Thursday, June 17, 2010

Revenue Assurance is from Mars, Marketing is from Venus

Let me try to describe a marketing person at a telco. And obviously I’m me, so don’t take this too seriously.

The Most Responsible People in Telecoms

I think telco marketing people are the most responsible people in the telco. They
  • approach things in a very structured way
  • very careful how they spend money
  • always thinking about consequences of their actions 
  • imagine all the things that can go wrong and help manage risks
Absolutely not, right? In fact they are the exact opposite of all those things.

They are the ones who come up with all kinds of strange ways to bill and charge for things (unlimited plans, variable billing, friends and family, etc.) that we as Revenue Assurance end up having to make sure works. :)

Artists, Spin Doctors, Lovers

So if marketers are not all the things listed above, what are they? They are artists. They want to create campaigns that are so beautiful and lovely, that when look upon them, you just want to cry. They are also very difficult to hold accountable, whenever you tell them about the effect their campaign had, they somehow make it sound like they meant to do that.

So when you tell them that their campaign over-promised on something the telco couldn’t deliver, and too many people signed up and the network goes does because of it, they say “but that means the campaign was successful doesn’t it?”

They are also strange in that they come up with all kinds of strange things that don’t make sense (I’ve heard stories of people trying give away plastic lawn furniture if you sign up for an account!), and they constantly want to “give things away” to customers – basically so they will love us and be “loyal” J.

These are stereotypes, and they’re probably unfair (yet somehow, still funny!), but there are stereotypes about Revenue Assurance people too, especially when it comes to Marketing.

Evil Bean Counting Police Robots

Revenue Assurance people are supposed to be the evil bean counters from finance who come into departments and act like the police, telling people everything they’re doing wrong and making everyone look stupid. We are here to stifle people’s creativity, we’re here to turn them into mindless robot slaves who produce boring marketing that’s useless.

While what I’ve described about marketing people above isn’t entirely true, I have to say this image of Revenue Assurance people is entirely untrue – or should be untrue if you’re doing Revenue Assurance the way it’s supposed to be done.

When it comes down to it, Revenue Assurance is not “in charge” of marketing – we don’t tell them what to do. Yet marketing teams have real needs and they have real problems – they have expensive marketing campaigns that fail, they create huge fraud and revenue risks with their new plans/products, they produce marketing that damages the reputation/brand equity of the telco.

How Revenue Assurance Can Help Marketing Solve Their Own Problems

What we in Revenue Assurance say is “we can help.” We can help make marketing less of a “random” process where you don’t know if you’ll succeed or fail. If marketing asks for our help, we can help implement finance controls that don’t stifle creativity, but rather helps harness it in the most useful ways.

We can help – if we’re asked – to turn marketing into a reliable and consistent department that manages the risks of what they do, minimizes the cost and risk of campaign failures, and makes marketing campaigns more consistently successful.

Because at the end of the day, marketing remains in charge of marketing, we are not going to “take over the entire telco.” But when marketing is in charge, they feel the pain when things go wrong. When they feel that pain, they should know, Revenue Assurance is there to help.

Revenue Assurance Speeds Up Marketing?!?!

And we are not going to “help” by making things slower, and more predictable, and less creative. No. We are not here to tell people their ideas are stupid and they won’t work. No way. Our only job is to figure out where things can go wrong, and help you understand how much money you can lose because of it. That’s what we do.

So if the level of risk we discover is acceptable to management, then marketing can go ahead. If not, we can create controls that can minimize the risk, or say the expense of the campaign is better spent on another campaign with a different risk profile.

The idea that all this can make things go slower is a reasonable assumption, but that doesn’t make it true. More often than not, Revenue Assurance makes things go faster. Yes, I said it. Revenue Assurance can actually accelerate the marketing process.

Turning Marketing into a Reliable, Consistent, Creative Process 

Because when you have a clear structure and standards-driven way of monitoring how marketing does and measuring what they do, a lot of the trial and error, a lot of the randomness, comes out of the equation. You can’t tell me if that happens, getting successful marketing campaigns to go live won’t go faster, rather than slower.

Now, of course things get a little more complicated, and there are a lot of details that have to be filled in about how all these things can/should be done – but that will happen in the weeks to come as I write more about this.

In the mean time, I don’t know about you, but what I’ve described above makes me want to say, I LOVE Revenue Assurance.

No comments:

Post a Comment