Imagine vividly the demands that future users will place on the Internet. That’s what TeliaSonera International Carrier (TSIC) did in launching its bold transformation, focused on becoming the world’s best wholesale Internet backbone provider.
TSIC’s video “A message from your future end users,” anchored its major U.S. network expansion in 2013. The video exemplifies thought-provoking content marketing at its best.
Update 7/27/2018: The video is no longer available.
The video (above) highlights future applications such as 3-D printing of clothes, gaming with smells, and real-time translation. It has inspired employees, increased customer awareness in the Americas, and helped TSIC grow U.S. market share.
“To redefine customer demands in the wholesale space, we looked beyond the internal club of network people, focusing on the real user,” says Rickard Bäcklin, TSIC vice president brand and marketing. “With this film and supporting activities, we managed to double the unique visitors on our homepage and increase tenfold the monthly views on all films on our YouTube channel.”
TSIC’s transformation began in 2012, driven by 10 principles and a laser-focus on being the best wholesale provider. Since then TSIC has vaulted from an also-ran to become one of the top 2 global carriers, as ranked by DYN. Today it ranks #2 in the United States and #1 in South America.
TSIC marketing offers a wealth of actionable insights for global content marketing:
• Make sure customers and employees understand your purpose.
• Focus on the future and what users need.
• Put customer and user needs before products and benefits.
• Dissect and understand customers’ buying and use journeys.
• Manage the customer experience at all touch points.
• Win customers’ attention with relevant content and thought leadership.
• Stress big visible initiatives rather than months of planning.
“We used to be perceived as a mainly European player,” Bäcklin says. “But thanks to our great people, expansions in the Americas, and new bold messaging, we have become a leader on the global Internet backbone. In this journey we have focused on being the best wholesale provider.”
Bäcklin brings a smörgåsbord of experience into his marketing role at TeliaSonera. His career path extends from serving in the Swedish Navy, to working as an engineer at Phillips, to leading the branding agency Hillanders, to heading up TSIC marketing. Each experience contributes to his viewpoint. He brings a military sense of strategy, an engineer’s technical understanding, and a global marketer’s branding and conceptualizing skills from working on brands such as Canon and TeliaSonera.
Bäcklin continues to transform TSIC’s marketing function. “B2B marketing used to be a lot about sales support, helping sales with collateral to support messaging in sales meetings,” Bäcklin notes. “But marketing is much more than that.
“You have to look at the whole customer journey, starting even before the customer is aware of a need, and going all the way to the customer becoming an advocate and promoter of your brand. You have to understand the bigger trends and the customers’ buying and use journey – to provide the customer with information relevant to the stage they’re currently in.
“Rather than spending months on planning, we focused on a few visible ‘big initiatives’ and loud execution – to break through the level of indifference. For us it was very much about showing the value of marketing and changing its perception from an ‘office supply’ function to a market- and revenue-driver that’s connected to the corporate strategy,” he says.
This excerpt comes from my Marketing Upside column in the new issue of Global Telecoms Business.
As a marketing change agent, I consult with clients, lead content marketing workshops for the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), and write the weekly Simplify Marketing blog.
With experience from Fortune 500 companies such as AT&T, RR Donnelley and Tellabs, I've been named:
- Content Marketer of the Year by the Content Marketing Institute.
- Best Marketer by BtoB magazine.
- A B-to-B CMO to watch by Fierce CMO.