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Customer first

Discussion with Orange

Driving growth through marketing-led innovation

The Capgemini Research Institute spoke to Jean-Marie Culpin, Chief Marketing Officer, Europe Zone, Orange about how he is collaborating with its customers to create exciting propositions around 5G, financial services, and sustainability.

A NEW DIRECTION FOR THE CMO

How has the role of the CMO evolved?

As post-pandemic life begins to take shape, CMOs are expected to help organizations understand how customer behaviors are changing.

A large part of telco investment is in upgrading the network to provide better services. We need to upgrade copper to fiber, as well as expanding 5G coverage. The potential is huge, but marketing must be both a guiding light and a driving force in helping organizations decide on capital expenditure priorities.

Moreover, marketers need to acquire data-related skills. They may not be experts in writing algorithms, but they need to know how data analysis works. Most importantly, they must know how to interpret results and to challenge the data scientists who are writing the algorithms. Close collaboration with data experts will be key and people skilled in this area will be sought-after in marketing circles. 

NEW TECHNOLOGIES, NEW OPPORTUNITIES

How are you driving customer growth at Orange?

We aim to drive “convergence” — we want to offer an attractive package to our customers that encompasses mobile, fixed broadband, television, over-the-top TV, and smart-home offerings. Our ambition is to become a ”super aggregator,” providing our customers with the best entertainment services and supporting the launch of 5G offers with popular augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and cloud gaming content.

Orange has been an early mover in European mobile financial services. What benefits are customers seeing from this?

Orange Bank was able to carve its own segment in the neo-bank market and now has 1.6 million customers in France and Spain. We have pivoted from a focus on customer recruitment to driving value and looking for synergies with telcos, which will naturally make us attractive to a wider customer base. And the business benefits from standing out: while the majority of neo-banks have a free-to-use model, over 90% of new Orange Bank customers subscribe to a billed service, driving subscription revenue.

Orange Bank Spain also offers customers personalized promotions, such as a consumer credit facility, and a financing solution for mobiles purchased in Orange stores. In France and Spain, Orange Bank is one of the best-rated banking apps, according to over 600,000 customers.

5G is an enabler of digital transformation for industry. What are some of the big opportunities for Orange in terms of 5G?

With 5G, the delay between sending and receiving information is much shorter. Thus, it helps industries avoid attaching wires to machines and sensors for lower latency and greater bandwidth requirements, bringing more agility and efficiency in operations.

Another aspect of 5G is around IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) connectivity and data. Take port harbor operations. At present, typical port operations, with fiber-optic cabling supported by 3G or 4G mobile connectivity around the port, suffer from limited data- and information-sharing capacity. These networks enable some helpful use cases but are insufficient for full automation.

5G has the potential to create a smart port with new applications, such as smart drones for real-time monitoring; real-time ship-to-shore communication for port-to-vessel traffic management; and just-in-time operations.

What role does marketing play in driving enterprise adoption of these new technologies?

We have to adapt our offerings to business processes. This requires deeper, more advanced understanding of each sector and each individual business. We are co-innovating with our enterprise customers around the world to test and develop 5G use cases prior to commercial launch.

THE ONLINE VS OFFLINE BALANCE

Which new marketing channels is Orange experimenting with?

We need to follow our customers wherever they go — be it on Facebook, Twitter, or WhatsApp — to understand what support they need in the changing media environment and how we can offer that support through our services. But you have to match the message to the medium, typically on the newer networks, such as TikTok, we can launch a new digital service targeting a younger demographic.

The role of the CMO is also to push the right channel mix between physical retail and digital. They need, firstly, to identify where there is a need for change and, secondly, how we should make that change come about.

Chatbots and virtual assistants were deployed across almost all of our European subsidiaries, which helped uphold the quality of the omni‑channel customer experience during the pandemic, earning a customer satisfaction rate of 90% in Spain, for example.

MARKETING A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE

How are you, as CMO, driving sustainability?

During the pandemic, we have seen rising customer demand for more locally manufactured products: refurbishing and recycling rather than ordering long-distance. There is a significant rise in customer interest in refurbished phones. It is an evolution of consumption: not to buy a new iPhone 13 at €1,000 that has to be flown in from Shenzhen but an iPhone 8, say, that was repaired or refurbished locally.

This isn’t greenwashing; it makes business sense. At least 10% of total sales by volume of mobile devices in Europe are derived from second-hand devices. The business of second-hand devices is definitely an area of growth. 

Browse previous editions

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Focus on intelligent industry – the next era of transformation.