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For Niels and Tessa from Amsterdam, it wouldn’t be a proper winter without their annual ski trip. And with the Sochi Olympics as inspiration, they were anxious to experience some fresh powder runs at one of Europe’s popular resorts.

skier (1).jpgBut where? Austria, France, Switzerland?

Not long ago, Vodafone Netherlands – part of the global Vodafone Group – ran a promotional campaign that would help the couple save money regardless of their decision.

Vodafone Netherlands launched a winter sports roaming campaign targeted precisely at customers like Niels and Tessa. It offered a roaming package that makes it easier to stay connected abroad with price plans that include voice and data usage when traveling in Europe.

A Winter Roaming Wonderland

How did Vodafone Netherlands know which customers to reach out to? They used predictive analysis.

Working with the SAP InfiniteInsight solution, Vodafone analysts developed a predictive model based on profiling data of customers who used their mobile phones at winter sports hotspots in the past. SAP InfiniteInsight allows analysts to feed thousands of variables into a modeling project. And the tool’s data reduction feature helps choose the most predictive variables for the final output.

“We used the model to predict the kind of people who might want to go skiing this year,” says Viliah Overwater, a senior modeling analyst at Vodafone Netherlands. “Then we offered these customers our specialized roaming product.” As a result, travelers can enjoy the convenience of using their mobile abroad, with certainty of a fixed daily cost.

Turning Big Data into Actionable Insight

The winter sports roaming campaign is only one of the many marketing activities at Vodafone Netherlands powered by predictive analysis. Even with a very limited number of analysts, Vodafone Netherlands is able to run daily models to explore up-sell opportunities, identify appropriate marketing channels, and help mitigate that bane of all telecoms – customer churn.

“It’s a highly competitive market,” explains Overwater, “Dutch consumers tend to look around for the best deal in the market, and we want to make sure we’re the ones to deliver that.”

Competitiveness like this requires a pretty good understanding of the customer base. And Vodafone Netherlands has to consider some 5.3 million connections covering consumer postpay, prepay, and enterprise clients.

“Predictive analysis lets us make the most of our marketing spend,” says Overwater, “It helps ensure that our offers are more relevant to the customer, and that we don’t over contact them.”

Goede Reis and Don’t Forget the Sunscreen!

This kind of customer insight was great news for skiers like Niels and Tessa.

So where did the couple finally decide to go? This year’s destination was Chamonix, France – the site of the first winter Olympic Games way back in 1924.

By all accounts, Niels and Tessa were very happy with their choice. And happy is good. Happy skiers are more likely to stick around for one more run down the slopes. Just like happy phone customers are more likely to stay with their mobile provider.

To hear more from Vodafone’s Viliah Overwater, you can watch this video, and please join me on Twitter at @JohnGWard3.

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