NTCA’s Rural Telecom magazine just ran a terrific story in its latest edition on the move to data as a key marketing tool for rural broadband providers. The ability to tap billing analysis and other data-driven strategies have really made it possible to bring more clarity and fine-tune marketing plans in addition to improving the customer experience and increasing the company’s ROI. Clearly, the days of mass marketing as a strategy are in the rearview mirror.
Part of this evolution has been the lower cost of accessing data and new ways to harvest and analyze the data gathered. Using data to target customers with higher probability to upgrade their services is so much easier to do when you have the tools to look behind the “curtain” of consumer behavior and history. Where do your customers spend their time? What social media platforms do they use? When is the right time to send out snail mail?
Mobile strategies and using the broadband that NTCA members already provide are just part of the mix. Many of the companies profiled in the RT story–including Triangle in Montana, Pioneer in Oklahoma and SRT in North Dakota–all made it clear that their strategies are based on what they already know about their customers and what they are learning from sifting through data and using it wisely.
It’s a brave new world and it’s going to take concurrent strategies to reach the customers that RLECs serve. I think it will be exciting to see what our amazing marketing staffers have up their sleeves next. One only needs to look at our TeleChoice Award winners to see that creative strategies are alive and well in rural communities.