Nokia steps up Lumia marketing

Nokia is to step up investment in marketing and innovation of its Lumia range of smartphones as it looks to return to profit.

Nokia Lumia 610

The phone maker is hoping to broaden the reach of the Lumia series to appeal to new segments such as the lower end of the market, where Nokia has been historically strong with feature phones and Symbian handsets.

It is also thought to be accelerating its Lumia marketing efforts in emerging markets, where communicating around pricing are key.

Previous heavyweight marketing assaults have focused on its high-end Lumias such as the 800, which was the first model in the range to be launched last year, and the newly-launched 900 device, which it hopes will help it make up ground in the lucrative US market.

In an analysts’ call Steven Elop, Nokia’s president and chief executive, said its first step to push down the price of Windows Phone devices was the recently launched lower-end Lumia 610. He added that there will be more devices of a similar pricing range to come.

“One example of the type of things that we are working on doing is accelerating the rate at which we can push the price points of Windows Phone devices down market because that will be part of our strategy to compete in those lower ends,” he said.

Nokia’s strategy announcement to accelerate sales and production of new Lumia models came as it forecast surprise losses for the first half of the year, amidst tough competition in emerging markets.

It now forecasts margins of -3% in the first quarter – down from its previous estimates of “breakeven” – and operating in the second quarter is expected to be “similar to or below the first quarter 2012 level”.

Elop said: “Our disappointing devices and services first quarter 2012 financial results and outlook for the second quarter 2012 illustrates that [the] business continues to be in the midst of a transition.”

The “transition” represents Nokia’s partnership with Microsoft, which now sees it concentrating on the Windows Phone operating system rather than its own Symbian OS.

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