Vodacom marketing strategy
Vodacom’s marketing strategy has been hugely successful in enabling the South African brand to achieve a massive brand pivot. In the last few years, Vodacom went from being just a telecommunications provider to becoming a leading digital company. Keep reading to find out how they managed the pivot and get inspired!
Let’s take a closer look at Vodacom’s marketing strategy in South Africa. I’ll start by going through Vodacom’s overall marketing strategy and brand positioning strategy and then dive deep into some of their most successful marketing campaigns.
Vodacom’s overall marketing strategy centers around the vision of becoming a leading digital company with the customer at its heart. Using big data and IoT, Vodacom aims to be able to serve its customers better and lead them into an exciting future as the world evolves with the evolution of technology.
“Our brand promise to our customers is to be the mobile technology partner that will assist them in making the transition by benefitting from new and exciting technologies” says Nyimpini Mabunda, Vodacom Chief Officer: Consumer Business Unit.
Vodacom places a lot of importance on innovation within the digital space in order to improve its products and services, and by extension, its customer experience. For instance, they use predictive analytics to manage their 39 million customers when they contact a call center. Predictive analytics allow them to know more about the customers who are calling and saves time that would normally be spent trying to gather details about customers when they call.
Mabunda also highlighted the importance of machine learning and voice recognition in optimizing Vodacom’s customer experience. Recognizing who customers are when they call, anticipating why they are calling and automatically connecting them with the agent that would best serve them, and the contract that would best fit them based on their usage needs, are all customer touchpoints that can be hugely improved by machine learning.
In 2017, Vodacom announced an evolution of its brand position strategy (including tagline and visual identity).
And if you know anything about successful marketing, you’ll know it’s always backed by data. Vodacom informed their rebranding by commissioning a study that assessed their consumers’ sentiment towards the future and the company’s prospects. They found out that 41% of South Africans surveyed believed that the standard of living in South Africa will improve in 20 years’ time. This was a more optimistic view than the ones held by their surveyed counterparts in Europe.
This inspired Vodacom’s new brand strategy to center around optimism with the simple but effective tagline - ‘The future is exciting. Ready?’
This theme played right into Vodacom’s overall vision and strategy of becoming a leading digital company.
It was complemented by the refreshed logo that cemented their purpose to connect everybody to live a better today and build a better tomorrow.
Hindsight is 2020. Am I right? The year 2020 sure did teach us all a few lessons about being future-proof and crisis-ready. While no one could have really predicted the COVID-19 world we find ourselves in today, it’s certainly refreshing to see brands that managed to adapt quickly thanks to a strong, future-centered marketing approach.
Vodacom’s 2020 vision was one that they’d advertised years in advance and revised time and again to manage the risks of our rapidly changing marketplace. Here are some of its key elements that left the brand well-positioned to deal with a challenging 2020:
Segmented propositions - Vodacoms’s 2020 vision was focused on developing a personalized customer experience using big data analytics and machine learning. Across the various customer segments, Vodacom was keen to identify new opportunities to monetize data and grow data usage by delivering relevant digital content services. And, boy, did we all need digital content services in our 2020 quarantine! Right on.
Best customer experience - Vodacom’s marketing strategy keeps the customer at its very center. Their 2020 vision specifically aimed to provide customers with a seamless and frictionless one-channel experience with digital being the dominant support channel via the MyVodacom app. Contactless coronavirus experiences ring a bell for anyone? Right on.
Digital organization and culture - Vodacom’s 2020 vision was all about transforming Vodacom into a truly digital organization. From investing in big data analytics and machine learning to simplifying existing systems and processes and achieving their brand purpose of creating connections digitally through the Vodacom e-school and health related mobile applications. Can I hear you say it one more time? Right. On.
Vodacom’s advertising campaigns were not just developed overnight. They were data-driven and a result of extensive research and testing. Sources report that nearly 30,000 people across 17 countries (with South Africa being the key one) were surveyed extensively by YouGov to inform the marketing and advertising campaigns. Let’s take a look at some of these campaigns.
Play Every Day (2016)
Vodacom’s ‘Play Every Day’ campaign is regarded as one of the company’s most successful campaigns ever.
The campaign is reported to have generated 16 million unique visitors in just 10 months using a gamification model. Vodacom delivered an innovative and interactive experience by engaging their customers in this campaign where they were eligible to win a vast array of prizes by spinning a wheel of fortune on the My Vodacom App.
Today, Vodacom is leveraging this continued interest in the campaign by ensuring that the campaign page did not die with the end of the campaign. Instead, they cleverly use it to keep customers engaged and intrigued about their future campaigns.
Shake Every Day (2017)
A sequel to 2016’s ‘Play Every Day’ summer campaign, Vodacom’s ‘Shake Every Day’ campaign was all about bringing “South-African-ness” back into the company’s marketing.
The campaign aimed to lighten the country’s mood and get them summer ready. A concept that holds huge metaphorical value - after a cold, harsh winter, comes a warm and beautiful summer.
By shaking their phones, Vodacom consumers were able to unlock daily prizes as part of the ‘Shake Every Day’ campaign. With this clever use of gamification, Vodacom was able to add value to its customers while emphasizing their key brand message of using technology to
Just 4 You (2019)
When Vodacom talks about keeping technology at the forefront of their business, they really mean it. Right down to integrating technology in their marketing capabilities, Vodacom can teach us all a lesson or two about digital integration.
Vodacom used machine learning capabilities to offer personalized pricing offers in their ‘Just 4 You’ campaign. This campaign was powered by their app and allowed customers to avail personalized data offers based on their consumption.
To wrap up everything I broke down about Vodacom’s marketing strategy, brand positioning pivot, 2020 vision, and its top campaigns, here are the main takeaways for marketers to reflect on:
- Future-proof your brand to ensure you remain relevant as technology evolves
- Ensure your brand’s visual identity matches your marketing strategy’s evolution
- Maintain a consistent brand voice, message and image Infuse your brand marketing strategy with a positive message - customers are attracted to positive sentiments especially in today’s world!
- Keep customers at the heart of everything you do - when you prioritize customer service, your overall brand experience and image will be massively improved
- Conduct deep market research of your target audience ahead of any marketing actions - Vodacom informed their rebrand with data and continued to leverage the same data set for their marketing and advertising campaigns
- Implement offline marketing campaigns - yes today’s world is digital but old school can still have a special appeal, if implemented right
- Campaign momentum and interest doesn’t have to die on the campaign end date - keep your old campaign pages refreshed and direct that traffic to your current campaigns