The Telco Training Academy

   

Market Research

No business can hope to survive today without having access to good information about the market in which they are participating. We use the term Telecommunications Market Research to describe all of those disciplines that the Telco can use to help management to understand:

  • Who are my customers ?
  • What products and services do my customers want and need?
  • How much revenue does each market represent ?
  • How can I create products and services that will have a maximum impact in the marketplace ?

Telecommunications Market Research represents another critical area of Telecommunications Business Intelligence. As with all of the other types of business intelligence Market Research for the Telco makes use of many of the same techniques utilized by other industries, but has its own specialized set of assumptions, rules and practices.

The core activity of the Telco marketing research function is the development, planning and execution of "Telco Market Surveys". Telco Market Surveys are the term used to describe a number of different techniques all of which involve directly asking customers to answer questions about their feelings, thoughts and attitudes about a number of issues important to the research. Some of the principle market survey techniques include:

  1. Phone Surveys
  2. Mail Surveys
  3. Questionnaires
  4. Focus-Groups
  5. One-on-one interviews

Statistical Sampling - Key to market research maximization

While in the perfect world, the Telco would probably like to conduct a survey and ask every single customer to answer questions about their wants, needs and willingness to pay for services, the costs of doing this (in terms of the financial outlay and the cost in terms of inconvenience to customers) makes it prohibitive. More importantly, it is not really necessary. By employing sound statistical sampling techniques, a market researcher can learn, with a high degree of confidence, what the wants, needs and attitudes of most Telecommunications Customers are, simply by building and running surveys that make use of well selected sample populations. It is a well established fact, that a market survey (when conducted in the right way) issued to several thousand customers, can accurately forecast what the attitudes of the entire population will be.

By intelligently designing and conducting the right kinds of market research, Telco management can gain incredible insight into where they should be focusing their marketing, product development and customer service efforts, in order to maximize the benefits.

Market Research Model Building

On the surface, it would appear that market research is a simple and straightforward process. However, in order to get maximum benefits from the process there are many factors that must be taken into account. The survey that you run is only one small part of the overall market research plan that you are building. We call the entire process of conceptualizing, building, executing and analyzing the results of a Telco Market Research activity, Telco Market Research Modeling.

A Telco Market Research model is the overall "package" that defines the objectives for the research, the assumptions about how it should be run, the details of its execution and the criteria for its evaluation.

Telco Market Research Model building occurs in the following steps.

Step 1 : Identify the business problem that the market research is to solve (ie. determine the size of the market (in # customers and Revenue) for a proposed new product offering.

Step 2 : Develop assumptions about how market research can help you to figure this out. (ie Do a survey of customers and ask them how likely they would be to buy a new product if it were available).

Step 3 : Determine which survey method will be the best for ascertaining these facts (ie Should we mail questionnaires to customers, should we ask them over the telephone, should we do face-to-face meetings?). Each survey method has different costs, strengths and weaknesses associated with it.

Step 4 : Define the sampling criteria (the number of people to be surveyed and the method used to identify them)

Step 5 : Survey preparation (the creation of the survey or focus group material)

Step 6: Survey Execution

Step 7: Survey Evaluation

Ways to purchase Telco Market Research

There are several ways through which the Telco can acquire market research. Many times, they will have their own market research department, commissioned to continuously execute market surveys. Other times, they will hire market research companies to build and execute the models for them. In some countries, the telecommunications market is mature enough to support the presence of Telco Market Research Products. In these situations, a market research company decides that certain kinds of research will be valuable for many different Telco's to have. (For example, surveys that compare the strength of different Telco brand images). In these situations the market research company will "publish" the standardized reports on a periodic basis and sell "subscriptions" to Telco's.

The Challenges of Telco Market Research

Telecommunications Market Research, like the rest of Telecommunications Business Intelligence, has matured a lot in the past several years. Most Telco's have found that market surveys and segmentation approaches that were originally conceived to support retailers or manufacturers are very poor substitutes for market research founded on a good understanding of the idiosyncrasies of the Telco business, Telco services and the very special and unique kinds of relationships that Telco's maintain with their customers.

Telco Training Academy,and Telco Market Research

As with so many other areas of telecommunications business intelligence it is difficult to find persons with the focused expertise and broad ranging experience in telecommunications specific market research areas to provide Telco's with the help that they need to get optimum results from their Telco Market Research efforts. With over 20 years experience working in this area, and TTA represent a unique and valuable resource to be called upon when you face Telco Market Research Challenges.

Telco Market Research Support

TTA can provide you with support for a number of areas in the Telco Market Research field including:

  • Assistance in the development of meaningful, high impact models
  • Assistance in the design and execution of those models
  • Working as liaison to market research firms to manage the process
  • Assistance in the interpretation , analysis and integration of market research results into operations
  • Assistance in the staffing, training, organizing, budgeting and administration of the market research function within your firm

If you have specialized needs in the Telco Market Research area, then TTA could be a good resource to help.