CMO Q&A: Janet Roberts, Syniverse (Extended)

Syniverse CMO Janet Roberts speaks with Lindsay Stein about helping mobile, cable, and Internet providers succeed with customers.

Syniverse CMO Janet Roberts speaks with Lindsay Stein about helping mobile, cable, and Internet providers succeed with customers.

In such a crowded technological environment, how do you stay relevant?
As a b-to-b company, our primary marketing audience is the diverse group of mobile operators that serve mobile end users. We are a “quiet” brand and work behind the scenes to propel the big-name brands of our customers. This means delivering solutions that elevate their brands in the marketplace by helping them deliver a consistent quality of service to end users as they use their mobile devices for voice, text, and data services any time, anywhere.

We've recently introduced a line of real-time intelligence solutions that will help our customers further strengthen their brands by delivering services tailored to individual subscriber needs and preferences, essentially allowing the end user to be treated as a “market of one.”

How can CMOs incorporate mobile?
Mobile is such a part of everyday life that it has become essential across all market segments. Moreover, the applications are virtually limitless: from work tools to consumer self-service to real-time alerts regarding accounts, travel, or emergencies – the list goes on. Financial institutions and retailers are leading the way with innovative mobile marketing campaigns and other industries will follow suit with new programs such as sponsored data where a brand will cover the cost of a mobile subscriber viewing content.

SMS, or text messaging, is a very effective way to reach a large consumer demographic and engage in real time. For example, the Text4baby initiative launched in the US in 2010 uses SMS to deliver prenatal and childcare tips to new moms. SMS is especially effective in this case because young women of childbearing age are most comfortable receiving information in this format.

As smartphone proliferation increases, we will see marketers use more advanced mobile tactics such as apps, video, and QR codes to engage consumers in new ways, such as using a code as a link to launch a two-way video session for real-time customer service. Widespread use of mobile video is just around the corner.

How do you use social media in your marketing tactics?
We use Facebook and Twitter to share relevant industry news, company updates, and new content, such as excerpts from our corporate magazine or bylined articles. We have a presence on sites including YouTube, Vimeo, Google+, and LinkedIn, and will continue to evaluate and adjust our strategy to best meet the needs of our audiences. We also recently launched an internal collaboration tool, “Chatter” from, which allows employees to share ideas and engage with each other in real time.

What is your marketing strategy to reach new audiences?
As consumers' mobile lifestyle proliferates and the ecosystem expands, we are serving new entrants to this space, including cable and Internet providers, application service providers, social networks, enterprises, and device manufacturers. All of these new customer segments represent a growth opportunity for us. It is important they are aware of the Syniverse brand and fully understand the value we can provide to their businesses.

We recently conducted a global brand study. Based on our findings, we shifted our marketing strategy to emphasize the communications channels that respondents said they depended upon most when making decisions about suppliers. For example, we're ramping up our influencer engagement program to drive favorable media coverage, expanding industry analyst outreach, and conducting more in-person workshops to help our customers and prospects entering the mobile space better understand ongoing technological transformations.

Another big component was the refresh of our corporate website in 2011 to include more industry insights and multimedia content, such as interactive video, to convey solutions to complex problems.

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