HTC: Blame our troubles on lack of marketing

Smartphone maker says 2012 was a tough year but believes that 2013 will be much better.

HTC Chief Executive Peter Chou.
HTC Chief Executive Peter Chou Stephen Shankland/CNET

HTC will go aggressive in 2013.

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal in an interview published today, HTC CEO Peter Chou said that he believes the "worst for HTC has probably passed." But how did the "worst" even come about? Chou believes it can be directly attributed to marketing.

"Our competitors were too strong and very resourceful, pouring in lots of money into marketing," Chou said of HTC's struggles last year. "We haven't done enough on the marketing front."

HTC had a strong 2011, making the company feel awfully confident going into 2012. However, sales started to fall and its market share dropped along with them. Meanwhile, HTC's earnings were hit hard, prompting shareholders to worry that the company can't swing a turnaround.

In an interview with CNET back in September, Jan Dawson, an analyst at research firm Ovum, said that "it will be really hard for HTC to get back to where it was before in terms of shipments and profits." During the third quarter of 2012, HTC owned just 4 percent of the global smartphone market -- a far cry from the 31 percent share Samsung had during the same period. IDC noted at that time that HTC's shipments were down a whopping 42.5 percent year over year.

Simply saying that marketing will help HTC isn't enough to turn a company around. But the company does have a plan.

Jason MacKenzie, HTC's head of sales and marketing, told CNET in September that his company will focus less on joint marketing with carriers and will allow its own advertising efforts to stand on their own. The company will also focus on product advantages, leverage social media, and seek endorsement deals with celebrities.

"We've got a great product. When I demo the camera, I always get a 'wow' reaction," MacKenzie said. "We need to deliver that 'wow' in our communication."

Chou believes HTC must deliver "unique products that appeal to consumers." It also wouldn't hurt, he told the WSJ, "to act fast and be responsive to market changes."

 

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