By now, everyone has seen the “Can you hear me now?” TV campaign from Verizon (and later Sprint), and we’re likely all familiar with AT&T’s plucky store employee, Lily. Often, telecom industry commercials end with a promise of faster speeds and unlimited data if viewers “switch.”
While this seems like a telecom-specific tagline, the convergence of the tech, telecom, and entertainment industries creates a new relevance for the term “switching.”
So what exactly does switching mean, and how do you become a switcher? Let’s take a look at what’s driving this phenomenon, and why now is the time for marketers to pay attention.
A “switcher” is someone who changes from one service or product to another similar service or product. Because 98 percent of the U.S. population is covered by three or more wireless providers, signing a contract with whichever telecom is offering the best deal or service that month is easy.
Similarly, consolidation across the consumer tech, telecom, and entertainment worlds, via acquisition (Verizon-Yahoo, AOL; AT&T- DirecTV, Time Warner) or blurring of product lines (ex. Amazon > Prime Streaming, Apple > Apple Music, etc.), means companies are increasingly focused on winning users from competitors.
Mobile OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) like Apple and Samsung are facing challenges similar to telcos as market saturation grows, growth rates decline, and mobile-phone technology becomes increasingly commoditized.
Plus, streaming services, while less mature, are trending toward a “switcher” model of customer acquisition. Almost one-third of Americans subscribe to a streaming video service and that number jumps to almost two-thirds among millennials.
Competition will intensify when Disney enters the market with two streaming offerings over the next year or so, positioning them as the “un-SVOD” (Subscription Video on Demand) focused on winning market share from Netflix and Hulu.
These market dynamics contribute to the need to win customers away from competitors versus signing up net-new customers. Whether we’re talking about super-fast wireless service, a state-of-the-art smartphone, or video on-demand, today’s customers are much more discerning. As a result, marketers need a more sophisticated campaign strategy.
Instead of only using “static” data signals to help determine a user’s current wireless provider, mobile phone make/model, and TV/OTT viewership, advertisers should increasingly focus on predictive audiences to help determine the best prospects and the ideal time to reach those prospects.
This takes the idea of in-market, which identifies users through online search and browsing behavior, a step farther. Instead of relying on self-identified signals, switcher audiences use attributes known about a user to make a prediction on when they will switch.
For example, in the research we’ve conducted, attributes like past switching history, contract tenure, and service availability are some of the most predictive factors for when someone will switch wireless or home internet service.
Similarly, for users looking to upgrade or switch mobile devices, the age of the device and past upgrading or switching behaviors can be highly predictive. Instead of simply modeling up a small seed of known switchers or guessing at who might be a good fit for a product or service, marketers can now take a forward-looking approach to their data strategy.
Capturing new customers when they’re most likely to consider switching increases both the efficiency and efficacy of digital marketing spend.
Get advice for your next tech, telecom, or media and entertainment campaign by contacting The Data Hotline.
About Jack Foster
Jack leads product strategy for Oracle’s Tech, Telecom, and Media & Entertainment groups. He was originally brought on to advise Oracle Data Cloud on vertical expansion and subsequently helped launch the Industry Verticals group.
Prior to joining Oracle, Jack was in product marketing and sales strategy at Rocket Fuel, focusing on their entertainment business.