Every year it seems we go through the same thing with HTC. They announce a new device that has an amazing build quality, Sense has gotten even better, and the tech community has endless praises for the device. But then they fail in getting it to market in a timely fashion and then the marketing of the device. Last year, HTC had issues getting parts to assemble the HTC One which cause delays here in the US and a few other regions. It doesn’t appear to be any delays this year, as the device launched the same day at Verizon and Carphone Warehouse. But there’s one more piece to a successful flagship, and that’s the marketing. Something that Samsung has done perfectly, and it’s reflected in their market share and profits each quarter.
Last year, HTC stepped up their marketing game a bit, but not nearly enough. While HTC did say that the HTC One M7 was their most successful smartphone ever, it did not sell nearly as well as it should have. It was a great device, but without the marketing support, not everyone knows about it. Or why they should buy it over another device like the Galaxy S4, or Optimus G – at the time the M7 was launched. Sure HTC was putting out all kinds of stuff on social media and a few commercials, but they need to do even more than that. We need more commercials, we need more banners everywhere. Whenever I walk into a Walmart or go on the highway, I’m seeing billboards for Samsung Mobile products. That’s where HTC, and others, need to be marketing their devices. Then when someone – like my parents – walk into a Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T or Verizon store to pick out a device, they will have actually heard of the HTC One.
HTC America President, Jason Mackenzie was interviewed this week about their marketing strategy for the HTC One this year, and it was full of good and bad. There were also some stabs at Samsung – as expected – as well. Mackenzie stated that the HTC One M8 will be available in a ton of retail stores, which is something we didn’t see much of last year. But they also worked with their supply chain so that they didn’t see the same issues manufacturing the HTC One M8 that they had with the M7 last year. They will also be spending a lot of advertising money in Times Square in NYC which is where Samsung spends a ton of money each year. Mackenzie also stated that they are going in with a new attitude this year, that HTC isn’t for everyone, which admittedly isn’t the best attitude to have. However it is an interesting one to have. HTC is for those that demand more, according to HTC America’s President Jason Mackenzie, most likely pointing to the build quality of their devices.
HTC made some big strides last year in marketing and even device support, and I’m interested to see what they do this year. I really like HTC and want to see them succeed but to do so they need to spend a lot more in marketing this year. I understand that they can’t spend the half a billion that Samsung spends, but they can definitely spend more than they have in the past. Hopefully this new strategy pays off for them, but we’ll have to wait til Q2 or Q3 results are in to really see how it’s working out for them.