BlackBerry’s marketing is probably the biggest problem the company has had over the past few years. While the devices, and operating system are solid, many hardcore BlackBerry fans have complained that not enough people actually know about them to begin with. After a pretty sloppy BlackBerry 10 launch marketing campaign that underutilized Alicia Keys, and failed to really inform the consumer, this was made painfully obvious, and eventually led to then-CMO Frank Boulben being relieved of his duties.
Fast-forward to 2014, and BlackBerry is poised to take another shot at North America and Europe with two new high-end QWERTY-keyboard devices, the Passport and the Classic. While many will have you believe BlackBerry is ignoring the consumer, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, the focus is on enterprise, but the hardware division relies on device sales to consumers as well.
BlackBerry can only succeed with these two new phones if they market them, and thankfully, that’s what they plan on doing.
During a Q&A session at the BlackBerry Security Summit today, we asked SVP of Marketing, Mark Wilson, if we can expect a marketing push behind these new devices, and if so what kind would it be.
Wilson started by pointing out that enterprise users are also consumers, so if you want to appeal to them along with regular consumers, “you have to market it properly.”
BlackBerry is looking at a “traditional marketing campaign for BlackBerry devices going forward,” explained Wilson. While he wouldn’t go into specifics as to what this means, we can deduce it’s more of what we’re used to from other smartphone manufacturers (commercials, carrier marketing, brand awareness; etc).
What I want BlackBerry to do is to take more of what Chen has said, and will continue to say about their devices and their competitors’ and make something of it. The perfect example of a ‘Chenism’ that was underutilized was his “wall huggers” comment. Chen was the first to call iPhone users by this name, yet Samsung ran with it and made a pretty funny ad about it. Yes, they stole it, but BlackBerry failed to fully embrace it, and allowed them to.
BlackBerry does not have the amount of money Samsung and Apple have to pour into their marketing. They won’t be able (nor should they) get celebrities to endorse their products or commercials. That doesn’t work. I want compelling ads. I want real life applications of why owning a BlackBerry 10 device will make my life easier, and make me more efficient. Tell me about that insane battery life the Passport is going to have (reportedly), and how no other phone even comes close to it. Inform me that I won’t be lacking apps thanks to the Amazon Appstore, but remind me that thanks to the BlackBerry Guardian I can run apps more securely than most Android smartphones. These ideas don’t require a ton of money, but they do require proper execution, and a smart delivery. Hopefully Mark Wilson is cut out to give us exactly that.