In spite of vendors’ conviction that their products or services are truly the “killer app” for carriers, the road to the Holy Grail of shared revenues is littered with corpses of yesterday’s launches, from mobile markets in London to Delhi to Tokyo.
What can be done to raise the rate of adoption by the fickle mobile consumer? The answer lies in partnering with carriers for the “integrated campaign”, done over not a month or a quarter, but over at least a year.
Carrier value-added service (VAS) or marketing departments are overwhelmed by their pipeline of products and services and monthly launches. It is no surprise that many such departments are filled with managers with FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) experience, like Nestlé or Procter & Gamble. Without quick and continuous subscriber adoption after a “launch” a new product or service will be dropped and no amount of a vendor’s entreaties to the carrier will revive it for a second round.
The vendor must do homework first: develop a subscriber segmentation study and act as a social anthropologist, not a technologist. Find out what a mobile consumer in a particular market does when waking up. What portals does he go for info? What social networking service applications do they use? What bloggers do they read? What are the barriers to downloading or purchases and how to overcome them? Where are the main malls or shopping areas for certain segments? Sometimes the subscriber segments “align” with the carriers’ research (if they will share it with vendors) and this is best, since carriers have already substantial data on the market niches.
Also, the vendor must assemble a variety of programs to reach the targeted consumer segment. The list may include social networking sites, bloggers, creating their own website or mobile ads or developing games, point-of-sale training for retail shops, and even educational skits at malls and universities. This “integrated campaign” execution plan is reviewed with the department and a shared budget confirmed, then a marketing agency selected -- the best are those already working closely on the carrier’s in-country campaigns.