The CCA Voice - Spring/Summer 2014 - (Page 17)

THEME: ON THE EDGE: MEETING CONSUMER DEMAND Staying Ahead of "The Next Big Thing" By: Barry Nothstine, VP Sales & Marketing, Bluegrass Cellular Michelle Tonietti-Goodman, Group Manager-Marketing & Sales Support, Bluegrass Cellular "T he next big thing." It's a phrase we hear quite often in our industry. And while it's an incredible testament to how quickly technology can develop, it's also a phrase that makes our jobs as wireless carriers a little trickier. After all, how can you meet consumer demand when the "next big thing" is already bounding around the corner? At Bluegrass Cellular, we rely on three key strategies to reach consumer demand. These strategies, outlined below, keep our company focused, flexible, and on-target, even with the ever-looming "next big thing." First and foremost, a company must invest in its infrastructure. A strong foundation requires a great deal of planning, time, and resources before it can serve as a proper springboard for success. As a wireless service provider, investing in infrastructure means conducting strategic and long-term capital investment planning. Specific tactics that Bluegrass employs include building key performance indicators, maintaining backhaul, and forging lasting partnerships with vendors. The second strategy for reaching consumer demand is a quick adoption of industry trends. By being quick to adopt, a regional carrier, like Bluegrass Cellular, can narrow the competitive margin between itself and the larger national carriers. It's a hugely important strategy that helps us maintain relevancy and competitive edge in a saturated market. So, what does it take to be quick to adopt? It begins with anticipating what customers need today and what they will value tomorrow. This means conducting both industry and market research and staying abreast of the latest developments throughout the category, as these findings will often reveal opportunities and emerging trends. It was just this type of ongoing, in-depth analysis that led us to develop GetSetGo, our latest wireless Internet product powered by Bluegrass Cellular's band class 12 LTE network. It should also be noted that industry trends are not limited to cutting-edge services and technologies; they're also apparent in the consumer shopping experience. Much like the market and industry research mentioned above, carriers should look for developments in the retail space, as well. For example, we've seen a shift toward simpler, more engaging, lifestyle-oriented retail locations. To adopt this trend, we conducted ethnography surveys to determine what our customers wanted from their shopping experience. This feedback is reflected in our new store layouts, and by using software to understand customers' online shopping habits, we applied the same approach to our website. The second component of quick adoption comes from the company's reaction process. While proactive research can help carriers predict emerging trends, it's equally important to devise a reactive plan in case a competitor is first to market. This is the reasoning behind Bluegrass Cellular's strategic quick adoption plan, a clearly defined implementation process that allows us to accelerate the launch of time-sensitive initiatives. While the THE ideal game plan will vary from carrier to carrier, we've found that a go-tomarket process has been the most successful in helping us quickly and efficiently execute timely projects. Our process is a fluid set of guidelines that allows us to accelerate certain projects without neglecting others. It includes a shared project plan across multiple departments that details the necessary action items in each area of the company, along with clear assignments of responsibilities and due dates. The third strategy for reaching consumer demand is to not only meet it but also to lead it, to offer customers a service or innovation before they ask for it. One way of accomplishing this is by mapping out key business strategies several years in advance. For example, we conduct detailed project planning three to four quarters in advance and update the documents monthly. Our Product Development Team drafts product road maps to stay on top of the trends, and we seek strategic partnerships with vendors that challenge us to think outside the box. To summarize, reaching consumer demand cannot be accomplished in one single act. It is a process that requires a great deal of front-end planning and an established set of fluid, internal processes. The above strategies - investing in infrastructure, becoming quick to adopt, and leading demand - have helped Bluegrass Cellular reach consumer demand over the past year, and we believe that they can be successfully incorporated into any wireless carrier's internal process. While proactive research can help carriers predict emerging trends, it's equally important to devise a reactive plan in case a competitor is first to market. VOICE * www.competitivecarriers.org * Spring/Summer 2014 17 http://www.competitivecarriers.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The CCA Voice - Spring/Summer 2014

Chairman’s Letter by Jonathan Foxman
A Message from the President and CEO by Steven K. Berry
CCA’s 2013 Annual Achievement Award Winners
Staying Ahead of “The Next Big Thing”
Near Tragedy in Nevada Demonstrates Need for Rural Investment
Competition – The Foundation for a Healthy Industry
Putting the “Incentive” in Incentive Auction
Beat ’Em or Join ’Em: Data Roaming in a 4G LTE World
2014: The Year of Small Cell Deployment
Band Class 12 – Beyond Broadband
Chat Mobility Utilizes Multi-Faceted Plan to Attract & Retain Customers
Blurred Lines: Reinventing in the Rural Market
Regional Carrier Bridges Digital Divide with Massive Network Upgrade
Wireless Challenges and Solutions for Competitive Carriers
Expanding America’s Wireless Networks: It Takes a Village
Lead with Location
Giving Your Customer Their Preferred Choices in Billing: Paper, Electronic, and Mobile
Monetizing Data Demand with Personalized Services
Making Sure Long-Distance Calls Reach Rural Subscribers
Mobility Growth with Emerging Devices
Mobile Broadband and the Rise of Mobile Security Challenges
On the Verge: Fulfilling 4G-LTE Consumer Demand in America
Transform Your Business by Making It Simpler
Lessons Learned on the Road to LTE
Let’s Get Personal
Even If the Voice Packets Make It, Does the Lack of Quality Ruin It?
Our Connected World: The Necessity of NFV for Telcos
Ten Hot Consumer Trends in 2014 and Beyond
Gain Your Edge: Effective Edge Out Strategies with 4G LTE
Reaching Consumer Demand Through Marketing in the Rural Driven Markets
Tips for Improving the Customer Experience
Creating a Super High-Capacity Network in Rural America
Your Competitors Are Coming for Your Customers
Index of Advertisers
Congressional Spotlight: Representative Robert “Bob” Latta

The CCA Voice - Spring/Summer 2014

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