Close-Up with Janet Roberts, CMO, Syniverse

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Janet Roberts serves as CMO of Syniverse Technologies, a company that provides mobile technologies to telecommunications businesses, cable operators, Internet service providers and other enterprises. In this interview with CMO Close-up, Roberts discussed how she plans to raise awareness of Syniverse, which works behind the scenes to make mobile transactions possible. CMO Close-Up: What are the challenges you face in marketing mobile technologies? Roberts: We're very fortunate to work in an industry that's growing at an amazing pace. Sometimes it grows in unexpected but very good ways. The mobile ecosystem is expanding with all kinds of new players; for example, cable operators are relatively new entrants, and Internet service providers are as well. I think that a challenge for us is helping extend the awareness of Syniverse beyond our traditional customers, who are mobile operators, to new entrants ... so they can understand what our place is in the mobile ecosystem and the vital role we play. CMO Close-Up: What is the role you play? Roberts: We are a quiet brand. We work behind the scenes. We offer solutions to mobile operators and other members of the mobile ecosystem that allow their customers and subscribers to use their mobile devices—whether it's a mobile phone, a tablet, whatever it may be—so that they have a seamless experience, whether they're talking, texting, exploring the Internet or whatever. What isn't obvious to you and to me as an end user is that billions of transactions take place behind the scenes when people use their mobile devices, and these transactions link different kinds of networks, message types, technical standards, etc., together so that the end user has a seamless experience. And that's our role: We are at the center, conducting all those transactions and working behind the scenes to make sure that the mobile experience is a good one and a seamless one for each mobile user. CMO Close-Up: What are your marketing goals for the year? Roberts: I have three goals for the year. The first is to broaden and extend our brand. Second, I want to successfully support the launch of some key products and services we have coming out in the next 12 months; and third is to further mobile-enable our communications channels. CMO Close-Up: How will you broaden and extend your brand? Roberts: We started a little bit of this this year already. We launched a global branding campaign, and that was quite successful. We had a tie-in back to our website, which resulted in about a half-million impressions. We reached 86 countries, and 75% of the people who viewed our campaign requested a white paper we offered as part of the campaign. It was primarily an online campaign using trade media. CMO Close-Up: Does the campaign have a tagline? Roberts: The tagline we introduced is “We make mobile work.” We developed that after doing a deep dive, where we got opinions from within the company, from our customers and from industry influencers to help us build a narrative and our story in a way that people could understand. “We make mobile work” really sums it all up and explains our position in the mobile ecosystem. We are behind the scenes, and sometimes it is hard for people to understand exactly what we do. CMO Close-Up: Did you work with an agency on the campaign? Roberts: Our branding agency is Stein+Partners. We've been working with them for a few years now. We completely revamped our website a couple of years ago, and that's where we started building our relationship; and it's gone on from there. They also worked with us on this global branding campaign. CMO Close-Up: On your second goal, which new products and services will you roll out in the next year? Roberts: I'm going to have to ask you to stay tuned on a couple of those. They are going to be very interesting and I think will really contribute to moving the mobile industry forward. But I can talk about one area in particular where we're going to have additional launches. These are services we are launching to mobile operators and others in the mobile ecosystem that really are going to resonate with my counterparts—the chief marketing officers within those organizations—because these are solutions that will allow these operators to basically see data at an individual level, and it will help them be able to really consider their individual subscribers each as a market of one, so they can offer a highly personalized mobile experience to their subscribers. We've seen that this really resonates a lot with CMOs and CEOs, because, of course, they are all about retaining customers, acquiring customers and achieving customer satisfaction. CMO Close-Up: How are you using mobile in your own marketing efforts? Roberts: We just revamped our website this year and made it completely mobile-enabled. As a result, we've seen that we've immediately grown the number of leads we get from that by 33%. We are getting 50% more mobile devices than before. There are a lot of complications right now in making sure Internet sites really work on mobile devices, but we're very happy with the outcome of our work. We also have recently this year put QR codes on our business cards, and we are starting to use those in some of our other outreach. We also do a number of events, whether they're industry events or private events we host for customers, such as user conferences, and even at some of our internal meetings, we have been using SMS messaging, text messaging, push notifications, that kind of thing, and actually enabling people to ask questions via their mobile device during a meeting.
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