23 percent in Asia-Pacific, nine percent in Middle East/Africa and nine percent in Latin America. Over 50 percent of marketers surveyed hold positions at companies with over $1 billion in revenue and 31 percent are at companies with annual revenue of between $50 million and $1 billion. Most organizations represented focus on both B2B and B2C markets (56 percent hybrid), while another 40 percent are B2B-oriented, and just five percent centered on consumer markets.

The core deliverables of the research initiative include:

  • Meaningful insights into what chief marketers and their internal ecosystem (other stakeholders) are doing to generate greater customer value
  • Definition and prioritization of different data sources and real-time insights required for continuous customer value delivery and measurement
  • Review of current market forces and drivers that are pressuring incumbents to focus on customer value creation and understand its impact on business performance
  • Best practice profiles and reference cases across the telco sector that highlight the success of customer value creation strategies, operational commitments and technology investments

The CMO Council’s fullreport ($199) on Customer Value Creation includes abstracts of qualitative conversations with leading telco brands headquarter in major regions of the world. Topics covered included:

  • How organizations are strategically focused, formally structured and operationally aligned to deliver greater customer value
  • What business forces and market factors are driving the need to find new ways to satisfy, gratify, solidify and multiply the value of customer relationships
  • Where and how organizations use live or historic data to understand the digital life of subscribers, fulfill unmet customer needs, and realize revenue growth opportunities
  • What areas of growth or opportunity are being explored to deliver both customer value and incremental margin or revenue
  • What new products, programs, experiences, partnerships or services exemplify how carriers or operators are furthering customer value
  • What sources and types of data are most useful in identifying areas where more value and improvements can be made in product, service development and delivery
  • What tools, technologies or partnerships are being embraced to execute customer value creation strategies
  • How are telco leaders are measuring progress in customer value creation and the impact this is having on business performance

About the CMO Council

The CMO Council is the only global network of executives specifically dedicated to high-level knowledge exchange, thought leadership and personal relationship building among senior corporate marketing leaders and brand decision-makers across a wide range of global industries. The CMO Council’s 15,000-plus members control approximately $500 billion in aggregated annual marketing expenditures and run complex, distributed marketing and sales operations worldwide. In total, the CMO Council and its strategic interest communities include more than 65,000 global executives in more than 110 countries covering multiple industries, segments and markets. Regional chapters and advisory boards are active in the Americas, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, India and Africa. The council’s strategic interest groups include the Coalition to Leverage and Optimize Sales Effectiveness (CLOSE), Brand Inspiration Center, Marketing Supply Chain Institute, Customer Experience Board, Digital Marketing Performance Center, and the GeoBranding Center. More information on the CMO Council is available at

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