Interview: O2’s Tim Sefton

Interview: O2’s Tim Sefton

Mobile: How is O2 Priority Moments different from O2 More?

Tim Sefton:  Firstly, O2 Priority Moments is an application and customers find the offers for themselves, whereas O2 More is a push service.

Secondly, O2 More will be working with advertisers to effectively make O2 More a key part of their marketing throughout all their standard offers and advertising.

O2 Priority Moments is primarily focused on securing and building relationships with brands and helping our customers.

M: How did you work alongside Sally (Cowdry O2 marketing and consumer director) to make this a reality?

TS: It’s the team within O2 Media building the relationships between O2 and these brands that has made this possible. 

M: What is O2’s long-term strategy for Priority Moments?

TS: This is just the starting point for O2 Priority Moments. We expect more and more brands to be attracted by the success of the initiative and want to get involved. We think it [O2 Priority Moments] will assist us in building better relationships with our customers. It will also help us retain our customers as well as acquire customers from other networks. 

M: What partners do you hope to get on board?

TS: We are looking across all the main categories of consumer product and services. As you can see with the app, we have created it in way that offers a really great range of brands.

M: How will this new service affect O2 retail staff and the retail industry as a whole? 

TS: Its really good news for the retail industry because what we are doing is providing the opportunity to divert customers into stores. Customers look on their app and they may be only looking for one thing initially, but I have no doubt that customers looking for lunch and looking for their local Zizzi might also at that point see the offers from other brands. I think the more brands that are involved, the more they will be able to feed off each other and bring their promotion to O2 customers, increasing their own footfall.

For our own retail staff, it’s a really good way to differentiate.

M: Every UK operator is promoting mobile advertising – O2 has O2 Media, while Orange has Orange Shots. How do you intend to compete with growing offers from the rest of the industry?

TS: The fact that it [Priority Moments] is from O2 give it immediate credibility based on the relationships customers have with us. We are also innovative in terms of the offers being available through the user's mobile. We are building long-term relationships with these brands to ensure that the offers are not one hit wonders. We think on a number of different levels in order to develop a really differentiated business.

M: Is this venture a first step for O2 in leading the way for NFC technology?

TS: This is not the first step. It is certainly one of the services over time we think will develop the application. We have already done a number of things trailing NFC, and obviously today for something to work with NFC you need a mobile that is enabled.

But we are not launching an NFC service today – we are launching an in-phone application where customers will be able to redeem their offers by showing their phones in stores.

M: Is this just a retention tool or do you hope to also acquire customers from other networks?

TS: Primarily it is designed as a retention tool but often great retention propositions also work as great acquisition propositions.

M: Do you hope to expand this service to include other networks in the near future?

TS: No, this is exclusive to O2.

M: How will this fit with other areas of O2 new business?

TS: It [O2 Priority Moments] is an important driver of engagement with our customers. They are all component parts of an overall relationship that we are trying to develop with our customers. The better our relationship, the more able we are to retain and sell them additional products and services.

M: How will you steal the leads from other operators?

TS: Innovation is a really important quality for any brand. Our customers will understand that this is exclusive and is something that they couldn’t get with another network. I think that speaks for its self in terms of how it [O2 Priority Moments] can help us get ahead.

M: Which customers are you targeting? Orange has Orange Wednesdays, which is a film-based retention tool. Vodafone has VIP, which is similar to O2 Priority as it is event-based. Are you trying to steal customers from Vodafone and Orange with this new venture?

TS: One of the things that people need to understand about our strategy is that we are very focused on understanding what customers want and trying to deliver the best possible service. We do not constantly look over our shoulder to check what other operators are doing. We believe that we have created a fantastic service that will be liked by our customers and eventually customers from other networks.

M: When will NFC come into this?

TS: We cannot give a date for that yet. It will all depend on the adoption of NFC handsets and NFC technology.

M: Which handsets will the app be available on? Are there any procedures put in place for this?

TS: Anyone with a web-enabled phone will be able to access the app and obviously that number is growing all the time. There are probably only 10% of consumers that won’t be able to access O2 Priority Moments via their phone. We are currently working to see how we might evolve the service to allow users with basic handsets to get involved, but at this stage customers would need a web-enabled handset to access the service.

M: Is the wider aim to get all customers on smartphones?

TS: I think that will look after itself, it will have nothing to do with Priority Moments.

M: Which brands are signed up to the scheme and how many do you plan to sign up in the future?

TS: We have 30 brands at launch and 40 different offers. We have not set any limit on the number of brands that could get involved, although we expect the number of brands to increase significantly after today. When the £6m advertising campaign kicks off on 26 July, I think it will be a compelling pull for a lot more brands to get involved.

M: Your network has been criticised in the past – do you think it's ready to take on the challenge of this service?

TS: Absolutely. If you look at our network quality, it is very good. This application is very light in terms of network. We have absolutely no concerns about network capacity. 

Written by Mobile Today
Mobile Today

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