Nokia readdresses customer marketing

Nokia is changing its customer marketing approach to become more collaborative with retail and technology partners and managing its advocacy programme more tightly in a bid to boost its market share as it nears the 18 month mark since it unveiled its Windows Phone strategy.

Vodafone Nokia Lumia

When Nokia launched its Lumia series in 2011 it gifted what was understood to be tens of thousands of free handsets to developers, bloggers, retail staff and “cultural influencers” as it looked to boost awareness of the new ecosystem.

The company has now analysed its training and advocacy programme and going forward will offer free handsets to fewer people.

Nokia is selecting 150 “champions” from retail staff at stores such as O2, Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4U who will join an advocacy programme designed to encourage their use of Lumia for the long-term, rather than a gift they use for a short period of time.

As well as handsets, those champions will also receive regular newsletter content and be invited to special events as Nokia looks to generate more advocacy towards its devices over rivals such as Apple and Samsung and promote better customer service around Windows Phone.

Emma Gilmartin, Nokia head of portfolio and customer marketing for UK and Ireland, says offering handsets to staff is still important to encourage people to champion its devices, but it is now managing that group of people “very tightly”.

She adds: “It’s all about starting small to generate the right behaviour to promote long-term use and benefit the customer experience. Once we get it right we can scale up.”

Meanwhile, Nokia has also embarked on what it says is a “first of its kind” collaborative marketing campaign with Vodafone and Microsoft. Usually joint campaigns in the mobile industry are only between two parties.

The campaign sees Vodafone “heroing” the Nokia Lumia 920 and 820 to promote its “4G ready” status ahead of its launch of the faster internet service later this year. It appears in-store, outdoor, in print. Vodafone’s customer magazine and through training and internal events.

Gilmartin says Nokia will look to repeat this approach again in the second quarter with other operators and retailers to ensure the maximum reach for their campaigns and to prevent any clashes, such as two separate ads appearing in the same commercial break or newspaper.

Nokia sold 4.4 million Lumia devices globally in the fourth quarter, up from 2.9 million in the previous quarter, helping the company return to profit for the first time in almost two years. By comparison, Apple reported it sold almost 48 million iPhones and Samsung was estimated by research firm Strategy Analytics to have sold 63 million smartphones in the last three months of the year.

UK smartphone maker market share

Source: comScore December 2012

Apple 27.8%

Samsung 25.6%

BlackBerry 14.4%

HTC 14.3%

Nokia 8.0%

VIEWPOINT

Lara O'Reilly

Nokia won’t be alone in making new device announcements in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress this month so it is vital it gets retail staff and partners on board behind the Windows Phone ecosystem if it is to stand out against competitors at this busy time.

Nokia has realised to create true brand advocacy it must offer partners added value beyond a free handset or a couple of egg sandwiches during a training session.

By minimising the amount of people it selects to champion its products, Nokia is likely to strengthen the bonds between the brand and those select sales staff who also have a number of other companies looking to catch their eye with their own tempting offers.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here