Moving Beyond One-to-One Marketing - Getting Personal with Enterprise Customers

For years, telecom operators have been adapting the “one-to-one” customer treatment concept and applying it to their enterprise customers, essentially seeking to treat each enterprise client differently. Though this treatment method is effective with consumers, it’s not the right way to manage an enterprise client – it’s time for operators to treat the same customer differently! 


Not every employee of a given company is created equal, nor do they have the same needs or preferences. Unfortunately, telecom operators treat them as the same, all a part of a given company that is comprised of a homogenous cluster of individuals who have similar needs and preferences. Enterprise marketing efforts of most telecom operators are of a similar vein, focusing on the company as a whole, trying to respond to the collective commercial needs, not taking into account that a company is composed of distinct individuals who not only don’t share the same personal needs, but completely different profiles in terms of their business needs as well.

Imagine two employees of an imaginary company – Salt & Pepper Co. – one, a sales agent, who spends his whole day on the road using his phone for client calls and connectivity, and another, an executive, who sits in his office, has a high-end handset, and is allowed to use his mobile for personal use day and night as well. Clearly, the behavior and needs of such distinct profiles are not the same, and thus, one-to-one marketing fails here. Effective enterprise marketing efforts would identify these two employees of the same company and treat them separately (i.e. proposing customized solutions for each employee of Salt & Pepper Co., as well as targeting them individually to acquire their personal lines or cross-sell for personal use).


The first benefit of differentiating employees of an enterprise client is for the enterprise segment itself, enabling better targeting and improved customization of value propositions. By focusing on individual employee behavior, telecom operators can segment client company employees, and come up with tailor-made offerings, instead of one-size-fits-all propositions for their clients. Here’s why:

  • From a traditional marketing perspective, Salt & Pepper Co. would be seen as an enterprise customer, with 100 employees, in export-import business, using around 15,000 local and 5,000 international minutes per month, with average mobility. The one-to-one offering for this customer, at its best, would include bulk local and international minute discounts and a closed user group tariff.
  • When the behavior of individual employees in this company are analyzed separately, it would tell a completely different story:
    • 20 employees are executives, with high-end handsets, roaming overseas and high volume of usage day and night
    • 10 employees are managing international relations, with high level of international use, as well as a different work schedule due to time difference with overseas parties
    • 40 employees are local sales agents, who are highly mobile, have high level of local use, and need continuous connectivity
    • 30 employees are administrative staff, who mostly interact with other employees only

Looking at the client at this micro-level, a marketer can propose more relevant and attractive offerings to this company, preparing a perfect mix of tariffs (e.g. 10 with international discounts, 40 with local minutes, 30 with free CUG use) as well as targeted value-added offerings (e.g. secure mobility solutions for the sales team, hand-set insurance for the executives). In a nutshell, understanding the individual employees increases understanding of the enterprise as a whole.

The second benefit of client company employee differentiation is for the consumer segment. Today, many employees with corporate lines own a second mobile line, for their personal use, which is not necessarily from the same operator. By analyzing individual employees of enterprise customers separately, telecom operators can gain valuable insights on a vast consumer prospect pool (e.g. who is a data savvy user, who travels frequently, etc.). Understanding their mobile use for business, individual employees can be better targeted for personal line cross-sales and even service sales (in the case where the employee is already using the same operator via a second line).


The analysis require for understanding individual employees of an enterprise is not very different from analyzing any other customer, the only difference being the level of analysis (i.e. focusing on lines of an enterprise customer instead of individual customer records). Five main activities would provide a complete basis for such analysis:

1. Build the Employee Data Mart: Companies already investing in customer analytics usually have a rich and well-defined customer data mart, which includes summary information for each customer. A similar data mart is required for employees of enterprise customers, summarizing similar behavioral elements – such as destinations called, mix of services used, time and day of calls, frequency of calls, and recharge preferences.

2. Analyze Employee Networks: SNA (Social Network Analysis) is one of the hottest topics in telecoms marketing today, adding significant value to retention and cross-sales activities. A similar concept is applicable within enterprise customers – with certain employees being more closely connected to each other, some playing central roles in corporate communications, and some connecting the enterprise to the outside world. Using SNA algorithms, operators can analyze employee networks within each enterprise client, and identify which employees to target for spreading the word inside the company, or use as brand advocates to prospective clients.

3. Evaluate Employee Values: As in typical customer valuation, a small percentage of employees within an enterprise customer generate the highest share of telecoms spend. Focusing on these employees for targeted value propositions maximizes benefits for both the customer and the operator. It is important to take into account potential value, as well as influence on other employees in calculating the total value of employees.

4. Segment Employees: In order to facilitate actual differentiation of employees, operators can segment employees of their enterprise clients, analyzing what they use, and when, where and how they use them. Since most operators do not collect demographical information about the individual line owners of their enterprise customers, such segmentation would usually rely on behavior, identifying employees as strict business users, road warriors, internationally connected, etc.

5. Build Next Best Offer Models: For translating opportunities into actions, operators need more targeted findings on which employees would be best targets for different offers, which requires developing cross-sales and up-sales models for next best offer. Both enterprise and consumer offers should be kept in mind developing these models, since the best offer for the business line of an employee would be different than the one for his / her personal line, and would also be communicated to different parties (i.e. self vs. employer).

What Next?

As in all analytics driven initiatives, the first step after data preparation and modeling should be piloting the actions on select 10-20 enterprise customers and their employees. Based on analysis of the impact and learnings from such pilots, final improvements can be made and a full-scale launch can be planned.

Tags : analytics, business intelligence, consulting, cross-sales, customer segmentation, fact-based, intelligence, marketing, segmentation, strategy