Ericsson believes it has a key role to play in making the discussion around technology more accessible and says it will be “more vocal” this year as 5G finally transcends the hype and begins to gather speed.
Speaking to Marketing Week at Mobile World Congress 2019, where 5G, Internet of Things and artificial intelligence have again dominated conversations, Ericsson’s top marketer Helena Norrman, says one of her main marketing priorities over the next 12 months is to start showing people what Ericsson can actually do.
“It’s about taking this step of not only talking to our customers but showing people, broader groups in society, what it actually is that we enable, to make this technology discussion more accessible to people,” she adds.
“That’s going to happen in steps, it’s not going to be a big bang, but we will do more of that than we have done in the past. The networks are becoming more important, it is important people know more about the networks because if they don’t trust the technology and the networks it’s difficult to move to these new use cases. So we’ve got to start to have a discussion about what it is. We need to become more vocal.”
It becomes easy to understand what technology can do when you can see it and touch it instead of looking at Powerpoint presentations.
Helena Norrman, Ericsson
Ericsson already works with a lot of companies and industries where the benefits of its technology can be seen, such as with truck, tractor and mining companies.
But as new industries and players emerge, from self-driving cars to healthcare and industrial applications, Norrman says Ericsson will do more to showcase its technology and “bring it to life”, especially around 5G.
“Because it becomes easy to understand what the technology can do when you can see it and touch it instead of looking at Powerpoint presentations,” she says.
“In order for all of these new things to happen, you need to make it [clear how technology is an enabler]. We know what the technology can do and if we don’t show that people will not understand it. Our business is to build, run and operate the networks and then it is our customers that do the last mile.”
Using other industries to show the economic benefits of its products has a halo effect too, especially when it comes to attracting new talent, “because they are not so interested in the sales pitches you do to operators,” says Norrman.
Some innovations are given space to grow behind closed doors, though, to give them the “best possibility to succeed” she explains.
“Sometimes it’s fun and we can give it visibility, like the dancing robot [seen at MWC 2019], but sometimes it actually needs mainly to be given a little bit of space to grow and maybe to work with one or two customers specifically. Because if you expose it too much maybe it doesn’t survive.”
Ericsson’s 25,000-strong research and development team is responsible for working on mainstream developments such as 4G to 5G where it is easy to predict the different steps and to build on the technology it already has.
This is where Norrman and her marketing team are most closely aligned, while there is a much smaller marketing team dedicated to its smaller and “more agile” disruptive innovations, which is where the “experimenting, failing fast and testing and trialling things” happens.