HTC Chief Marketing Officer: “Pretty confident” about 2014


This week in an interview, HTC CMO, Benjamin Ho, acknowledged his company’s anemic earnings for the first quarter of 2014, but is not overly concerned, “I wouldn’t be too concerned about our business based on the few…months. I rather take a longer term perspective.”

He noted for those that look at quarterly performance that the company was going to have a great current quarter thanks to the new HTC One (M8). He reminds us that last year’s HTC One outsold the One X despite supplier problems the company was dealing with.

That is, more or less, standard executive speak when cheering on the brand he or she represents. What is more intriguing is HTC’s odd marketing campaign which features Robert Downey, Jr. Surely there is something more in store than just plays on an acronym for HTC (Hold This Cat, Hipster Troll Carwash), right?

“Instead of the traditional way of building our brand gradually and slowly, and because the smartphone category is moving too fast, we thought we needed some steroids in the market to create a higher brand awareness for us. And that has actually worked,” according to Ho. We will take him at his word, but that is a pretty strange investment if it is not aimed at boosting sales.

“We're very careful with RDJ -- it's not just a matter of him holding our phones in public, we don't want him to just hold our phones and say this is the best. He has been using our phone and he's contracted to use it.” Ho continues, “The whole intent is to create 'talkability' for us, and we did achieve that objective. There was a lot of buzz for us after we launched the campaign.” We agree, though HTC has been pretty much missing in action since then, and frankly, we are not feeling much of a push even in the wake of the high-profile announcement of the new HTC One (M8).

We will see if this strategy of drawing customers to HTC, versus HTC doing its own proactive campaign (where it would be outspent by Samsung and Apple by a factor of 10 or 20 times), will work. While the reviews of the new HTC One (M8) have been almost universally positive, asking people to “look for reviews” per se, versus trumpeting the news, is a risky move exposure-wise.

Mr. Ho did confirm that a new tablet and smartwatch are on the way, but the company wants to do it right rather than do it fast, “Sometimes, being first in the market has got its advantages. But in terms of new categories, it's also good to observe what's going on before we really serve the market with products and services. Otherwise you'll just become a [‘me too,’] and I don't think that's HTC.”

source: CNET
photo credit (main image): CNET (taken with HTC One M8)

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21 Comments

1. Whopyourass unregistered

If I were put in charge of HTC, the first thing I would do is FIRE the entire marketing department including the advertising agency working on those ads for HTC. Damn, their ads are just a pain to watch. When will the folks at HTC start to realise they need to STOP marketing their phones to technology geeks / nerds? This group of people form a very niche market, and they are also the most demanding and discerning of the lot, which means they switch and change phones like clothes whenever the newest specs come out. And to think HTC is targeting these sort of people with all their geeky and acting-sophisticated crap ads instead of focusing on the general market? Why do HTC phones not sell well compared to Samsung and Apple? Just look at Samsung and Apple's ads, they are much more 'Human' when compared to HTC's. What's the point of HTC phones looking 'Cool' when their ads are so Alien and geeky, that it speaks a lot about people who want to own a HTC phone? Would ppl who buy HTC phones want to be associated with being geeky? And you know something is wrong with the way HTC is marketing itself, when even their folks at the top describe HTC as being akin to the 'Rolex' of the industry. Time to wake up I say.

2. torr310

Posts: 1659; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

How could he be confident? Marketing is surely HTC's big weakness.

4. SuperMaoriBro

Posts: 533; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

Yeah agreed. And how can he not be overly concerned? They keep spilling red ink. When will he get concerned? Hope they dont end up like blackberry who also werent very concerned until they had lost all their lovely market share and we all know where they are sitting right now...

19. jaytai0106

Posts: 1888; Member since: Mar 30, 2011

I thought they were doing pretty well with their marketing... You know, hired stars to talk about how cool the phone is but.... never mentioned what the phone can really do. You know... buyers listen to famous people... oh wait...

3. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Fire him...

5. express77 unregistered

crap ads, crap marketing and crap camera.

7. SuperMaoriBro

Posts: 533; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

And crap support. And crap build quality - a lot of people dont realise there is a difference between build quality and build materials. Yes htc use premium materials no doubt about that. But their build quality isnt as great, because some (not all) of their devices often have hardware issues - screens that ripple, shody antennas, etc

20. rkoforever90

Posts: 447; Member since: Dec 03, 2011

never had any problems with 3 htc devices i owned. maybe you are paid by samdung

6. Duketytz

Posts: 534; Member since: Nov 28, 2013

I'm concerned about him

8. tigermcm

Posts: 861; Member since: Sep 02, 2009

wasnt HTC confident about 2013 too?

9. tiara6918

Posts: 2263; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

The cmo needs to do aggressive advertising like samsung or else they will never be able to compete head to head in sales with samsung and apple

10. KillerKeyboard

Posts: 372; Member since: Nov 21, 2013

Hate That Camera Help This Company Highly Talkative Customers Haha That Confidence!

11. KillerKeyboard

Posts: 372; Member since: Nov 21, 2013

HTC's CMO (Corny Marketing Officer) Benjamin Ho XD

12. jccruz

Posts: 7; Member since: Oct 30, 2013

Instead of thrashing samsung which they cannot beat whatever they do, they should concentrate on their own products i.e. marketing strategy etc. to at least level up with the likes of Xiaomi, lenovo..sad to say, HTC is nowhere to go, but out/down..

13. GreekGeek

Posts: 1276; Member since: Mar 22, 2014

Waay too many marketing blunders for this company. Well Unless they can come up with a good pricing strategy, which is unlikely...I don't see them getting any better.....HTC is a sinking ship.

14. Denco

Posts: 118; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Certainly, HTC makes its 'all-metal' HTC One phone as a showpiece for only geeks and tech bloggers and readers to admire and gush over its sleek design/build. So, their marketing is also directed at the geeks. Samsung, on the other hand, makes phones for the mass consumers out there in the real world and markets to them accordingly. Different strategies, different results.

15. dome888

Posts: 86; Member since: Oct 10, 2012

this guy is dreaming

16. karkavelas

Posts: 70; Member since: Oct 25, 2013

I don't unterstand why so much hate on this company... I don't think that other companies make everything perfect. At least they try to improve them self. They are getting better since HTC one 2013 (updates, micro sd, quality, software), they have to improve the camera's but in general they are good.

17. KillerKeyboard

Posts: 372; Member since: Nov 21, 2013

HTC improved themselves on their "bashing other companies" department also, and people notice these kind of things. That's why they became bigger targets.

18. AfterShock

Posts: 4146; Member since: Nov 02, 2012

They "Had Their Chance" this year. Blew it on ultrapixels an poor marketing. Sending slightly higher spec phone to Japan an weaker model to rest of world didn't help either. They seem to think its all about fashion as in iPhone an not about performance. Same as last year two chip set soc to choose from, and they go with the lower speed an GPU version. Its like a delorean with a V6, trash when faced against competition.

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