In today’s rapidly developing world, telecommunications corporations face the need to update their products to keep customers engaged. Many companies all over the globe design applications for iOS and Android platforms to provide customers with a richer experience and remain competitive. Etisalat, one of the main telecommunications corporations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has recently launched its My Etisalat app. Accordingly, there is a need to promote it, thus explaining its importance to people who would benefit from its valuable features. This paper aims to prepare a marketing plan for the identified product, including the current market situation, marketing objectives and mission, target market, product and price strategies, and promotional solutions.
Etisalat is a service provider company that operates in the field of telecommunications, offering mobile and TV plans, Internet access options, and devices. The paramount goal of this corporation is to ensure that Emiratis and the country’s guests have the opportunity to reach each other and businesses to the maximum. Having “a current market cap of AED 148 billion (USD 40.3 billion)”, Etisalat strives to drive the digital future to empower the society and achieve the best customer service possible (“Etisalat Corporation”). The company invests in telecommunications in a long-term perspective, one of the ways of which is the provision of the My Etisalat app. This app provides a wide range of opportunities, all of which are devoted to managing one’s account and monitoring personal data.
The most significant point of the given application is associated with convenient and intuitive data tracking that including balance review, usage patterns, package allowance, and consumption, as well as out-of-bundle usage. This aspect allows for spending money wisely without exceeding the set monthly budget, yet staying in touch with the family, friends, and business partners. The section titled “Bills and Payments” outlines all the billing needs and choices of a customer (“My Etisalat UAE App”). Namely, it is possible to recharge the account, set limits, view the billing history and payment transactions, and pay multiple or single bills in terms of one transaction. To make communications bills clear, Etisalat provides the past six-month history to let users access their information. Thus, another attractive feature of the My Etisalat app is a shop that presents both previous and new offerings of the company. This section contains eLifeTV packages, value-added services, data packages, individualized offers (“My Etisalat UAE App”). The app also allows sharing data and credit with close ones through Mobile Credit Transfer, International Credit Transfer, and Data Balance Transfer.
Current Marketing Situation: Marketing Mix
The examination of the environment is critical to understand the existing marketing situation and assess the market competition. It seems to be useful to employ the instrument of a marketing mix that involves the following four dimensions: product, price, place, and promotion. One should stress that all the elements of the marketing mix impact each other, thus determining the overall success of a product’s distribution.
As it can be viewed on the example of the My Etisalat app, the company invests much in technology development that also shapes the foundation for product placement. It should be mentioned that Etisalat announced the launch of the first 5G commercial network in the UAE, thus becoming the first operator in the Middle East and North Africa to operate in this standard. This decision shows that the company builds its marketing strategy with the aim of providing customers with a state-of-the-art product.
There are six steps in setting the price for Etisalat services while regarding Du, a telecom operator with a mobile app, as the main competitor. The first step is to select the price objective that is maximum market skimming in this case. Determining the demand for Etisalat services and the app, it is possible to observe the realization of the inelastic demand as changes in prices will lead only to small changes in demand (see fig. 1).
The next step is the cost estimation based on the analysis of fixed, variable, average, and total costs associated with providing current Etisalat services. The analysis of the competitor’s (Du) price mix indicates that the competitor sets cheaper services and standardized options, having lower costs. A pricing method selected by Etisalat for its services promoted with the help of the app is perceived-value pricing based on the company’s reputation and the high quality of products and services.
Among such approaches to selecting final pricing as geographical pricing, new-product pricing, product mix pricing, psychological pricing, price discounts and allowances, and legal and regulatory aspects of pricing, the company refers to new-product pricing approaches (market-skimming pricing) and providing discounts and allowances. Geographical pricing, product mix pricing, psychological pricing, and legal and regulatory aspects of pricing are not appropriate for Etisalat services located in the UAE and its freely distributed app. Still, much attention is paid to new-product pricing approaches to promote Etisalat services using a new app.
Etisalat’s placing strategy is closely associated with business centers that are indicated on their official website’s map. The mantra of success in the case of Etisalat may be identified as “remind customers as much as possible.” Customer care centers and small shops are also used by the corporation to support its image and ensure a pleasurable purchasing experience. In its turn, the place dimension of Du’s marketing is based on the presence in outlets and shops.
A range of resources are used by Etisalat to promote its app: TV, social media, official website, and print media. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are the main channels that present My Etisalat on the Internet with detailed descriptions. Both Etisalat and Du do their best to promote their products and positively impact Emirati society. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is adopted by Etisalat as the leading goal of its overall operation. For example, they invest in educational institutions and talented individuals and act as sponsors of Paralympics. It is declared by the company that all people deserve equal treatment, freedoms, and conditions, which is targeted by Etisalat through the commitment to the social needs of people. The promotional strategies of Du and Etisalat are similar to each other.
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT)
Etisalat is the first operator to have a 5G commercial network and provide its subscribers with 1 GB Internet access services. This standard is expected to boost the digital transformation of the company, promoting the development of technologies as well as serving as a stimulus for a new revolution. Etisalat also launched the avant-garde 5G drone with a rotational VR camera and 4K streaming. In addition, My Etisalat presents a wide range of features compared to its competitor Du. The development of a new fiber-optic network contributes to improved data revenues and communication quality. The intuitive nature of the app can be regarded as another strong point as customers value understandable design and features.
Higher calling, Internet, and TV charges are the main weakness of Etisalat, while its application integrates them and demonstrates to customers. At the first stage of the launch, 5G wireless services will cover certain regions of the UAE. Even though it is expected that the coverage will gradually expand as consumer demand grows, this issue can be considered a weakness. The unavailability of the network in many regions may disappoint customers, especially those working in the commercial sector. My Etisalat app has a weak positioning strategy since it is not clearly defined.
Etisalat Group CEO, Saleh Al Abdooli, states that the tremendous work of the company’s team resulted in the launch of the 5G network. It is not only a historic moment for the enterprise but also an important milestone for the whole country. 5G provides the opportunity to completely change the market since this network has a rich potential that would bring products and services to a new level. This step is natural within the company’s network modernization strategy, which provides the users with several useful functions and opens up great prospects.
In terms of the 5G network, My Etisalat app offers a wide variety of features so that the users may stay connected to each other to discuss business issues or family situations from the remotest areas of the country. The application also promotes better service, easier transfers, as well as customer base enlargement. In other words, the My Etisalat app is useful to keep customers loyal to the telecom operator in a long-term perspective.
The key threat to the My Etisalat app is that the competition in the UAE market may become severe due to the potential decision of Du to change its product marketing. In case Du would make its product positioning close to the one of Etisalat, it would be difficult for the latter to thrive. In fact, Etisalat is likely to face the need to reconsider its marketing mix strategies to gain the attention of customers and keep them loyal. The appearance of new companies with their innovative incentives and affordable strategies may prevent many customers from being Etisalat users.
My Etisalat app is a relatively new offer developed by this corporation with the purpose of facilitating and enriching the customer experience. Its mission is to extend people’s reach by empowering them to grow, learn, connect, and share, thus strengthening the Emirati society through building and developing relationships. The given application aims to drive the digital future, in which Etisalat is seen as the key telecom operator in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
My Etisalat is anticipated to deliver the fastest access to the Personal Account and a convenient form of service management: today, most users of various services prefer to use it directly from their interactive devices. The developed mobile service is anticipated to reduce operating costs, become closer to its customers, and improve the quality and speed of service. The functionality of the application allows enjoying all the services that are on the site: receive notifications of new tariffs and promotions, read the news, or pay for services using several payment systems.
Marketing Objective and Goals
The objective refers to making My Etisalat app the most valued and widespread among the UAE users in the segment of telecommunications. In view of the current marketing situation, SWOT analysis, and the mission, three key goals for the My Etisalat app can be formulated. Namely, the increase in market share, improvement in promotion, and establishment of fruitful customer relationships are assigned a top priority.
First, it is significant to increase market share by 15% by formulating a specific and crystal clear positioning strategy so that customers may understand the mission of the application and use it to the full potential. The sales volume and profit should grow by 10% and 5% respectively. This goal can be viewed as a timely response to changes in the telecommunications market, such as the growth of needs and expectations of users. Second, it is critical to building brand awareness to establish beneficial customer relationships. The maximization of consumer satisfaction is to identify the existing needs and offer the maximum possible range of services. Since the level of consumer satisfaction is difficult to measure, it is quite challenging to evaluate marketing activities in this area.
Third, there is a need to increase the promotional activity by valuing the talents and aspirations of customers. The new strategy should be a logical continuation of the previous plan and is fully consistent with the capabilities of the company. It should be based on the most common form among the strategies: collecting information, developing a product, and putting it on the market. Such a strategy is complete and directed to the study of all marketing techniques, which will allow not to change the marketing tactics of the enterprise even in times of crisis. The strategy should implement not only the general goals of the company but also innovative approaches to My Etisalat app promotion.
Segmentation and Target Market
Discussing the UAE market segmentation, one should take into account that it has a specific structure that is uncommon to other countries. About 20 percent of the market is composed of the local population, while expatriates constitute 80 percent. There is a small amount of those users who visit the UAE in terms of business, education, or voyage trips. Thus, there are three main segments that are targeted by the My Etisalat app, and each of them can find necessary features among those provided by this telecom operator.
Another segmentation variable that is inherent to the UAE telecom market is the geographical dimension. Customers living in cities, urban areas, and those working remotely are targeted by Etisalat, and each of the segments is offered a unique product via the application. The variable of income also plays a role when it comes to demographic segmentation. In the UAE, Etisalat pays great attention to people with higher income, education, and cultural commitment to traditions. Thus, based on this review, the key target market of My Etisalat app is business persons, while expatriates and guests of the country compose two minor markets.
In terms of the competition in the UAE’s telecom arena, it should be stated that Du aims to expand its presence in the non-covered regions. If previously, Etisalat and Du used geographical segmentation, such a decision of the latter may strengthen the rivalry. On the one hand, this would be beneficial to customers as competition would force the companies to develop and design more technologically advanced products. On the other hand, Etisalat may face the threat of losing some customers, who would be attracted by Du. The promotion of the My Etisalat app should be considered in detail with a focus on such customer categories as a youth, business persons, and adults with families.
Product and Price Strategies
The application provides Etisalat with a significant competitive advantage in the telecommunications market. The product strategy of the company is focused on providing shopping products and services based on the brand image and technology advancement. In other words, Etisalat positions its application as a pioneer in the field of connecting people through high-quality and customer-oriented service. Belonging to a category of shopping products, the application seems to be a result of augmentation. The latter can be understood as a bundle of features that are not expected by customers, yet they are attracted to them due to bringing advantages. Most importantly, such a product strategy differentiates My Etisalat app from competitors.
Although My Etisalat app is free, it is used to promote Etisalat services, and the selected pricing strategy is a combination of a new-product pricing approach (market-skimming pricing) with the provision of discounts and allowances for users. This strategy is based on perceived-value pricing as Etisalat positions itself as a provider of the most high-quality services in the market. Customers perceive the services and products offered by Etisalat as having more unique qualities than the products of their competitors because of the set promotional and pricing strategy. Furthermore, the value of products also depends on customers’ experience, and the company monitors clients’ feedback in order to improve the proposed services. Discounts and allowances also play a significant role in influencing clients’ attitudes and forming the perceived-value pricing approach. Thus, the company’s prices are higher than the average in the market to accentuate the product image and quality.
Promotional Strategies with a Focus on Digital Promotional Tools
The analysis of the My Etisalat app shows that the company uses a focus on technology as the central product strategy, but it lacks sufficient coverage since there are still many users who do not use the application. Advertising on TV and online based on brand image creation and support should become the priority within the framework of the company’s marketing strategy. Thus, the effective and expensive form of communication can be attributed to the use of full-scale advertising – the implementation of an advertising company on the Internet. For example, there are Facebook and YouTube advertising of the application that offers users to join with the friend and receive bonuses. Etisalat’s official website also encourages customers to download and install the application, presenting a full range of its features. Thus, the brand serves as an effective means of influencing the market, the main concern of the enterprise, and a source of profit. Additionally, it is an element of the marketing mix since pricing and communication activities are based on the characteristics of the brand.
The current market-skimming pricing strategy of Etisalat is based on attracting customers who have high income and are interested in staying connected all the time. Mobile data transmission continues to be the most rapidly growing segment of telecommunications and their main drivers of revenue growth for mobile operators. The affordability of data transmission devices and services, as well as the availability of mobile data services, became the main drivers of the increase in traffic consumption. It is possible to recommend to Etisalat initiating special campaigns to promote devices that support high-quality data transmission at relatively higher prices. This is important for supporting Etisalat’s new-product pricing strategy and the selection of rather expensive channels for promotion.
The most popular digital channels that are utilized to promote the My Etisalat app are the Internet and devices providing access to it, mobile devices, and digital television. The local networks of companies and territorial entities that are gradually integrating with the Internet can also be contacted with the collaboration offers. The downstream partners, including malls, shops, business centers, and other places, should be given a new promotion strategy discussion in the subsequent section of this marketing plan. The personal communication channel can be established via the notifications in the application with the function of blocking them in case a customer does not want to receive them. The rational-reward promises, such as “transform your business communication” or “forget about recharging,” since it can be done automatically by turning the corresponding feature on, can be implemented in the application.
To create and maintain a favorable image of a company, a set of promotional strategies should be introduced. The new strategy would concretize the existing strategic goals and focus on relevant and fundamentally important aspects for the telecommunications operator. The increased penetration of mobile Internet services, diversification of the company’s services, and improvement of the operational efficiency of the company are targeted. Much attention needs to be paid to analyzing the promotion of the company’s products and services through advertising, public relations, and sales promotion.
Advertising of Etisalat’s products is based on the diversification strategy as people believe that the availability of an assortment of goods positively affects their quality, quantity, availability, and cost, thus improving a product in general. The application of the strategy of concentric diversification involves the introduction of goods or services or the creation of industries and businesses that are associated with existing goods or services through technology or marketing. The diversification reflected in advertisements may occur by expanding the company’s capacities or acquiring businesses that are already operating in the markets in which the company intends to operate. With regard to the application, the services should be diversified depending on a customer’s preferences and previous choices.
The integrated digital marketing communication based on promoting web pages and sharing press releases plays a vital role in attaining the objectives set in the previous section. Such marketing coordinates the efforts of the company, including the development of new products and services, production, finance, sales, and so on. This allows providing strategic and operational goals, focusing on market requirements, and ensuring interaction with customers and business partners. In connection with the development of modern communication methods using digital technologies and electronic devices, digital marketing is constantly developing and expanding its scope.
One of the options to increase the use of the My Etisalat app is social media marketing (SMM), a set of measures for using social media as channels for promoting firms and resolving different business issues. The messages transmitted through social channels arouse more trust among potential consumers of the service, which is associated with a recommended distribution scheme on social media. The promotion in social networks will allow specifically focusing on the target audience, choosing the sites where this audience is more represented, and the most suitable ways to communicate with it.
As a result, one should note that sales promotion is also realized through SMM when demonstrating the qualities of products and guaranteeing discounts for customers. The most relevant of them involve building brand communities (company representative offices in social media), social media optimization (SMO), developing the blogosphere, working with reputation management, and non-standard SMM promotion. The main tasks to be solved include positioning and promotion of a product/brand, increased demand and the formation of a loyal audience, and creation and maintenance of image and reputation.
To conclude, it should be stressed that My Etisalat app is a product offered by Etisalat telecom operator to its customers with a focus on the intuitive design and a wide range of useful features. This marketing plan identified the strong and weak points of the application by using the SWOT analysis and revealed the target markets based on the segmentation strategy. In the view of the market review and goal identification, a range of recommendations was formulated to promote the given product, including the diversification strategy and the integrated digital marketing communication. It is considered that My Etisalat app has great potential to become the most technologically advanced and user-friendly telecom application in the UAE.
“Etisalat Corporation.” Etisalat, n.d., Web.
“My Etisalat UAE App.” Etisalat, n.d., Web.