RCS marketing is challenging.
This week I chaired the WebRTC day at Informa’s Rich Communication 2014 event. The first day of the event was dedicated to WebRTC while the other two with the bulk of the event – RCS.
Having these two packed together brings the stark differences between them out into the light. I got a firsthand view of how vendors market their RCS solutions to carriers. And it isn’t a pretty site.
You see, there is no money in RCS. How can you sell presence and instant messaging to consumers who are comfortable getting both for free by tapping into WhatsApp or one of many free services out there? I just can’t work. And there seems to be an understanding of that.
So what does a vendor to do?
Here’s a gist of a pitch:
- Dear carrier, don’t think about making more money with RCS
- Think of it as longer retention of customers
- Now that you’ve given your customers an RCS client – he likes you so much that he will stay around for 6-12 months longer
- And that’s boatloads of money
- A lot more than our price of a dollar per user
Now let me get this straight – why would a customer stay with his carrier because of RCS exactly?
RCS won’t give any value that he can’t get elsewhere for free.
And if you are suggesting ubiquity and accessibility to everyone, then there are these 2 nagging facts to consider:
- WhatsApp has “only” 600 million (with a capital M) monthly active users. That’s more than all but one carrier in the world today
- If RCS is so widely available and ubiquitous, then what’s stopping me to switch to another carrier and use his RCS? They are the same anyway…
Should a carrier even adopt RCS? I don’t know.
Would a carrier make money out of RCS? Probably not.
Would RCS make customers happier and less likely to churn? Doesn’t seem like that.
Find a better reasons to adopt (or sell) RCS. Or just go for some other, more promising technology. What that has been around a fraction of the time of RCS and already has over a billion enabled devices out there.