Multiplay: is it still relevant to millennials?

As the MNVOs Europe conference takes over The Hilton at Bankside this week, there’s plenty of speculation as to what the hot topics of conversation will be. I’m confident that the word ‘Multiplay’ will come up more than once, after all it’s been a major staple of the MVNO conference circuit for a while now with positive case studies to show for it.

Recently Sky and Plusnet have been making good in roads with their customers so there’s relative confidence that offering fixed, mobile and TV works. Not to mention the success that Virgin has delivered over many years.

However confidence wobbled a little lately when TalkTalk announced it’s walking away from its mobile multiplay strategy.

It’s never easy to pull the plug after you have spent time and many millions of pounds on equipment and marketing to get the offers up and running. Plus no board really wants to have a set of stranded customers – it’s expensive to keep them happy when they are no longer your strategic priority.

The conversations must have been tough but I can’t help thinking it might be a decision they regret as the realities of the smart home captivate the market.

Why do I think they might regret it? We’ve uncovered evidence that mobile and TV isn’t where multiplay starts and ends. In fact, Graystone Strategy research shows that the pull of a fully connected home is encouraging consumers to consider buying other ‘subscription’ services, like their energy, from a single provider. If you have no time and like simplicity then it stands to reason you’d want to get everything that keeps your house ticking from one company. Especially if it’s with a brand you already trust to provide you with other services.

Of course, this isn’t a one size fits all approach. Some consumer segments are more progressive in their thinking than others. For instance, some people like technology not because they are young or old but because it is an important part of how they live their life. There are people from all social backgrounds, a wide range of income brackets and age that are happy to self serve because it saves time or money. Yet there are others who want a person on the end of the phone because they don’t want the risk of something going wrong. That’s a reflection of their disposition not a generational trait.

At Graystone Strategy we have taking the findings of this attitudinal research and developed an easy to use segmentation model. We have deployed it with companies in electronics retail, utilities, grocery and MVNO markets. By providing these clients with a better understanding of the needs and motivations of each attitudinal segment we are giving them a licence to cross sell products and increase the amount a person spends with them.

The numbers speak for themselves, and certainly give CMOs something to think about. In general, 74% of people would take multiple services from the same provider. That’s good news if you are thinking of increasing your portfolio.

But things get really interesting when you get sector specific. For instance, almost half of the population would consider buying mobile from their broadband provider and a quarter would buy gas or electricity from their broadband provider. Conversely, a quarter would buy broadband from their energy provider. And interestingly, a third would buy pay TV, and 20% gas and electric from their mobile provider.

With numbers like these, rethinking your segmentation seems a no brainer, yet very few companies are doing it. Often it’s because they have are reluctant to completely ditch the age-old approaches of targeting by age, postcode or value spent with the company. Plus many have limited budgets and skills and are unable to develop their own internal segmentation models.

But it’s clear from our application of the segmentation that only when you understand your customers attitudes and motivations can you offer what they want and build a strong brand with values people will trust, and ultimately grow your business.

What’s more it’s very clear that the approach doesn’t just help you reposition your existing products in the market, and who they appeal to, but it can help you determine new ones. Those could be completely new bespoke offers for a specific segment, or as the research shows, bringing additional tried and tested services like telecoms, pay TV or energy to your existing customers. Which takes us back to making multiplay relevant.

When it comes to multiplay this approach helps to identify how many services your multiplay offer should run to, or indeed if it should include any at all beyond your core offering. And most important of all, it determines which customers you should speak to about it, and which should be left to enjoy the current services they buy from you – Technology Trailblazers will buy many services, Settled Seniors won’t be so inclined to.

Bottom line is that there’s lots to gain by being more specific through attitudinal segmentation. Customer attitudes towards brands, and their loyalty to them, are changing – the research is evidence of this – and, the sooner marketing teams realise this the better for their brand and consumer choice.

If you would like learn more about the recent Multiplay research trends and the market segmentation then please contact us. And if you are curious to know how it works then you can take our segmentation test which will tell you which segment you fall into. You’ll also receive a sample of all the information we hold on that segment.

James Gray

About James Gray

James has over 20 years of experience working in the telecoms and retail industries. He is an expert in subscription-based business models, CRM, direct and indirect channel management and major proposition development and launches. He has held a number of Marketing Director and Consumer Director roles.