A pre-project of a marketing strategy for Hydra
Marketing plan
The purpose of the paper is to draft a roadmap for further marketing activities according to the defined strategic goals.
Brief Market Overview
Market structure
The domestic market of telecom billing solutions is oligopolistic due to the high entry threshold, the maturity of the market, and the demand satisfied. A few vendors have occupied 60% of the market: NetUP UTM 5, LANBilling, Hydra, BGBilling, BillMaster, Onyma. 20% of telecom companies use their in-house solutions. The Hydra's share is about 7%.
Dynamics of sales
Hydra Billing was launched later for some 6 years than the competitors, but has intensified in recent years. Hydra shows good sales dynamics at an annual pace of 40% (2019 vs. 2018). The remarkable fact is that all the domestic leads are incoming, and it indicates the proper brand recognition and reputation. Annually, around 50−90 billing licenses are sold in the domestic market, wherein the Hydra's share is 30%-50%.
Hydra's advantages
✓ Marketing-oriented features, which provide increasing a subscriber ARPU.
✓ Strong implementation and support services.
✓ The open architecture and API, which helps integrate the billing solution with other software.
✓ The simple and transparent licensing scheme.
✓ All-in-one module: provisioning, payment gateway, mediation.
✓ Supporting FTTB, GPON, ADSL, WiMAX, Wi-Fi, LTE, VSAT and other technologies.
✓ The full stack of OSS/BSS products: CRM, Help Desk, Field Service Management.
✓ Suitable for non-telecom businesses as well.
Situation in global markets
Hundreds of vendors are operating in the global markets, yet a couple of them have a significant share: jBilling and Aradial. Very few of the foreign vendors are promoting their billing products, which enables Hydra to run ads campaigns with high performance. The highest potential for economic growth in the telecom sector is detected in China, Malaysia, Brazil, and India. The telecom services are underdeveloped in those countries, and shows growing demand for billing solutions and related services.
Competitors' activity
As the insider information reveals, most of competitors have abandoned sustainable development of their products. Some live off the revenue from support service and occasional license sales, others are a few steps from closing down a business. The reason for that was license-oriented sales without development of strong support solutions. A slight analysis of competitor marketing activity indicates that none of the domestic vendors promote their products on a regular basis.
Related market development
Since the original market is decreasing, the growth potential is to market billing solutions to non-telecom businesses that show the same features as follows: a huge customer base, personal accounting, the constant increase of customer base, optimization of service cost, highly competitive business. Those include paid subscription services, IoT and SDN providers, digital content services and others.
Target Markets

To identify target markets I’ve created a growth strategy matrix, which is a modified version of the well-known Ansoff Matrix.

The matrix includes core characteristics of the customer segments: a company’s activity profile, its business size and location, marketed products to the customer segments, and a level of demand for the products.

The parameters are ranked on a scale of A — D in terms of their 'maturity' or development (in descending order).
Parameters
A
B
C
D
Activity profile
Telecom (Internet, TV, Telephone, Satellite, OTT)
Hosting, SDN, cloud services
IoT, Smart City
Digital content and subscription services
Business size (by subscriber base)
2,500-10,000
Up to 2,500
30,000-100,000+
10,000-30,000
Location
Russia
CIS
Eastern Europe, South-East Asia, LatAm
Asia & Middle East, Oceania, Africa
Marketed products
Hydra Billing (& Planado)
Hydra OMS
CRM
Helpdesk
Level of demand
Existing customers
Using in-house billing solution
Using other vendor's solution
Newbies
The principle of composing the target customer segments is that strong A-B parameters are to join weak C-D parameters. So, creating the target segments is as easy as Brick Game. We could produce multiple segments with the matrix tool, however we should be focused on the most powerful variations. The target segments are ranged in terms of priority.
★★★
Development of emerging markets
Overseas ★ Telecom

➡️Exploration of new foreign markets with flagship products (integrated or separately).

✅Higher revenue, unsatisfied demand, strong competitive features, weak marketing activity of other vendors.
★★★
Penetration in related sectors
Russia & CIS ★ Digital content & subscription services

➡️Increasing sales through marketing flagman products to non-telecom companies with relevant needs.

✅Unsatisfied demand for automated billing solutions, growing domestic market.
★★
Domestic expansion
Russia & CIS ★ Telecom

➡️Pulling customers from telecom sector, being sick and tired of their own or other vendor's billing solution.

✅Economic ineffectiveness of in-house solutions, technical obsolescence of the original 'buy' billing solution.
★★
Increasing customer LTV
Russia & CIS ★ Telecom

➡️Marketing additional products and services to the existing customers.

✅Loyal customers, good communication, easy-to-reach audience.
Marketing Areas
The directions of marketing activity are determined by the specificity of the target markets defined, the market conditions and trends, and the set of business goals.

Each high-level marketing goal has its area of marketing efforts. Each area covers a set of channels and tools aimed at achieving the goals. There specified a set of core indicators to assess the effectiveness of actions for each marketing area.
BRAND RECOGNITION
media mentions ★ brand mentions ★ brand searches
DEVELOP BRAND AWARENESS TO THE 'PREFERENCE' LEVEL
✅The B2B world imposes high-standard requirements to a vendor’s reputation, reliability, sustainability. A bright and well-recognised brand is no less important than quality support, so development of brand awareness is supposed to be one of the core marketing directions.

➡️The set of channels and tools for building brand recognition: branding (brand identity, brand platform, product packaging), content marketing (blogging, expert publications, media messages, etc.), social media activity, customer referrals, outreach campaigns, offline and online events.

PRODUCT MARKETING
revenue growth ★ brand recognition ★ retention rate ★ feedback
DEVELOP THE COMPETITIVENESS OF THE PRODUCTS
✅The reliable and high-performance product with proper support service is the key to success for a B2B vendor. Product marketing activities are aimed to develop competitive abilities of products and satisfy current customers. As a result, it increases the customer base and the LTV that they generate.

➡️The set of product marketing tools: competitor monitoring, pre-customer surveys, feedback, A/B testing, etc.

CUSTOMER ACQUISITION
CTR ★ eCPC ★ lead conversion rate ★ traffic volume ★ returning visitor rate
GENERATE HIGH QUALITY LEADS
✅Lead generation is a continuous process, which contributes to acquiring new customers and increasing brand awareness. This is the most measurable and technically sophisticated marketing activity, being monitored on a daily basis.

➡️The channels for customer acquisition: paid search ads, SEO & SEM, targeted ads on social media, retargeting, referrals, online and offline events, media publications, co-marketing. The tools for lead generation are ads creatives, landing pages, product web pages, lead magnets, free content, emailings, etc.

SALES FUNNEL OPTIMIZATION
touch point conversion ★ lead growth ★ overall conversion ★ CAC ★ content engagement ★ lead-to-close conversion
IMPROVE THE PERFORMANCE OF SALES FUNNEL TOUCH POINTS
✅Optimization of sales funnel touch points and content is presented as a separate field of actions in order to make related processes more transparent, measurable, and regulated. All the variety of traffic channels will be streaming into the funnel, so it requires to predict different scenarios and route the streams towards best performance.

➡️The set of tools and processes for sales funnel optimization: customer journey maps, buying personas, landings and site pages, lead magnets, inquiry and application forms, online communications tools, white papers and guides, webinars, etc.
Comments on TOR for website development
The TOR for website development is perfectly composed and detailed, however it needs further development in terms of Sales Funnel optimization and SEO:


  • Update buying personas according to the target market defined;
  • Develop customer journey maps including touch points and lead magnets specific for each audience segment;
  • Update a semantic kernel and clustering, define basic SEO-oriented pages;
  • Update a site map;
  • Sketch out UI-elements of conversion (forms, CTA buttons, lead magnets) for further A/B testing;
  • Outline lead magnets: survey/ quiz; free e-book, white papers, guides; demo request; booking a call; online messenger/ chatbot; inquiry form; application/ order form; email/ blog subscription; discount/ coupon offer.

CUSTOMER HAPPINESS
retention rate ★ LTV ★ ARPU ★ feedback ★ customer referrals
DEVELOP CUSTOMER RETENTION AND LTV
✅Retaining a current customer is much more essential to B2B vendors for staying viable than acquiring a new one. The customer happiness field of actions is based at the intersection of product marketing, PR, and customer care service. The successful customer retaining activity results in increasing retention rate and LTV, and overall revenue. As a side effect, it drives customer referrals and strengthen the reputation.

➡️The tools for customer happiness include: Support and communications, customer surveys, feedback, upselling and cross-selling, incentives and personalized gifts.
Forecast Performance
  • The overall forecast for 12 months is calculated without dividing by separate target markets or products, and serves for demonstration purposes.
  • The lead streams are divided into direct lead generation through paid ads, leads pulled from other activities (like media publications), and inbound organic leads, attracted by the current brand recognition and referrals.
  • The proposed budget entails a slight increase ($ 500) of paid ads costs and includes other marketing-caused cost items.
  • The forecast does not take account of the transaction term in order to simplify calculations. Given that the average term is 9−12 month, the overall picture looks realistic.
  • The forecast was calculated based on actual data on eCPC, ads budget, CTR, conversion rate (for demo requests only), and traffic volume.
  • The average revenue per customer is estimated roughly.