Laura Gigliotti_HeadshotFor the past two years, T-Mobile has been the fastest growing wireless network in America. By breaking the rules and becoming the “un-carrier,” the network has set itself apart from the competition – in more ways than one. In 2015, T-Mobile added 8.3 million total net customers and outperformed the industry by delivering 11% growth in service revenue. This growth is powered by the performance of its nationwide 4G LTE network, which covers 305 million Americans and continues to be the fastest in the nation. Impressive, right!?

With numbers and growth like that, it’s not surprising that the company’s focus has shifted to overcoming its main challenge (and greatest opportunity): how to become the best customer focused wireless network on the market. At DMA’s Seattle Regional Roundtable on June 1, Amy Michaels, Head of Direct Acquisition Marketing for T-Mobile, spoke to DMA members about this challenge and how the company is tackling it. The answer? It’s all about addressability.

What is addressability and why do we care?
“Addressability is the capacity for an entity to be targeted and found. To be addressable, an entity must be uniquely identifiable, which means that it must be associated with a specific and auditable data point – a physical address, cookie, device ID, or alphanumeric string,” Amy explained. People and things (like ads, images and applications) can all be uniquely identifiable.

In the past, addressability was mostly database driven, with channel-driven campaigns. In the last two years, it has evolved to be more multichannel, focused on specific people as opposed to media types or contexts. There is great opportunity with addressability, Amy explained, especially if we look at where it’s headed. In the next five years, the concept will continue to evolve and will soon be integrated and omnichannel. Marketers will have the ability to clone and scale successful customer segments. It will be a journey based process and marketers will have the ability to automate, predict outcomes, and deliver insights to drive better marketing and communications.

Addressability and T-Mobile
In order to capitalize on the opportunities addressability promises, a shift in T-Mobile’s approach was necessary, Amy told us. To be successful, the company has to create a connected view of their audience and align to that audience’s needs, not their own. That’s the only way to drive a truly mutually beneficial engagement. This shift is about planning an experience across a customer’s unique journey, as opposed to planning by isolated message, Amy said. It’s also about digital marketing activity and new technology capabilities, as opposed to traditional marketing with minimal focus on innovation. And finally, it’s about modern metrics leveraging fractional attribution, as opposed to a singular focus on last touch attribution. Ultimately, it’s about a customer experience aligned organization – and that is what T-Mobile is working towards.

Currently, T-Mobile cannot see the entire customer journey, and their siloed efforts often lead prospects down the wrong path. Without integrated data, contacts experience disconnected communication streams. This creates a customer experience that is not smooth, which leads to frustration and poor conversion. Essentially, when this happens, marketing spend is being used inefficiently.

By connecting experiences, however, which is where T-Mobile is headed, they can make the right decisions that make the customer journey efficient and more predictable. With integrated data, they can reduce waste, enable a streamlined conversation, and better align media to a prospect’s preference. All of a sudden, the customer experience starts to look and feel purposeful and relevant. This, in turn, leads to higher engagement and revenue. The department’s marketing spend is more efficient, translating into an overall cost savings for the company.

Amy wrapped up by providing us with five key takeaways to keep in mind when implementing an addressability strategy:

  1. Inventory your data –in priority order
    • 1st party: customer and behavioral
    • 3rd party: for prospecting, validation, and propensity model building
    • 2nd party: companies with adjacent data that can help refine targeting and media buys
  2. Find a partner to help you build a data repository, and one to extend your match rates to digital and mobile channels
    • Database can be internal or external, as long as it’s auditable.
    • Establish a “safe haven” of hashed data device IDs, cookies, logins, physical addresses, emails, etc.
  3. Build a few no-brainer use cases
    • Lookalike audience targeting
    • Easier journeys: e.g. product browse, cart abandon, lead collection & nurture, win back
  4. Conduct a few controlled, minimum viable experiments
    • Size data so that it is just enough to statistically test significance
    • Options: blackouts, backtests
  5. Share data and implications internally and regularly
    • Plan to fail, communicate that, and do it quickly

A big thank you to our event sponsors,6sense and Oracle Marketing Cloud, our host, Microsoft, and all of our speakers and attendees for making this Roundtable event such a success.

Will we see you at the next one? Check out our calendar of upcoming events and register today!

If you’re interested in more great content like this, read about our past Regional Roundtables in Memphis, Tennessee, Columbus, Ohio, Atlanta, Georgia, and Denver, Colorado.