As part of our “They’re doing the data” feature, Clémence Nizard, Marketing Manager at Colt, agreed to review the past year and the major marketing issues of the new year.
BigData.fr One word to define the past year?
I would say “Growth”. This year has been a confirmation of the trend in the telecom market which has been marked by strong growth. It has been a good year for
major industry players like Colt. Telecommunications has played a vital role in the continued operation of many industries such as healthcare, commerce, transportation and energy. As Colt has weathered this COVID-19 crisis, it has continually adapted to changing market conditions and circumstances to ensure that its network and voice services are fully aligned with the needs of the market today and in the future. My point is simple. The concept of the “new normal” is taking hold in the workplace with this hybrid model that we see popping up everywhere. At the heart of this model, digital technology plays a crucial role. The shift to telecommuting, the proliferation of virtual meetings, the widespread use of online collaboration tools and the migration to the cloud have created a huge need and expense for businesses to have agile, high-speed, on-demand connectivity.
How have you adapted your marketing strategy in this particular time?
The changes in marketing have never been as meteoric as since the COVID-19 crisis. With this crisis, digital marketing has totally transformed. Let me give you a specific example. Before this crisis, we used to do a lot of face-to-face events. That was the world before. We obviously had to change our approach. We had to totally rethink it by virtualizing the “events” part of our business. On the other hand, we continued to develop ABM (Account Based Marketing) by offering a totally personalized marketing approach. As consumers, we can no longer imagine having experiences that are not built around our needs. When we surf the web, we should be targeted by content that speaks to us. We know that personalization works. For us, it’s all about addressing each of our customers by taking into account their favorite subjects, their sector of activity and their buying cycle.
Webinars became a must-have format during the pandemic, what is your feedback on this topic?
As many have observed, there has been what has been called “webinar fatigue.” We’ve done a lot of them in the last year with over 150 webinars internationally. Overall, they worked well, but we noticed that the momentum had died down in Q4. Companies are in high demand and the standard webinar format is no longer a differentiator. As part of our ABM approach, we now favor more “intimate” virtual formats in the form of round table discussions during which we encourage exchanges between our clients and prospects from the same sector, for example. From 2022 onwards, the trend is more towards a hybrid model with a subtle mix of face-to-face and virtual meetings. I think that one of our main objectives is to restore intimacy and proximity in our relationship with customers, and that means more face-to-face and less virtual. To re-establish this customer intimacy, the sales force needs events that combine relevant content with more “relaxation” to build and maintain this intimacy. Finally, the motto for the beginning of this year is “less is more”. Let’s stop doing a billion things and focus on quality.
What are your clients’ biggest issues at the beginning of the year?
In 2022, after two years of pandemic, the telecom industry is expected to continue to have new opportunities and will face new challenges in a much more regulated environment with the stricter enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and companies’ commitment to sustainability. The sector will also experience a much more pronounced technological evolution with a focus on innovation and dynamic competition between the major players. The unprecedented COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the essential and crucial role of our industry. The past year has been an opportunity for players in our market to accelerate, by several years, the execution of their roadmap in supporting companies in their digital transformation strategies. There is also a lot of talk about accelerating migration to the cloud, with the ability to keep implementation costs low among the benefits. Another development we’re seeing is private enterprise 5G. It offers security, speed and bandwidth advantages when compared to Wifi, for example. It will also enable new applications that will boost the “smart factory” for example.
What are the challenges you face?
Our main challenge concerns the data part. The ABM approach, which requires personalization, consequently requires the processing of a large amount of data. We face challenges related to data qualification and consolidation. We collect data from internal and external providers, which are stored on different platforms and it is imperative to make them consistent.
One word to define the coming year?
I’d like to say “extraordinary” because we’re going to have to keep reinventing ourselves!