TDC Channels Predictive Power Of Customer Data
CMO.com talked to Camilla Ramby, SVP, head of marcom, about how the Danish cable giant—and one of the country’s biggest advertisers—is embracing digital and the challenges it faces in leveraging a wealth of consumer data.
TDC Group is a Danish provider of communications solutions and pay TV, providing 70% of all Danish households with its products. It is also one of Denmark’s biggest advertisers. We talked to Camilla Ramby, SVP, head of marcom about how the company is embracing digital and about the challenge of utilising its wealth of consumer data in its marketing.
I began by asking her about the biggest marketing challenges facing TDC.
Ramby: The growing use of digital is a big one. We know a lot about our existing customers, and we have a lot of data about consumer journeys on external platforms, but to put those two together—to recognise our customers on external platforms—is the next step. We are working on that at the moment.
We are pretty good at using data on existing customers. We have propensity models for sales and churn. I anticipate that it will be a year or so before we have the capability to combine this with external data, in part because we have to ensure that the legal side [data protection] is correct.
CMO.com: Do you also have to work harder because telecoms is, arguably, less sexy than some industries?
Ramby: Not really because we have many partnerships with content providers for our TV offering. We have partnerships with HBO and Netflix, for example, which means we have a lot of content, and that works really well for engaging our consumers. We do have higher prices than some of our competitors, but we can justify that due to our content. It is really a one-stop-shopping experience when you engage with us.
There are so many stories to tell in our marketing, particularly as the products become more and more complex. It isn’t just a TV subscription with 10 TV channels—you can decide when you want to watch TV, and you can record programmes, yet many consumers aren’t aware of all the options. Mobile is more difficult to market than TV or broadband, but again we use the content that is included in the product to get the interest of consumers.
CMO.com: Does your industry give you access to more consumer insight than many other industries?
Ramby: Yes. If you compare us to more ‘sexy’ brands, we have more data so we know the consumer better and can be more relevant in our communications, so it is easier for us to carry out activation programmes and loyalty programmes. It allows us to tailor our products and marketing.
We use data to predict the next product consumers might buy. We are also working on models using the content data, predicting the next film and TV series people might enjoy, for example. It will allow us to recommend content to people.
We have huge amounts of data that we haven’t even started working with, but it is a difficult job. Add the call data to our customer base data—not only where they live and which products they have but which programmes they watch and when—and it will tell us a lot about our customers, but we aren’t there yet.
CMO.com: What is the key to making best use of this wealth of data—now and in future?
Ramby: We invest in analytics, and that is our big advantage—working closely with our analytics team is crucial to our marketing success. They can collect so much data about consumers, but sometimes we need to say, ‘OK, maybe you can do 500 segments, but we can’t do 500 different emails,’ so we need to meet in the middle. We work closely together to find the best solution, and will continue to do so.
CMO.com: How else do use digital in your marketing?
Ramby: We do a lot of remarketing, so if consumers have begun the sales process online, we can see how far they get and we can retarget them if they drop off. So, if they are a few steps into the sales flow and we recognise them on a Google platform, for example, we can retarget them as quickly as possible, and we do see quite a good conversion rate from that.
For example, we recently retargeted customers that did not complete the broadband sign-up flow for our TV services brand, ‘YouSee.’ We sent them a tactical message and found that the sooner we retargeted, the better the result: When we retargeted customers, within three days we saw a 250% uplift in conversion; within seven days, we saw 175% uplift; within 14 days, we saw 125% uplift; and within 30 days we saw a 75% uplift.
CMO.com: Facebook is also a popular channel for you. How do you use it?
Ramby: We use Facebook advertising because it allows us to be very targeted. Facebook is more or less one-to-one communications, so if we have a message we want to send out to a particular customer segment we can decide whether it will be via Facebook, email or letter. It is another option. Consumers on Facebook are now more willing to buy through the platform too, whereas a few years ago brands would be punished for trying. Now it is different, and a lot cheaper than it used to be.
For example, if we have a customer who has a Nokia phone that they bought a few years ago, our data models show us that it is time for that customer to buy a new phone. We can promote a Nokia to that particular segment in Facebook, and we do get good results from that approach.
CMO.com: Are you using any other social media channels?
Ramby: We are testing Instagram, but it is fairly new in Denmark, and we are waiting to see how advertisers are being received as its consumers are not used to ads. We will watch and wait. It is a platform that is growing in popularity. It will be very interesting to see how it develops.
Snapchat is also seeing massive growth but there is no tracking, so working out how to use it is difficult. We are playing with it. For example, twice a year TDC hosts a free concert in Copenhagen, with some of the biggest artists in Denmark. We use Snapchat around the event and we watch how the fan base uses it, but we can’t yet link it to retention or sales or any of those KPIs so it is a bit blind. In time, when we have lots of consumers on the platform and it has tracking in place, we will see.
CMO.com: How has the growing use of digital impacted on the structure of the marketing department?__
__Ramby: TDC Groups has four consumer brands and in total we cover 70% of all Danish households, so we work as a portfolio because different customer segments will have different brand preferences. It means I have four different marketing departments who each live and breathe their brand. In addition, I now have a digital expert in each department, so each brand has a specialist that can work closely with our digital centre of excellence. That is new.
I also make sure that every new employee I hire has a digital background because I think we need that specialist knowledge going forward.
CMO.com: Is it easy to find the digital talent you need when recruiting?
Ramby: If you want people with digital skills they tend to be very young which means they are junior so it is not that easy. We have hired quite a few students who are still studying. They come to us three days a week, and when they finish their studies we will hire them full time. That has proven to be a successful approach.
We have positioned the TDC marketing department as a very innovative department which means our employer brand is popular; it is a popular place to work. Also, because TDC is Danish it is not like working for Google where everything comes from the U.S., so you can have an idea and activate it and see the results. A lot of Danish people think that’s an interesting opportunity.
CMO.com: What exactly is your role?
Ramby: I oversee all four marketing departments. With four brands and four marketing departments. we have to make sure that we have very clear positions in the market; that each brand differentiates itself.
There is a lot of business in upselling and cross-selling as we try to protect our customer base from our competitors, so a lot of our work is about avoiding cannibalisation and to sell across the brands. That approach enables us to increase customer loyalty.
CMO.com: How do you ensure that the digital knowledge of your marketing team—and your personal digital knowledge—continues to develop?
Ramby: I learn from my team. and I make sure we do at least one trip abroad each year. A few months ago we went to see Facebook to learn about Instagram, and we have been to New York to visit Google and some of the digital agencies we work with, which is where I get my inspiration.
CMO.com: Where is TDC on the journey from digital as a channel to a mindset that informs the whole organisation?__
__Ramby: Our analytics team and marketing team are quite far advanced when it comes to embracing and using digital, and the next step is the product development team—they don’t yet have digital resources. I would like to see them using data to carry out product development; that is the next step. Everyone at TDC certainly buys into the importance of data, but to start working with it is another step. If you have a sales target it is sometimes easier to send out 500,000 letters than 10,000 and take that risk, even if it may not be beneficial in the long run.
The board is supportive of investing in digital because they have approved all the investment—and they are big investments—but to actually understand digital is more difficult. They buy into it, and I show them the results and that is key—it gives them comfort that this is the way forward.
CMO.com: How do you see digital marketing developing going forward?
Ramby: In time I think one-to-one marketing will take over from traditional media such as TV, which requires very complex econometric models to really understand the impact, and it is very time-consuming to do that analysis. With digital, however, you can see the impact very quickly and adjust to it, so I think a shift from traditional media to digital will continue to happen, it’s just a question of how fast. We have already seen digital produce change at a phenomenal speed. It is a continual challenge to keep up and to work out which areas of digital to prioritise.
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