BlackBerry steps up ‘real time marketing’

MWC: BlackBerry is stepping up the “real time marketing” strategy it embarked on when it launched its make or break BB10 operating system earlier this month to base its advertising and digital efforts around live conversations and analytics.

Blackberry is increasingly using real-time data to monitor its marketing activity including TV adverts.

Speaking to Marketing Week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, BlackBerry vice president of product and channel marketing Rory O’Neill says the centralisation of the company’s marketing team has helped it become more “customer centric”.

He adds the company is using real time analytics more than ever before to monitor in-store, TV, online and other marketing and is “noticeably moving the dial in the marketing mix”.

“We are physically moving experiential assets [to different cities] based on store reports – that’s the kind of level of decision making,” he said.

BlackBerry is currently seeding its new devices, operating system and corporate rebrand from Research in Motion with tactical media buys – mostly online and in print – but further above the line activity is planned.

O’Neill said: “Arguably we’ve not been great at communicating on a 30-second TV ad or carpeting a city with posters. We are good at communicating in a very viral way. In the early days one of the best industry tactics was our ‘sent from my BB wireless’ on emails, then others followed.”

He added it was also proven by BlackBerry Messenger, which the company did advertise on TV until it had about 20 million users.

“We’ve made a huge investment in digital media because we have to educate people how to use [BB10]. There’s nothing intuitive about pinching your screen to zoom either, you were shown how to do that. And when we’ve done this, then it will be right for us to do the Metro coverwrap, the billboard and TV,” O’Neill said.

The strategy appears to be showing early signs of success, with sales in the UK for its BB Z10 smartphone three times higher in the first week than for its previous device. The company will be reporting its latest quarterly financial results on 28 March.

O’Neill said brand preference and favourability towards the brand has also increased “significantly”, which he owes to the company targeting its marketing and products on its core users.

He added: “What great brands do at this stage is focus on their target market. If you look after your customers, the market share will take care of itself. Tech turnarounds do happen and it happens when you focus.”

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