income, etc.,” Carter said. His team also occasionally compares and contrasts its in-house data with those from
Google Analytics to get additional perspective.
Through Google, the company can understand a great
many things about the customer: the demographic, new
versus returning, mobile versus desktop, time of day, and
where the customer came from—direct, organic, referral,
social media, bounce rate, pages visited, or time on site,
according to Carter.
The Pioneer team encourages its customers to use its
GoPioneer.com website for e-commerce and portal access.
Existing customers can access their accounts for autopay
and usage information. New and existing customers can
see promotions, upgrade their accounts and contact Pioneer
directly through the website. These touchpoints provide
extremely vital data strings that Google Analytics can complement even further.
Pioneer has been able to meet its marketing goals through
these strategies. “It’s easy to make good decisions with good
data,” Carter said.
The birth of major broadband and the desire to have more
of it has led some companies away from more traditional
marketing methods such as billboards, direct mail and
telephone. As some companies have discovered, when it
comes to outreach, timing is everything.
About a year ago, Pioneer looked at what its data was
saying and made a bold decision to get out of print. “Through
newspaper circulation we were not hitting new targets,”
Carter said. As a technology company that primarily sells
smartphones and internet, Pioneer realized it needed to
focus its advertising dollars more wisely.
One high-performance area it’s focusing on is the
mobile market. Through a landing page on a mobile device,
customers can click to a fillable form that sends them information on a brand new Samsung device. If you know that
your customers are on a mobile or desktop device at a certain time of day, that’s when you can orchestrate a quality
click-through to encourage purchase of new products.
“If a consumer clicks on a mobile ad to find out more
about gig broadband to their home, the ad will enable the
viewer to go straight to GoPioneer.com to discover more
information or use the fillable form to upgrade or purchase,” Carter said.
In his view, this is a much more effective way of marketing devices than a traditional billboard. “It’s about trying to
make that digital spend instead of a general branding ad,”
At Triangle, data analysis revealed that it could potentially reach more than 80% of its users via a social media
platform ad rather than use costly methods of every door
direct mail (EDDM) or print ads. “Social media is a very
Mapping Customer Needs
Depending on where your customers live, data has made it
easier to map their experiences, said Dean Carter, marketing
manager of Pioneer Telephone Cooperative (Kingfisher, Okla.).
The company serves about 140,000 wireless and broadband
revenue-generating units (RGUs) in Oklahoma and Kansas.
Rural America is getting leaner every day, Carter said.
In Oklahoma, fewer people are staying in the rural western
area to raise families, for example. When they do move away,
the distance between each farm or ranch becomes farther
and farther apart, making it more costly to install services
like fiber optics with high-speed internet and DTV. “It’s not
practical to take products door to door,” Carter said. “This is
Pioneer draws from its internal billing system to find
out more about the demographics and buying habits of its
customers. As a company that does a tremendous amount
of advertising, the data helps guide its marketing budget
and whether it should be targeting women in their 30s as
opposed to women in their 60s, for example. A landing
page on its website provides live action on buying habits.
“Using Google Analytics, we can measure live data much
more effectively and know if our marketing dollars are
producing results. If they are not, we can change the tactic
Data’s Teachable Moments
For rural telcos that don’t know where to start, switching to data-driven
marketing may seem like an overwhelming task. As some companies
discover, there’s often a learning curve.
You don’t need to know all of the answers or start with an all-encom-passing plan, Bethany Chinadle of Triangle Communications advised.
“Pick one piece to focus on and then try another. Don’t let perfect be the
enemy of the good.” It’s great to have perfect data on 100% of your members, but even 75% is a much better place to be than having no data at all.
“Try not to go in with preconceived notions of what the data should be
telling you. Keep an open mind,” Chinadle advised.
Triangle discovered this after it spent money advertising on “hip and
cool” platforms that weren’t returning much on investment. “When we
looked at the data, we realized that almost no one in our service area was
using that service. So we immediately shifted dollars away from that plat-
form and focused more on Facebook, where we had much better engagement.”
It’s easy in these situations to let your ego get in the way and say, “No,
I’ve made this investment and I’m sticking with it. However, based on
what your data tells you, you need to be willing to change your marketing
strategies and plans to better utilize your marketing budgets,” Chinadle said.