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Case study: Designing marketing strategic plans

Hakan Demir from Fenercell explains how to bundle services to expand your customer base.

Hakan Demir, General Manager and Founder of Fenercell talks to MVNO Nation about the benefits of bundling services.

“Fenercell was established in 2009, the first ever sports MVNO in the world. We provide mobile and internet services to the fanbase of the football club Fenerbahçe.

After we launched, it took us just nine months to hit the 100,000-subscriber threshold and 14 months to generate net profit. As of August 2020, we had close to 1.5 million subscribers. In 2019, we launched broadband internet services under the name FererNet, which has more than 100,000 subscribers and growing. We also started the digital journey for Fenerbahçe by developing the team’s official app and smart stadium initiative

As well as offering competitive prices, we provide all global system for mobile (GSM) services, including corporate offerings. Importantly, we combine GSM communications with sports products and value-added sports services. We also act as a digital bridge between the fans and the club. This is what really makes us stand out.

At the heart of our operation are bundles for fans of the team. If they subscribe with us, we offer them the likes of priority tickets – a chance to purchase them ahead of the general public – as well as season ticket bundles.

Fans can buy a new phone with a Fenercell tariff plan, and the service is combined with a season ticket.

We host subscribers at away matches, too. Some even have the chance to travel with the team. To date, we’ve helped host more than 80,000 fans at sport events.

As well as our bundles, we offer our subscribers the opportunity to participate in competitions in order to encourage up-selling. Given that they’re sport fans, we’ve found them to be very receptive to this. Our subscribers love to be part of a game – and part of a community.

We’ve monitored performance over the years and had the greatest success in competitions that offer tickets or invitations to matches. This is especially true for away games, where the winners get to travel for foreign matches – to European games, for example.

Our fans and subscribers love to receive signed balls and jerseys – gifts that money can’t buy. We even offer the chance for our customers to win shirts worn by star players when they scored the goal that won the match. Those have proven to be very popular. By nature, these are limited in their numbers, and this sense of having something special, something that’s one-of-a-kind, makes the experience hugely desirable. We also bring our fans and our sports stars together – either face-to-face or online. Our sporting celebrities even call our subscribers on special occasions.

Another of our unique offerings is that we provide our customers with additional megabytes every time Fenerbahçe score a goal. Subscribers can also call their friends and family for free after the club wins a game. This means that fans are actively engaging in the most exciting moments in a number of different ways. It’s about connecting our service directly to the team – and we’ve found the fans to be very responsive to this.

One of the challenges we face, given the uniqueness of our service, is that we can’t watch what competitors are doing and gain inspiration that way. Instead, we have to keep trialing our offerings and learning from the results.

As it did to many organisations, the pandemic hit us hard. We struggled to sell new subscriptions because, here in Turkey, the paperwork needs to be filled in at the retailer. As well as this, customers with pre-paid subscriptions were staying at home so didn’t need to top them up. The upside for us was that, by staying and often working at home, people were consuming more broadband than ever before. This helped compensate for the losses on the mobile side.

The pandemic gave us an opportunity to reassess our campaigns and bundles. We knew that our customers needed to talk to friends and family more because of lockdown restrictions, so we provided them with more gigabytes and minutes. We knew that sitting idly by wasn’t an option. We pivoted and spent time developing campaigns for when things returned to normal.

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