“Wait for me,” says Nokia.
The world’s leading seller of mobile phones is trying to break into the United States and the smartphone cult at the same time. Missteps and fumbles have left Nokia in the dust of its competitors in North America. Its presence is virtually non-existent and in the smartphone realm, it is completely irrelevant.
Despite steady declines, Nokia is still the world’s leader in mobile handsets, having sold nearly 30% of all mobile devices in the world last year, according to Gartner. In the U.S., Nokia is the No. 5 mobile manufacturer, with only 7% share in December, according to ComScore.
However, some recent key changes, including putting two North Americans in high-ranking company positions, makes it seem like Nokia is finally beginning to focus on this side of the Atlantic. The company put its first non-Finnish CEO, Stephen Elop, in the driver’s seat and hired a new chief marketer, Jerri DeVard.
In 2009, less than 5% of the $278.9 million advertising budget was spent in the U.S. So, far DeVard, who has spent all of her 25 years in marketing in the U.S. has not made any changes. But new CEO Elop is stepping out.
Elop has been talking about a new deal with Microsoft, where he worked before Nokia. He plans to use Microsoft not only for its software and service, but for its marketing ability, too. Microsoft is one of the top 50 ad spenders in the U.S with more than $1billion in measured media in 2009.
However, reaching out to Americans won’t be easy for Nokia, no matter what kind of help it gets. A recent survey of Nokia in the U.S. found that people who own its products are generally older, lower-income, spend less on mobile services and are less likely to use the internet on their phones. While neither Microsoft nor Nokia has been able to stand up alone to Apple or Google in the phone game, they are hoping that together they can bring another competitor into the smartphone world.
Do you think the two companies will be able to compete? If they can’t how much will it hurt their bottom line? Regardless of how successful this partnership turns out to be, I am looking forward to the marketing and creative that comes out of it. Hopefully it’s better than Microsoft’s current phone advertisements, which are funny but contradictory.