Nokia faces stiff challenge to stay on top

Nokia’s global marketing restructure will only be a success if the handset manufacturer plays to its core strengths, according to mobile sector specialists.

Over the past few months, the brand has strengthened its worldwide marketing team and this week appointed BlackBerry owner Research in Motion’s vice-president and managing director EMEA, Charmaine Eggberry, as senior vice-president of marketing with responsibility for go-to-market operations.

Nokia director of global brand management Steven Overman has also been promoted to vice-president, global head of marketing creation, as exclusively revealed by MarketingWeek.co.uk.

Both report to global head of marketing Pekka Rantala.

Although Nokia is the biggest mobile phone manufacturer, with a 36.4% market share globally, according to Gartner, it has lost ground in the smartphone market since 2007.

According to the latest wave of YouGov’s Smartphone Mobile Internet Experience study, Nokia has fallen further behind the newer handset brands. Only a third (34%) of respondents would consider buying a Nokia phone as their next mobile, a drop of 12% since December 2009.

Will Harris, telecoms director at Enders Analysis, says the brand needs to rethink its approach and not just focus on trying to rival the iPhone market.

“Nokia needs to accept that it simply is not Apple. It’s not about trying to create replica handsets, but accommodating all the markets and innovating with different options. Nokia’s customers are not just smartphone buyers and it can’t forget that,” he says.

Russell Feldman, research manager in YouGov’s technology and telecoms team, adds: “Where Nokia once led the market, it has fallen by the wayside. New products and apps are needed soon if Nokia is to keep up with its rivals.”

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