Nokia plans to increase ‘disruptive’ marketing to counter big spending rivals

Mobile World Congress 2014: Nokia plans to increase its use of “disruptive” marketing tactics such as its recent billboard campaign that changed creative according to the weather and a tweet poking fun at the iPhone 5C saying “imitation is the best form of flattery” as it looks to boost its market share in the crowded mobile market.

NokiaOutdoorAd-Campaign-2014_460
Nokia says it will focus on “eye catching” but low-cost marketing such as its recent weather-controlled outdoor campaign.

Speaking to Marketing Week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Conor Pierce, Nokia’s vice president for the UK and Ireland, said the brand – which does not have the budgets enjoyed by rivals Samsung and Apple – would look to break through with “eye catching” marketing that breaks the usual mould of traditional above the line activity.

Last week the brand launched a campaign dubbed “little things” across outdoor and digital that aims to explain Nokia’s points of difference from its rivals.

Pierce said: “We don’t have all the funds in the world but we have been increasing our use of disruptive marketing to bring to life our brand and cut through.”

Nokia has also ramped up its investment in partner marketing and now has around 1,000 “Nokia evangelists” in retail stores across the UK and Ireland driving the “Lumia agenda”, Pierce said.

They are also connected to an online retail portal to blog and provide feedback to Nokia about its range of devices.

In the B2B space, Nokia is continuing its “disruptive marketing” theme in the early stages of looking to win contracts by sending enterprise customers a long rectangular “seeding box”, which contains a sample of phones to trial and is immediately followed up with a call. Pierce said efforts in b2b marketing have helped it grow from the number four to the number two UK  b2b phone brand, according to Canalys.

He added that Nokia now has an 18 per cent share of that market which it is hoping to grow to 25 per cent in the near future.

Pierce said the number of apps in the Windows Phone store, which has now grown to 245,000 has also “made a big difference” in terms of share and preference. He added that the impact of Nokia’s stand at Mobile World Congress – among the biggest at the event and designed to replicate a park with an added tree and pond, as well as complimentary food and product demos – will help increase retail and carrier confidence in the brand in 2014.

Pierce described the UK as Microsoft’s “lighthouse market” given the success of the Nokia 1020 high end smartphone, which he said has helped Nokia achieve a 10 per cent market share in the region and “huge brand awareness”.

Nokia launched its first Android smartphone, the Nokia X at Mobile World Congress earlier this week, which it hopes will grow its market share in developing markets. It is a launch that marked a departure from the company’s  focus on Windows Phone after fit formed a strategic alliance with Microsoft three years ago. Last year Microsoft acquired Nokia’s handset business, including its marketing, sales, operations and design teams, for £4.6bn.

The Nokia X device will not have presence in the UK, but Pierce said the mid-priced device will act as a “ramp” to upgrading to Lumia handsets in emerging markets – especially given in-built Microsoft features such as Skype, which Microsoft will be hoping will build consumer preference for its mobile software, he added.

Pierce could not comment on the future of the Nokia brand after Microsoft’s acquisition, which is set to close by the end of the first quarter of this year, but said Microsoft’s marketing assets as well as software such as Office will help grow Nokia further in the long term.

Read more of our Mobile World Congress 2014 coverage here.  

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