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How to market to mobile operators

How to market to mobile operators

By Jote Bassi, Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing, Anam

The mobile market is a hugely competitive one. There are only a limited number of mobile operators globally, although that number is growing as new MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) spring up all the time, yet there are thousands of companies all trying to sell their product, service or application to those operators.

If you are one of those companies, then to have any impact with the operators it’s important that you get your marketing right.

Here’s some simple points that should help you to achieve greater success.

Research is vital

Good research is key to success and the research comes in two parts. The first is to research the market; the second is to research the operators.

How do you compare to your competitors? If you meet the operator and claim to be the fastest, will a competitor follow you into the room and prove that they are faster? It is vital that you understand what your differentiator is and the only way to find that is to research the market.

If the research uncovers the fact that you don’t have a differentiator, then maybe you need to make some changes. Again research will help you, but can you find a gap with an amended product or in a different geographic market?

You must also know who you are talking to. If your product or application is as good you think it is then someone, somewhere will want to buy it. The question is who? If you can find the right person at the right operator and approach them at the right time with the right product, then it will make your life much easier.

Sometimes that means not going for the obvious target, or taking a slightly different approach with how you label your product to make it appeal. Good research will allow you to make those decisions.
Consider the consumer

Although you are selling to the operator, they will need to sell your product, either directly or indirectly, onto their customers. You must consider how your customers can and should market your product to their customers. Even if your product will never be directly consumer facing (e.g a new billing system) there must be some benefits for the consumer if the operator is going to invest in it.

If you can make the operator’s life easier by showing them the way that consumers will benefit through your marketing, then you are more likely to complete the sale.

Remember the numbers

Your team almost certainly has numbers to hit, whether they are direct sales numbers, or marketing response rates that you have to meet. This will also be true for your contact with the operator. He has to prove that any new initiative will increase subscriptions; or reduce churn; or promote cross-selling; or improve ARPU (average revenue per user).

If you can help him to do that, then he is more likely to say yes. So don’t forget to talk about how you can help them make money. What’s the business case for the operator if they adopt your product? If you don’t know and can’t articulate it then why should they take the risk with you?

However, if you present some numbers and show how you can all profit from your product, then the operator will be more likely to want to work with you.

Produce simple collateral

As with marketing to any sector, good, clear and concise collateral is very important. Marketing to mobile operators almost certainly means that you will have to speak to many different people working within different departments which each have different goals and targets.

It is also likely that they will all have different levels of technological knowledge. Even if you are not engaging with the different decision makers directly, your collateral will be passed among them.

Therefore any literature that you produce must be able to talk to all of these different parties and clearly explain the benefits of your product or service to each of them.

Don’t underestimate the value of PR

The results of a good PR campaign will provide you with third-party validation for your message and product and will help you to get a foot in the door with the operators.

As I mentioned earlier there are thousands of companies that are all trying to sell to the global mobile operators. So how do you make sure that you are one of the few that the operators want to meet with and talk to? Being written about in a positive way, by well-respected journalists will make a huge difference.

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