StarHub has often sought ways to delight consumers by expanding its offerings with 5G, Mobile+ and StarHub TV+. Just yesterday, it also signed an exclusive agreement with The Walt Disney Company to become the official distributor of Disney+ in Singapore with StarHub’s TV, mobile and broadband offerings.
Its efforts to meet the needs of loyal consumers in the past year did not go unnoticed, and it bagged the gold awards for Best Loyalty Programme – Telecommunications and Most Innovative Loyalty Programme, as well as the silver awards for Best Use of Mobile and Best Use of Rewards and Incentives at MARKETING-INTERACTIVE’s Loyalty & Engagement Awards 2020.
Maneesh Varma, VP, customer life cycle management shares what makes for good marketing in today's day and age and how StarHub's marketing plan has shifted.
This interview is done as part of MARKETING-INTERACTIVE’s winners and finalists’ interview series for Loyalty and Engagement Awards 2020. To find out more about the awards, click here.
What are some of the expectations your consumers now have for your brand?
Varma: COVID-19 has demonstrated the importance that telecom operators play in keeping communities connected and running. Due to the economic and social disruptions, our customers have increasingly relied on us for information, personal connection and working from home. They expect a safe, reliable and seamless experience; innovative and flexible solutions as well as enriched content options as their consumption and entertainment needs evolve.
At StarHub, we constantly listen to the voice of our customers and re-invent ourselves to serve them better. We were the first to say #Hello 5G in Singapore and introduced Mobile+ portfolio of plans that offer huge data bundles, free entertainment and lots of benefits for our customers to enjoy 5G.
We recently introduced StarHub TV+ as part of our #Hello Change TV transformation journey which is an all-in-one simplified offering giving customers favourite streaming services, apps and TV programmes through a single platform. We also continue to curate the best OTT entertainment services for our customers with partners such as iQIYI, Hotstar, Netflix, HBO GO, TVBAnywhere+, BBC Player and, beIN SPORTS CONNECT.
In addition, we leverage on big data, advanced analytics and data science to continually enhance customer engagement with more simple, personal and relevant experiences.
How has your marketing plan shifted this year?
Varma: We have enhanced our core product offerings and simplified our customer journeys with hyper-digital focus leveraging on automation to serve our customers better during these challenging times.
We introduced several COVID-19 support initiatives to keep our customers connected, supporting their additional demand and offsetting financial hardships to help cushion the impact, especially for healthcare professionals, patients, students and lower-income households. Some of our initiatives include:
- Raised over SG$1 million to support the more vulnerable groups in the community;
- Channelled connectivity and entertainment resources to support customers while they are safe at home;
- Diverted our 20th anniversary campaign budgets to support students on home-based learning; and
- Supported SMEs via the Rewards programme to digitally offer their products and services at zero setup cost.
What are some of the trends you see carrying on post-pandemic, and how are you readying your workforce to be ready with these trends?
Varma: The year 2020 has reshaped consumer priorities and purchasing patterns. The rise of digital commerce has been massive as consumers are using digital technology and no-touch lifestyle to stay connected, learn, play and shop online. Work from home has unveiled interesting learnings about our agility of resource mobilisation, productivity and value of certain activities which will form a baseline for preparing for workforces for the future.
With the economic activity starting to return, we are addressing these trends to strengthen our customer strategy and implement plans that are set in alignment with our key priorities and create a better value for our customers. These include:
- Customer engagement: Advanced consumer segmentation and enhanced data analytics capabilities to manage the channel mix and customer shift to a mobile-first experience to drive customer engagement and loyalty; and
- Customer experience: Prioritising personalised digital customer journeys for a better experience and superior service quality.
What do you think makes for great marketing these days?
Varma: This year has changed the face of marketing in many ways. These days, marketing and business methodology is more diverse and relevant to actual customer needs. Great marketing leverages on the power of insights to retain existing customers and bring in new customers to grow the business and build a stronger brand. It is imperative to:
- Understand customer psychology across their lifecycle and touchpoint interactions;
- Leverage on big data for better understanding, segmentation and personalisation;
- Create relevant products, services and innovative solutions that can solve their problems;
- Provide consistent customer experiences that will keep them engaged and loyal; and
- Ensure transparent communication for a seamless and more rewarding customer relationship.
How are you planning for 2021?
Varma: The year 2020 has expedited digitisation in ways one could never comprehend. As part of our Hello Change transformation journey and keeping in mind our evolving customer needs, we have an exciting roadmap ahead which is supported by an agile operating and delivery model. We are committed to reinvent ourselves to drive customer engagement, build a more rewarding and meaningful relationship and ensure we stay ahead to serve our customers better!