For all of our projects, Linx relies on in-depth, double-blinded interviews with key executives at leading and niche players in the industry including vendors, service providers, customers and systems integrators / channel partners. Every study we complete is based on specific and detailed interview protocols established together with our clients that drive toward producing actionable intelligence.
What does our research show?
Based on our interviews, we have established the following conclusions in this space:
1. CSPs main demand pillars in emerging markets continue to be SMS- and USSD- based cross-sell and up-sell campaign management: While leading vendors have 'out-of-the-box' Multi-Channel Delivery capability, including SMS, Voice (OBD), IVR, WAP-push, MMS, CMS- Push, etc.; it was clear from all our interviews with executives at Vodafone India, MTN, SingTel, and America Movil that most campaigns run in emerging markets by these leading CSPs tend to be SMS- and USSD-based.
2. Revenue share is the main business model deployed by Vendors: Our interviews with leading CSPs and vendor executives shows that over 80% of vendor revenues come from this arrangement. For example, Vendor X’s financial strategy is based on an incremental revenue share arrangement with its CSP customers. Under this arrangement, Vendor X receives 10% of all incremental revenue that it generates for clients. This arrangement was verified by our executive interviews, and we were given very detailed metrics by executives at CSP X.
3. “Real time” is actually 2 hours ± 30 minutes: While all Vendor X’s executives we interviewed said that their platform was running campaigns in real time, our interview with CSP X and CSP Y revealed that, in fact, with Vendor X’s largest customer, campaigns are run in batch processes of 30 minutes each. Information flows to Vendor X servers every 30 minutes and it takes another 1 hour to 1.5 hours for Vendor X to send out trigger-driven messages to CSP customers.
4. Machine Learning and Intent Management key areas of Vendor investments: As described by executives at Vodafone, MTN, America Movil, Verizon, Telus, and AT&T, machine learning algorithms are an integral part of Vendor implementations. For example, Vendor X uses a three-step model to define subscribers based on approximately 75 trigger events that are tracked during a campaign. Based on these specific trigger events, Vendor X’s algorithms automatically divide subscribers into various segments based on a points system. The subscribers are then placed into different campaigns.
5. Vendor Business Intelligence capabilities are becoming commoditized: Our interviews with CSP executives reveals that virtually all vendors that propose omni-channel marketing platforms have quite extensive reporting and BI capabilities. These include Real-Time Usage Analysis for any metric defined by the client including Outgoing Calls, VAS/Content Purchases, Recharge, GPRS Usage, Downloads, Gross/Net ARPU, Tertiary Revenues from subscribers, etc. These metrics can be aggregated on a Daily, Weekly or Monthly basis with trend analysis capabilities specific to certain ARPU thresholds; Peak, Minimum, Average, Total, etc.; and Inter-Metric Analysis. Vendors also have A/B testing and Control group monitoring modules as part of their standard reporting / BI packs.
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Vendor Omni-Channel Solutions
THE Bottom Line
Linx has undertaken several Competitive Intelligence (CI) projects in the Omni-Channel marketing solutions space, with a particular emphasis on solutions sold to Communications Service Providers (CSPs). We have studied vendor strategies; vendors' real/actual technical capabilities, product features, in addition to roadmaps of key mobile marketing platforms. Other questions we have answered for our clients include vendor relationships with their key customers including companies such as Vodafone, MTN Group, América Móvil, and SingTel.