Telecommunication services play an incremental role in the multi-dimensional development activities. A well functioning telecommunications network is an essential component of economic infrastructure. The application of modern marketing principles in the telecommunication services would make ways for the generation of profits and at the same time would also make the services affordable to the users at large. The telecommunications organizations are supposed to market the services in such a way that a high level of efficiency generates a high level of profit. With the growing sophistication in the process of telecommunication technologies, multi-faceted services are being offered by the telecommunication organisation which is managed and controlled as a government department by the Ministry of Communications. Telecommunications marketing focuses on marketing the services professionally and this makes it a managerial process. The marketing professionals bear the responsibility of managing the services which enrich the service profile of telecom in order that the world class services are made nationally and internationally competitive.
Marketing Mix for Telecommunication Organizations
The formulation of a sound marketing mix is found essential to make possible an optimal development of marketing resources. The marketing professionals bear the responsibility of developing optimal marketing inputs so that the world class services reach to the different segments of users in a right way. It is in this context the formulation of marketing mix for telecommunication is considered. It goes through the different submixes such as the product mix covering he designing of a quality services profile, the promotion mix having more creativity and sensitivity, the tariff policy making possible designing of a sound tariff structure, the place mix containing the problem of processing the services with the motto of bridging over the gap between services –promised and services –offered and the people mix for striking a balance between performance-orientation and employee-orientation.
The telecommunication organizations offer multi-dimensional services to the different categories of domestic and institutional users. telecommunication include a number of services such as the telephonic service including cell services, telegraphic services, e-mailing services, fax services, internet services and so on. On one hand the telecom organisatoins feel that the services are quite satisfactory, while on the other hand there are increasing cases of dissatisfaction among the users. This makes it essential that sincere efforts to be made to improve the quality of service.
In the category of services mix, the telephonic services occupy a place of outstanding significance because of majority of the users of almost all the categories are found using the same. With the development of cordless and cellular phones, we find a change in the nature of services. In this context, it is the prime responsibility of the telecommunication organisatoins to make it sure that users get quality services, such as services with ha dismal breakdown, noise and interruption, quality audio-delivery or so. The cases of one-way are to be checked. The technical personnel are required to make it sure that the users are made available quality instruments and the replacement is made possible as the when the circumstance necessitate so.
The marketing professionals bear the responsibility of making it sure that a sound services profile is designed in which both the categories of services, such as core and peripheral are optimally blended. The innovation in the formulation of a services portfolio needs to be given due weightage. The main think in the process is to formulate a service mix that makes the ways for profit-generation vis-à-vis user-satisfaction.
In view of the above, it is right to mention that like other organizations, the telecommunication organisation also need to formulate a sound product mix that focuses our attention on offering of the world class services so that the level of efficiency is increased and the task of marketing professionals is made easier.
This submix of the marketing mix focuses on creative promotional measures helping the telecom organisatoins in informing, sensing and persuading the users. In this context, different constituents of promotion, such as advertising, publicity, sales promotion, personal selling, word-of-mouth promotion are discussed.
Like other organizations, the telecommunication organisatoins may also advertise with the help of media. All the three media, such as the print media, broadcast media and telecast media can be used for that very purpose. While advertsing, the marketing professionals in general and the advertising professionals in particular are supposed to make the slogans, themes and appeals more creative so that the target prospects are sensitized in a right way. The print media may be more effective since while advertising through this media, an organization gets adequate space to inform and sense the users.
In addition, they can also advertise through the broadcast media. Telecast media emerging as the most effective media found very much instrumental in sensitizing the prospects. With the help of audio-visual exposures, it is possible to inform and sense the users and the prospects. The advertising professionals having world class excellence are to be engaged for that purpose who would design advertisement layout, compose slogans and messages bearing more creativity. If they are professionally sound, the advertising budget would also be made optimal.
Another component of promotion focuses on publicizing the business with the support of media personnel and opinion leaders. The telecom organizations may use this constituent with he motto of informing the prospects the salient features of innovative services offered or to be included in the services mix. The marketing professionals or the public relation officers need to accept the responsibility of developing rapport with the media people, to arrange for them lunch or dinner and to offer to them some small gifts to write news items or articles related to the services and to place them at the eye catching locations. It is in this context that we talk about the instrumentality of public relations activities in promoting the telecom business.
It is essential that the telecommunication organisatoin makes use of sales promotion measures for promoting the innovative services, specially used by the large-sized customers. If he prospects are offered some small gifts, the motivation process would be switched on. In addition, they also need to offer innovative tools of sales promotion to some of the high performers in the group of employees who instrumentalise the process of getting the profitable business. This would considerably be helpful in tapping the market potentials which would activate the process of profit generation.
The instrumentality of personal selling is involved in the essence of promoting the business with the support and cooperation of sales people. The telecommunication organisatoins are required to promote its business to tap the sales potentials or the market potentials which remain untapped or partially tapped due to a communications gap. The role of personal selling becomes important in the context of privatization of telecom services and due to emergence of buyers‟ market.
This constituent of the promotion mix is found based on the quality of services offered by the service generating organisatoins. In the telecommunication organisatoins, we find this component instrumental because the satisfied group of users would narrate to their friends, relatives, well wishers regarding the outstanding services they experienced as a customer. The individuals trust on their relatives and friends and therefore use the services as and when the circumstances necessitate so. It is in this context that we make a strong advocacy in favour of improving the quality of services by the telecommunications organisatoin. The support and cooperation of opinion leaders or vocal persons would also be effective in the process.
The aforesaid components of promotion are found helpful to the telecommunication organizations in promotion the business. The main thing in the promotion is to inform, sense and persuade the prospects or users in such a way that they are transformed into the habitual users. The instrumentality of a particular constituent would depend upon the prevailing conditions.
Almost all the organizations either producing goods or generating services find pricing decisions significant to the development process. In the context of telecommunication organisatoin the different categories of users buy the services and therefore the telecommunication organisatoin is required to be more careful in setting the tariff structure. The main thing is the designing of a rational tariff structure which on the one hand makes the ways for profit-generation while on the other hand also make the services affordable to the users.
The telecommunication organisation adopts a discriminatory policy of pricing. The special categories of users are given subsidized or concessional services, such as the rurual users, new or budding entrepreneurs, new institutions promoting welfare or so. I this context, it is important to mentioni that the telecommunication organisatoin charges different slabl of tariff for different operational hours. There is also provision for special concession on selected days and festivals. Thus diversified pricing strategy is adopted by the telecommunication organisation to generate revenue. The Telecom Regulatory Authority plays an significant role in making the pricing decisions in the Indian context
The pricing decisions and the tariff structure also depend upon the nature and types of services offered by the telecommunications organisatoin. For the data/fax services, facsimile services, internet services, there is a different slab and base. The pricing decisions are of sensitive in nature. The governmental interference in the process of making the pricing decision is to be checked to be extent it is found legitimate. The revision in tariff structure, licensing fee have a close relation with the costs of services.
The aforesaid facts makes it clear that the telecommunication organisatoins need freedom while setting the tariff-structure. The marketing professionals serving the telecommunications organisatoins are supposed to be aware of the business as well as the social responsibilities. For promoting business, they need to generate more revenue and for enriching the social profile, they need to strike a balance between the organizational strength and the social requirements.
In the place mix, we need to gravitate our attention on two important issues, first the promised services reach to the ultimate users in a decent way and second the location points for the telecommunication services.
The first problem is related to the processing of services in which the marketing professionals are supposed to be sure that whatever the services have been promised are delivered to the ultimate users in decent way.
In addition to the aforesaid problem, we also find cases of unplanned and inconvenient location. The administrative offices in particular are required to be accessible. The users and personnel working there should not face difficulties while visiting the offices. Thus the place decisions becomes important to the telecommunication organisations.
In the formulations of marketing mix, we also need to manage the human resources in an effective way. The Department of Telecommunications has been facing the problem of inadequacy of quality people resulting into low level of efficiency, deceleration in productivity and profitability or so. The increasing domination of trade uniorns in the day-do-day activities makes it difficult for the management to bring things on the rail. The trade unions also feel that poor level of efficiency is substantially on account of inefficient employees but very often they don‟t find it essential to regulate them.
In view of the above, the marketing professionals are required to assign due weightage to the people mix. The telecommunication organisatoin is also supposed to assign an overriding priority to the Total Quality Management that focuses innovative schemes attention on quality technologies, quality employees, quality environmental conditions at the workplace, reasonable tariff structure, and above all, personalized services to the consumers.