If owning our digital town hall wasn’t enough, Elon Musk now has his sights set on owning how we get access to that town hall. Recent blue check marks aside when Musk says he’s going to do something, he usually does it well. So of course when Musk announces Starlink, his high-speed satellite-operated public internet, people pay attention.
In theory, a solution like Starlink would make internet access easier to obtain in parts of the world where it currently is not (keep in mind, 35% of the world doesn’t have internet connectivity). It can also help the world stay connected in crucial times - such as when Musk donated Starlink internet terminals to keep Ukraine's military online shortly after the Russian invasion.
Expanding connectivity will not only change how governments, businesses, and consumers communicate but also where telecom companies operate.
The Next Frontier of Telecom Marketing
Opening new markets for telecom companies means that communicating with, obtaining, and retaining customers will have to adapt.
There’s an uphill battle staring directly at telecom marketers right now in regard to customer education - from security concerns and access to capabilities and use cases. Not to mention, entire customer marketing programs focused on transitioning services.
What we do know is, regardless of whether Skylink is successful or another satellite internet brand wins the race, telecom marketing is on the edge of a revolution.
May the Most Trustworthy Win
While telecom R&D teams race to innovate, marketers should begin building authority and trust now. Why? Eighty-one percent of consumers say they need to trust a brand to even consider buying from it. But for internet service providers (ISPs), this trust gap is even more arduous considering that ISPs came in dead last for customer satisfaction in the most recent American Customer Satisfaction Index's Telecommunications Study. They even ranked lower than the U.S. Postal Service!
Businesses' and consumers’ satellite internet buying journeys will look something like:
Awareness that a new type of internet service is available - or that internet is available for the first time in that region. Before moving to Stage 2, buyers must believe that this new service is trustworthy, regardless of provider.
Consideration of many facets - from ISPs’ reputations to pricing to customer service assurance. Only the vendors who bridge the trust gap will make it to Stage 3.
Decision on which teleco to choose based upon information gathered in Stage 2 as well as current factors, such as promotions and availability timeline.
A great example of the importance of trust in emerging technology is Artificial Intelligence. In 2018, only 25% of Americans trusted AI, but after Big Tech launched mainstream educational campaigns around their AI-driven products, consumer trust in AI doubled in the following years and now nine in 10 Americans use some form of AI.
So, as your telecom company crafts its 2023 marketing program, ensure that it includes a strong mix of customer education and IT thought leadership.
For more ideas and inspiration, see how Alloy turned a 130-year-old global IT brand into a trusted voice on the 5G revolution in this case study. Within 30 days, the campaign drove brand awareness and qualified leads - successfully recasting the legacy brand into a futuristic thinker.