You are connecting your customers. But are you connecting with your customers?

In the first post, I promised that I would share some lessons from my time working in emerging markets. On this project in a developed Asian market, I learnt how marketing can be the most important link in customer understanding. And I did not expect that the greatest marketing lesson would come from Indian construction workers.

ID 54861 Sao Paolo Market

“You actually met our customers?!”, the consumer marketing director said, not even trying to hide his surprise. My colleague responded, “Yes, and it’s amazing what we learnt!”

My colleague and I had been assigned a two-month project in a developed country to help a Tier 1 mobile operator attract the migrant worker customer segment. At the time, these blue collar workers seemed to prefer a competing Tier 2 mobile operator. Let’s rewind to that previous Friday night.

That evening, my colleague visited a park where these workers would usually gather. They were mainly construction workers from India, Bangladesh and Nepal.

We discovered they did not feel respected in their new country, as they had been in their home countries and communities. I can draw a parallel to how we in Sweden consider those who emigrated to the United States in the late 1800s. We saw them as pioneers, heroes almost. But when these Swedish emigrants arrived in the States they were largely perceived as second, even third class citizens. It was the same situation, but it was now a country in Asia and about 100 years after the Swedish migration to the US. These migrant workers had a much higher status in their home countries, because they sacrificed their own well-being for the greater good of their families.

After his time in the park, my colleague and I understood the motivation of these construction workers better than any online survey ever could. And we could now help the marketing team design offers that appealed to this demographic.

For instance, many of these workers were passionate about cricket, a sport they regarded as the most important in the world, but their new country wasn’t particularly interested in it. However, as the mobile operator had relationships with some of the key sports broadcasters, the step was not far away to offer a highlights service. Discounts on remittance services in time for national holidays in their home countries, and content specific to their country of origin are also variables that could be considered when building new offers.

I learnt that if you can build engaging experiences then you have a good chance of strengthening the relationship between your brand and the customer. In the case of the migrant workers, they were the kings of their home communities – and wanted offers that resonated with that status in their new country. Not taking such factors into account may mean a widening of the gap between your brand and a particular customer segment, as they might not feel that they are valued customers.


Customer experience

How can you offer a service that really connects with customers? I believe customers will value data less and less as gigabytes become commoditized. But if they’re paying for services that help them reinforce their identity, or their desired identity, it may be a different matter. For instance, to reduce revenue dependence on the price you charge per GB, you could package a music service with concert tickets or restaurant discounts. This could then be sold at a slightly higher rate than the music service alone and could also include unlimited music streaming. You could also give away an event ticket after a certain number of top ups, or after the bill exceeds a certain amount of money over a defined period.

If you can tie online experiences to physical experiences, for example, offering a cricket game ticket after 10 top ups at a certain value, then you’ve created something memorable. Remember:

  1. The best way to understand customers is to talk to them directly.
  2. Connect your customer experience to something memorable: a brand, service, or even a physical experience. This can create a lasting positive association with your brand.

  3. Reward the use of the service with offline surprises.


Consumer expectations on 5G

To give a you a more detailed overview on the consumer expectations of 5G, I recommend you check out the Ericsson ConsumerLab report on 5G's consumer potential

You can also check out this white paper from Analysys Mason on business models in 5G

Download white paper

When bandwidth and latency are no longer a limitation, what services will you introduce?

Ericsson’s Consumer and IndustryLab researches key trends through both qualitative and quantitative research. Find out more about  Ericsson ConsumerLab  

This was the second blog post in a series of three posts, Read the first post 





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