Facebook is working with a number of mobile industry players to improve online marketing strategy. The network has a number of strategic partnerships with both manufacturers and networks.
Speaking exclusively to Mobile, Facebook’s global head of tech/telco strategy Jane Schachtel said: ‘If you think about what’s happening in developed markets, commoditisation is upon us. This means that mobile operators and OEMs need to work harder in order to differentiate themselves. We speak to these brands, who have enabled some of the biggest changes to our daily existence, to help them to be more effective on the platform they helped to create.
‘There are three types of customer for us in this space: the network operators, the mobile OEMs and then companies such as BT, which cover a range of different areas including the mobile space. We want to be a strategic partner assisting them in attracting new subscribers and enabling them to stand out.’
Despite being at the forefront of the smartphone revolution, a criticism often levelled at mobile industry firms is that they aren’t adept at marketing using their own platform. Schachtel believes that the remedy to this comes from an understanding of the different ways that online marketers need to operate, specifically that the message needs to speak more to the individual: ‘By their own admission many of those in the mobile space have viewed the mobile revolution as a consumer habit rather than as a way to reach people; they have tended to adopt a mass reach policy.
'When you look at how people use their phones, the more you realise that brands need to send messages directly to them. It’s about making marketing more personal and business more personal. We assist clients in working out what is the right market for their product. We have signals for our customers so that they can target the right demographic with the right product.’
One challenge frequently faced by mobile companies is being able to communicate the exact benefits of a new technological advancement to a new customer. Facebook believes that it can assist mobile brands in this mission by focusing on the impact that new technology has on people’s day-to-day existence, Schachtel continues: ‘It can be hard to communicate technical innovations to customers. What we do is focus on these life-changing aspects of the technology and use our creative skills to bring it to life for the consumer. This summer I was watching the World Cup final in the car on my phone; that’s incredible.
'The consumer isn’t really aware of the complexities in the relationship between OEMs and the operators. From their perspective they want their device to run as fast as possible and their service to be good.’
In the past there has been much speculation about the so-called ‘Facebook phone’. With such large brand awareness, many have suggested that the brand would be well placed to move into the hardware market. But it’s not something that’s on the cards at the social network right now, as Schachtel explains: ‘We did launch the Facebook phone segment of the business – but we decided that the best way to proceed in this space was not by developing hardware. There are plenty of manufacturers already out there; our focus is on making the app as usable as possible on as many different devices as possible.’