Campaign trail

Amid falling ARPUs and ever tougher competition, it is vital for operators to understand customers’ needs and how to respond to them. Nasser Ballout of Business Logic Systems (BLS) explains how mobile operators can benefit by understanding and developing the right incentives for their customers.

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By  Roger Field Published  March 21, 2009

Amid falling ARPUs and ever tougher competition, it is vital for operators to understand customers’ needs and how to respond to them. Nasser Ballout of Business Logic Systems (BLS) explains how mobile operators can benefit by understanding and developing the right incentives for their customers.

What does BLS offer to operators?

We help our customers – the mobile operators – get value for money from real-time behavioural data. We analyse the customer behaviour on the network with the intention of producing and executing automated loyalty campaigns. Our portfolio of products is designed to create a life-cycle management of campaigning for loyalty and customer retention. There are different segments to our solution, but its overall brand name is InTelestage.

How do you go about gathering the data, and then transforming it into useful information?

Creating that lifecycle starts off with creating a knowledge base for the customer. To do this we pool in data from multiple sources. It could be from the network, the CRM or the data warehouse. You have multiple integration points bring in data. This is really a data mass designed for campaigns.

We bring in this data and then we micro-profile it using the InTelestage profiling product. This allows the operators to assess the data. Our system comes with user-proof, pre-defined profiles so they don’t have to create profiles from day-one. The operator might want to focus on age groups, or top executives, for example.

Another key aspect of our solution is that it runs campaigns based on real-time data. We are challenging the traditional way of campaigning here. The traditional method of targeted campaigning is done from the call centre. If you have a million customers it means that you need to have a very large call centre with thousands of agents. In our case, it is all automated.

Also if you look at the way the telcos do the campaigning they depend a lot on media and advertising companies and they end up spending millions of dollars a year on that, so we save them from that.

Another key thing to remember is that the system is also re-usable. We have customers who are running their tenth version of a particular campaign. They may adjust the criteria of the research slightly.

Once the data has been compiled and assessed, how is the campaign executed?

After we do the profiling we do the actual campaigning using InTelestage Campaign Manager. This is designed and built for targeted campaigns to millions of subscribers. For example, an operator might want to do a targeted campaign for specific subscribers, such as elevate a certain segment from an average recharge of AED25 (US$6.7) to AED50 (US$13.5) a week. They could run a weekend campaign to tell the targeted subscribers “recharge for AED50 within the next 72 hours and we will give you a bonus reward of 50%.” The subscriber sends back an SMS with a Yes or No answer to the campaign. Our system automatically links the campaign and the reward to that subscriber.

We have an Australian client that wanted to revive low use and dormant customers. They profiled subscribers using less-than or equal to AUS $2 (US$1.2) services for a period of one month. The operator wanted to offer bonuses on the next recharge, 25% bonus on AUS$10 (US$6.4) and 50% on above that. The objective was to reward loyalty and revive low usage customers.

How about business in the Middle East? Are you seeing much demand in the region?

We just opened our Middle East office. In the Middle East we are working with a lot of operators now so hopefully we will announce some additional wins very soon. We are working for STC and we are part of their loyalty program, Qitaf. The loyalty programme runs on our system and is extremely successful.

We see the Middle East as the industry sees it, as a growing emerging market. Even with the financial crisis this area is still growing.

Why is the time-to-market for these campaigns so important?

This kind of solution is designed for the operators by marketing people and is designed to roll out within 24 hours or 36 hours. You have to understand that operators today, because of the changes to market dynamics with competition and de-regulation, don’t have the luxury to plan campaigns three months in. It is really about giving the tools to the marketing people, and putting marketing back into marketing, and also creating sales channels out of marketing campaigns.

Operators today have a challenge – they have to keep selling to their subscriber base and if they are successful at selling to their subscriber base, that means they are retaining that customer.

BLS – fast facts

Founded in UK

2001 - R&D office moved to Romania.

Locations: London, Kuala Lumpar, Melbourne, and a soon-to-be-opened office in Dubai.

Staff worldwide:
90

Specialises in: Software to manage and execute customer incentives for mobile operators.

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