Back From Italy

I spent some time last week in Italy, where I regularly visit clients to discuss mobile opportunities.

I always try to spend a few hours visiting operators' shops and getting hold of some brochures. The ones below from Telecom Italia are very typical of a certain type of Italian ad...

Beyond this, however Italy is a very interesting market to study. It is wrongly perceived as leading in Europe because of its huge penetration rate — more than 140% — which doesn’t mean much, per se. Put simply, it links to the high ratio of prepay phones and to the multi-SIM phenomenon, in which Italian consumers take advantage of the most attractive tariffs. For example, handset subsidies are not common and were introduced by Tre (greenfield operator Hutchison Whampoa), the operator with the highest postpay market share.

However, Italian consumers are starting to demonstrate sophisticated mobile usage. An example: At the end of 2009, 15% of Italian online users accessed the mobile Internet on a weekly basis and more than 10% were interested in receiving contextualized mobile coupons. I see numerous examples of mobile innovation, and many companies (from media groups to banks) are starting to integrate mobile into their corporate strategies. I am, however, surprised by the lack of a cohesive and consistent approach. Few companies have a clear understanding of how their own customers use mobile services and what their attitudes toward mobile are. That's the first step in assessing mobile opportunities. For example, does it make sense to launch an Android application if you don't know how many of your customers own an Android device? Few companies have defined clear and measurable objectives or have a vision of how they want to integrate mobile as part of a multichannel and multimedia approach moving forward.

I had some interesting exchanges with our mobile clients when presenting our mobile POST methodology framework. POST stands for People, Objectives, Strategy, and Technology. The idea is to start by knowing the Mobile Technographics® Profile of your own customers, to define your objectives, to define the strategy (the "how" to meet these objectives), and only then — as the very last step — to pick the right technologies to execute on that strategy. Too many players start with the technology first!

I'll be presenting this approach in a dedicated workshop in Paris next week on June 24. We still have a couple of seats available, so feel free to register. You can find more information on the agenda here.

 

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Comments

Why italian companies act the way ....

..because we have a strange culture based on a "match race" competitive tactic.. I rather do and exactly match what orther are doing, just in case, then diverting on a different path (or pattern), which ultimately has to prove itself as valid and rewarding.
This is extended to the fact that if the World as a whole is currently discussing about one given topic, we tend to "emulate" and go into the race head on.
This is why everyone in Italy believes iPhone is the smartphone of choice (and you rightly pointed out the correct proportion of sales here..), or Android is the next big thing (which I believe it is, actually), without having a clue.
If you do measure and check, you ultimately have to act accordingly (and accept the risk to be blamed at the end..) or live happily following the (perceived) mainstream..
This is also the explanation behind the fact that italian companies (large) are quite rarely at the forefront of innovation (too many "management justification" to make) whilst it is the opposite for small or one-man band (when the "judge" is simply yourself)
best!! no, CIAO!
Alessandro