Technology

Taking an insights-driven approach to marketing smartphones

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It has been a full decade since the launch of the first iPhone, and it’s easy to forget that life used to be simple for smartphone manufacturers.

Around the same time each year, consumers would wait fervently for the launch of the latest new gizmo. There was plenty of time to create hype, whether it was a large screen, water resistance, or a game-changing camera.

But plenty has changed in the past decade. These days, marketers of smartphones have an increasingly tougher job.

Here’s why.

Not exactly “me too”. After years of playing catch-up in the technology department, smaller and newer brands have arrived while local brands are also expanding globally. Features on smartphones are becoming almost identical, therefore making it virtually impossible to stand out for having a “great product”. For example, although smartphones are priced according to categories such as mid and high range, most smartphone brands today offer a minimum full HD screen resolution of 1920 x 1080. In our POS tracking, we noticed that a majority of the smartphones purchased in ASEAN last year were phones with this screen resolution, although prices varied according to the brands.

Longer is not always better. Consumers are keeping their smartphones for longer as telcos have halted short-term mobile phone contracts. This could mean that consumers are less likely to purchase new phones on a whim.

Too fast too furious. With consumers keeping their phones for longer and new models being introduced to the marketplace at a faster rate, brands now have a shorter time window to effectively market their smartphones.

And whilst you might think expensive smartphones might be slightly more protected against obsolescence, the reverse is true: our data in Asia shows that higher-priced smartphones have an average lifespan of just 14 months. Their cheaper counterparts? 16 months.

What does this mean?

A combination of all the above factors means one thing for marketers: reduced sales opportunities. This explains the trend towards short-lived advertising campaigns, focused specifically on new product launches. This also means there is less time for brands to deliver a margin.

With the rapidly decreasing timelines and the stakes higher than ever, the success of your next campaign will depend on the effective use of market intelligence to communicate and market your products.

To stay relevant, marketers will need to leverage all the tools at their disposal. For example, marketing mix modeling evaluates the marketing campaigns’ performance across different media channels – both online and offline. These crucial insights enable marketers to strategize and allocate the appropriate budgets to generate maximum return on investment (ROI). Research intelligence will also help to support a brand’s marketing goals in the short and long term.

As the tech market is relatively mature, it makes it increasingly difficult for you to differentiate your products from those of the competition. Today, although it is still possible to promote just the features of a product, it is more effective for advertising campaigns to focus on product benefits and compelling brand experiences, to cater to Connected Consumers.

As marketers, it is essential to determine what to advertise, but it is more crucial to understand how your target customers react to communications. Our research tells us that the contribution made by different media varies by industry and brands. For example, innovative tech products benefit more from digital media advertising instead of traditional media advertising. Apart from media channels, it is also vital to ensure that the format and timing of your campaign is aligned to your objectives – whether this is to boost sales in the short term or build brand equity for the longer term.

In addition, through our POS Analytics, the sales impact and ROI of marketing activities can be evaluated using tracking data assets and advanced econometric modeling techniques, enabling brands to simulate the outcome of sales and marketing plans.

Insights for marketing and sales success

In today’s landscape, Connected Consumers are constantly seeking compelling experiences. To be successful, a product or service needs to be intuitive, usable and engaging while creating memorable experiences. With user experience research intelligence, brands can leverage user insights to improve their product design, concept and prototype, to build and sustain positive customer experiences.

Additionally Connected Consumers are exposed to more advertising messages than before and have shorter attention spans. This makes it more important for brands to know exactly where, when and how to reach this group of audience. Here’s where marketing mix modeling, through a correlational analysis of sales and marketing campaign performance, can give accurate insights on synergies and ROI measurement across channels and media. By understanding exactly which of your promotions work, you have the full power to optimize your activity for each channel.

Bjoern Kroog is Global Director of GfK POS Analytics. To share your thoughts, please email bjoern.kroog@gfk.com or leave a comment below.

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