Big data has always been big business, but the potential it holds for the mobile marketing industry is now growing faster than ever before.

The numbers speak for themselves: smartphone sales are at an all-time high, with Apple’s iPhone 6 selling 74.5 million units in the last three months of 2014 alone. According to Ericsson 90 per cent of the world’s population will have a mobile by 2020, and, perhaps more importantly from a marketing perspective, Ovum predicts 13 per cent of us will be mobile-device only by the end of this year. All things considered, the current mobile landscape represents an unmissable opportunity for marketers as their target audience is becoming more accessible than ever. In 2015, at a time when businesses are looking to adopt increasingly close relationships with their customers, targeted marketing for the mobile platform has never been more important. Mobile operators hold the key to making this a reality.

It’s widely accepted that operators are sat on a goldmine of subscriber data based on presence, location and preference. By constantly accessing social networks, downloading applications, browsing the web and uploading pictures and videos, today’s subscribers are creating a detailed footprint of their individual likes and dislikes – their own unique contribution to the wealth of big data held on mobile networks. Traditionally this has been of great use to B2C marketing campaigns and to help sell additional operator services. However, now operators have started unlocking the value held in the data mountains they preside over, and recognise the potential commercial opportunities this holds for both themselves and privileged third parties, mobile has become an important feature of B2B marketing too.

Mobile gets down to business

Indeed, as businesses and their workers turn to mobile for regular use of corporate applications such as SalesForce, email and VPN access, the number of hours spent using mobile devices is growing significantly. Mobile technology has fundamentally changed how business professionals communicate with one another and how they engage with brands. Yet to date, B2B marketers have not capitalised on the numerous benefits a mobile operator can offer. Entering into partnerships with operators is now a real and present opportunity as today’s professionals rely so heavily on their mobile devices, revealing their preference for certain services as well as their current location and usage habits.

For a B2B brand, a mobile network has become the ideal platform for distributing marketing messages. SMS can connect a business to its target audience immediately, with the added benefit of a higher read rate compared to other digital marketing channels. Due to the opt-in requirements of mobile, brand text messages are much more likely to be read than emails sent to the endlessly cluttered inboxes we’ve all grown accustomed to.

Location, location, location

Mobile operators also possess a unique asset – subscriber location – that can be united with big data to provide an even more relevant marketing platform for brands and businesses. By combining big data with the location of a group of users, operators can deliver highly targeted marketing and promotional campaigns using location-based services (LBS). The process of using LBS in this way is representative of big data in its purest and most valuable form, and this real-time data is of enormous value for supporting the marketing functions of brands and organisations.

By using LBS, marketers can target specific audiences and demographics in a predefined area. Introducing location-based mobile intelligence into marketing efforts can also provide richer and deeper insights for business audiences, increasing awareness and helping drive sales. Operators working closely with third party organisations have found that targeting mobile users at the right time with LBS can raise a marketing campaign’s success rate from 1.5 per cent to over 40 per cent. It’s no surprise, then, that B2B marketers are more inclined to adopt this approach, especially around industry events. For example, by entering into partnership with a mobile operator, a company exhibiting at a trade show could send marketing messages to business users on site, driving additional footfall to their booth or encouraging more attendees for a panel session. Alternatively, mobile marketing messages could be used to help promote a new product launch.

Marketing intelligence

Billing data has long been used to monetise new service offerings and generate additional revenue streams. But stronger opportunities are available to forward thinking operators that focus on data held within the network itself. Partnering with a telecoms intelligence provider can unlock a real-time end-to-end view of what’s happening across the network, creating much richer, granular and precise subscriber behavior insights. Leveraging such high quality data helps perform analysis such as trending, pattern discovery and anomaly detection with much higher level of confidence.

Data from an operator’s network is also useful from an analytics perspective. Partnering with an operator can give businesses pinpoint accuracy over how many eyeballs have seen their branded content, message or promotion. More importantly, as operators have a complete overview of what subscribers are doing on their mobile devices, they can offer brands a strong indication of how many recipients are acting on those marketing messages.

Aggregated data can provide a number of benefits to a B2B marketer too, offering a wealth of insights to help structure their future efforts. For example, it can demonstrate which websites are most popular within a targeted demographic, identify how popular competitor websites are among subscribers attending a certain event, and also help measure the success of a certain campaign.

When it comes to big data and B2B marketing, mobile operators now hold many of the cards. By providing targeted insights into the habits of certain groups and how much they’re interacting with competing companies, marketing professionals can use data provided by operators to better position their own brand within any given sector. Operators not only know what customer behaviour is taking place at any given time, they also know where it’s happening and, most importantly, the quality of the subscriber experience. However, it’s only by tapping into the wealth of subscriber data held within the mobile network that B2B marketers can dramatically increase their brand interaction and conversion rates.

Service providers who partner with a telecoms intelligence provider can unlock a real-time, end-to-end view of what’s happening across the network. This creates much richer, granular and precise subscriber behaviour insights. Leveraging such high quality data helps when performing analysis such as trending, pattern discovery, and anomaly detection with a much higher level of confidence.

In exchange for providing highly targeted business intelligence, operators can then drive additional revenue from their networks. It’s a win-win situation.

Manuel Stopnicki

Manuel Stopnicki


Manuel Stopnicki, CTO, Tektronix Communications