Selling the X: Motorola won’t outspend Samsung. Focus on fashion, music, and interactive displays

August 5, 2013
    A top marketing exec (formerly with Samsung) talked about Motorola’s plans for marketing the Moto X, which include in-store displays that change their color depending on the outfit of passersby.

    Moto X

    Remember those Galaxy S3 ads that mocked the Apple fanboys standing in line to buy iPhones? They were pretty effective, sales have shown, and they contributed to the fulminant rise of the Galaxy brand in 2012. Mike Wallace, the mastermind behind the Galaxy S3 marketing campaign, left Samsung for Motorola in December 2012, and he is now in charge with selling the new Moto X. Will he manage to make the Moto X look as hip as the Galaxy S3 was last year?

    In a talk with AdAge, Mike Wallace offered some interesting insight into Motorola’s marketing strategy for the Moto X.

    Design, music, and fashion

    Unsurprisingly, Motorola is betting heavily on the design features of the Moto X, and is planning to sell it more like a fashion accessory than a piece of technology. Wallace said that current phones are “the most impersonal things” people use every day, and that Motorola wants to change that with a “design it yourself” philosophy.

    To sell the X, Motorola is working to arrange tie-ups with noted musicians, with a focus on electronic music. The popular electronic music DJ and producer Kaskade, who performed at the Moto X launch party last week, is one of example of hip artist that Motorola wants to be associated with.

    Sensors will tell that a nearby viewer is wearing a yellow outfit and change the color of the Moto X accordingly.

    Motorola will also heavily market the Moto X to women, by promoting the device in the fall editions of fashion magazines and on Pinterest, the up and coming social network that is especially popular with women.

    Another weapon in Motorola’s arsenal will be interactive outdoors and in-store displays that react to the presence of persons nearby. The color of the Moto X will change depending on the outfit of passersby. For instance, sensors will tell that a nearby viewer is wearing a yellow outfit and change the color of the Moto X accordingly.

    It’s not about the money

    Wallace denied earlier reports about the huge marketing budget for the Moto X, saying that Motorola won’t outspend Samsung or Apple, “not by a longshot”. A Wall Street Journal report from July stated that Google set apart up to $500 million for the Moto X marketing campaign, much more than the $333 million and $407 million that Apple and Samsung spent on ads in 2012.

    We're not going to be outspending Apple and Samsung, not by a long shot. And honestly, that's okay. This isn't about money, it's not about budgets. This is about trying to outsmart and have a unique value proposition that will resonate with consumers.

    Personally, I think that Motorola’s strategy for the Moto X is brilliant. Many Android manufacturers have largely focused on the technology-oriented, young, male population, especially in the US, leaving huge categories of potential customers underserved. Motorola appears to be marketing the Moto X as a universal device, that would appeal to everyone, regardless of age, gender, or technology inclinations. That’s how Apple sells millions of iPhones in the United States, and Motorola clearly wants a piece of that pie.

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    • mumusen

      “Sensors will tell that a nearby viewer is wearing a yellow outfit and change the color of the Moto X accordingly.”

      Do they mean the phone will change its color or the wallpaper? If the phone will change its color.. how will that happen :s

      • http://AndroidAuthority.com/ Bogdan Petrovan

        The Moto X in the billboard.

        • mumusen

          aaah sorry.. i just scrolled up and re-read the para. I just woke up from sleep with half eyes closed Hahah may be i should just go back to sleep lol

    • Luka Mlinar

      Motorola you are playing by the same old stupid rule: design and fashion = overpriced product. So how is this new? Basically you are going after the market that cased when the recession hit? No, i will not buy your shiny thing. Apple (and well the HTC One) outshine you anyway. You got a 400$ (tops) phone with a price tag that’s almost double that and there is nothing you can say to change that.

      • Luka Mlinar

        If they gave the phone for 400$ off contract. Made it so the back plate is removable. Overpriced everything else: back panels, speakers, docks…. They would make more then how ever much they make now. Because everyone would own that phone and half would spend cash on accessories. I am a 100% sure they would make more that way.

        • motoslut

          Not many Americans would spend that much for a phone. It need to be on contract and with wide availability on carriers to be a success in USA.

          • Guest

            Didn’t stop Samsung from doing this with the S4.

        • motoslut

          You are assuming that no-one else would make accessories.

          How many iPhone protectors did Apple sell? Around zero.

      • http://AndroidAuthority.com/ Bogdan Petrovan

        Why do you think it’s overpriced? The cost saved by using an older SoC and display is probably matched by the cost of the customization options and “made in the USA”. If customization is important for the user, the price might be justified.

        • nebsif

          Not at all, most people put their phone in a case anyway + I can order any color backplate for my GS3, swap it whenever I want, and have access to battery + storage. For the front you have stickers and stuff..

          Paying extra 300$ for a custom color backplate and made in USA tag, mmm nope.

          • Luka Mlinar

            Beat me to the same argument. At least i don’t have to write it ;D

          • http://AndroidAuthority.com/ Bogdan Petrovan

            I know that, but from a manufacturing point of view, customizing phones is pretty expensive. Just think about it, someone has to manage all those orders and someone has to assemble the phone, and someone has to make sure the right phone gets to the customer. It all adds a lot of complexity, which likely has an influence on the cost of the device.

            • nebsif

              Then its bad engineering/design. =/
              Make a GS3/4/Note or HTC Sensation style removable back cover phone and u solve all these problems + let people access storage and battery.

              Stop encouraging half assed “meh” attempts to get into ur pocket.

            • Alex Murphy

              Truth is most Americans buy their phones on contract, so it’s really the “value” they see in each phone $200 (which is why they priced at $200 instead of lower). The purpose of marketing is to sell the features of the product in a way that inspires people to be part of that image. Everything you’re talking about – battery, storage, back plate – are all “geek” terms that 90% of people don’t think about. They want to hear things like designed by you, made in USA, learns your voice, 24 hour battery life, etc. You’re comments actually reaffirm why Motorola’s strategy is a good one.

              PS – We still don’t know the off-contract or Play Edition prices. Google might surprise us and price this at $399 off-contract, which would still be a great value, not Nexus value but close.

            • jaren parker

              they will dissapoint

          • Guest

            Truth is most Americans buy their phones on contract, so it’s really the “value” they see in each phone $200 (which is why they priced at $200 instead of lowing). The purpose of marketing is to sell the features of the product in a way that inspires people to be part of that image. Everything you’re talking about – battery, storage, back plate – are all “geek” terms that 90% of people don’t think about. They want to hear things like designed by you, made in USA, learns your voice, 24 hour battery life, etc. You’re comments actually reaffirm why Motorola’s strategy is a good one.

        • EvenInTheDarkestHour

          “Made in the USA” I think you need to check that out a bit further.

          • http://AndroidAuthority.com/ Bogdan Petrovan

            I realize it’s only assembled in the US, but Moto will sell it like made in the USA. The cost of this stunt likely has a big influence in the final cost of the phone.

            • EvenInTheDarkestHour

              I don’t know…from what I gather, the “Assemblers” are putting together the custom pieces, matching camera circles to battery covers, and white or black fronts; then packing them to ship. Basically order fulfillment, more QVC than computer technicians. The cost differential is quite significant per unit.

            • Alex Murphy

              That’s what “assembled” means, and that’s how they are selling – “assembled in the USA.” They are literally putting all the pieces together, and there are thousands of little parts.

            • EvenInTheDarkestHour

              No, what I’ve been reading suggests the the volume rocker, power button, camera ring and back cover. Four pieces (less any retaining clips), just the “customization” pieces. The electronic components, display,assembled in Asia. Were the phones main assembly, “thousands of pieces” it would carry the tag “made in USA”

            • Paul G

              Check out the Fort Worth news bulletins when Motorola set up the Flextronics managed factory. Lots of internal parts ARE assembled in the Fort Worth factory, not just the parts you mentioned. There is a full set of production lines! The components are bought from mainstream suppliers and shipped to Fort Worth for full assembly.

        • rabidhunter

          That would be all well and good. I’m all for the customization aspect of that. I think it’s a great idea. The phone is a great phone, there’s no doubt. It just seems kind of hokey to charge the same amount for customized phones vs. without customization, especially considering that VZW, US Cell, TMO, and Sprint customers won’t be able to customize until who knows how long. It would have been a wonderful idea if the base price of an on contract Moto X were $99 and then customiztions would be extra, just like auto manufacturers sell a base model and customized options cost extra.

      • chris pinkston

        How does the iPhone outshine the moto x? Moto x has faster CPU, better GPU, bigger screen with nearly same PPI, android and the neat hands free speech command thing. The iPhone is good still today even with that being the case..just don’t understand why some won’t even give this phone a chance if its not quad core and doesn’t have 1080p screen.

        • Luka Mlinar

          How did u not get what i was saying? :D

      • Paul G

        Luka, the Moto G (launched 13th Nov) completely undermines your argument. In UK it retails at £129 to £155. Nothing touches it in terms of bang for buck! Quad core processor, with quality display and 5Mp camera… with customizable integrated colored covers, etc. Overall spec only a bit below top spec iPhone 5 or Samsung S4… but you would hardly know the difference in terms of system speed… but you can buy 3 Moto G’s for 1 Samsung S or iPhone 5!!!! And if you want the higher spec… with much more personalisation (in USA)… go for the Moto X. Simple.

        • Luka Mlinar

          Are you kidding me? it’s a 4 month old comment. The G wasn’t public in any way back then. The X was a bad move and the whole X8 framework continues to be a bad move. The non removable back plate seams to be fixed. The moto maker was a bad move. Dude i don’t even have the time to count all the s*** they did wrong in the first year. The G is awesome but they got a long way to go. One right does not fix a years worth of wrongs.

    • motoslut

      Moto X has already succeeded, in making me sick that is.

      IPhone is no longer the last phone I would buy.

      Fashion gadget, colours, other visual customizations, how is this improving the experience?

      • freedomspopular

        It’s called marketing.

    • Jaun Lombard

      but wait…if I buy a case…which I should because the Moto X is soooo expensive and don’t want a scratch on it…why bother with the cover to match my outfit?

      • pdxuser

        It comes with a clear case.

    • APai

      I think Motorola is going to market this to women as their primary target. They probably wouldn’t care about the latest specs on it – just a great experience. With a geek husband or say anyone with more android phones/ devices at home – it would be just perfect.

    • freedomspopular

      “Mike Wallace, the mastermind behind the Galaxy S3 marketing campaign,
      left Samsung for Motorola in December 2012…”

      Ah, didn’t know that. No wonder their commercials have been pretty lame.

    • rabidhunter

      The customizations are a great feature, but I think they failed in a lot of respects. 1. Customizations not availible for all carriers at the time of launch
      2. They should have sold the black/white models at a lower price but charge for customizations.
      3. It would have been nice if they made the the faceplate and backplate interchangeable, that way people can change their phone customization as they wish.

    • pippo91

      This article is sexist.

    • Marcus Harmon

      I keep seeing this same info being published out of context. It is comparing what Samsung and Apple spent on ads in 2012 and not what they spent on their flagship devices (the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S III). How can you compare the amount spent to market Motorola’s flagship phone to how much two different companies spent in total for all their phones and/or devices in a year? Also, you have to consider the fact that companies compete in different countries around the world. The Moto X is only being marketed in North America. I wish these price figures were better explained.

      • http://AndroidAuthority.com/ Bogdan Petrovan

        Those figures are for US smartphone advertising alone. I agree it’s a bit misleading, but they are the best figures we have on this matter.

    • gommer strike

      And what good is all this purported customization, when the only carrier which allows such, is AT&T?

      • Paul G

        As of 13th Nov 2013 customisable at point of sale Moto X (using Motomaker) is now available on all 5 mainstream USA carriers.

        • gommer strike

          My comment was made 4 months ago – but indeed the customization has finally rolled out to USA as a whole. But Canada? No sign of that.

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