HTC has just announced that John Wang (pictured above), their current Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), will be replaced by Benjamin Ho. When does Benjamin take over John’s position? Next month. What sort of credentials does this guy have? According to The Next Web, he used to be the CMO of Motorola, and he was once responsible for the marketing strategy at the Taiwanese operator FarEasTone. What is Benjamin going to do differently than his predecessor? We have no idea. HTC is calling their new marketing strategy “Marketing 2.0” internally, which is just about the most vague name one can assign to a project.
The sad reality that HTC has to face is that Samsung spends an insane amount of money on marketing. According to the independent analyst Benedict Evans, Samsung is currently spending roughly $11 billion a year on ads. Now yes, Samsung markets more than just smartphones, but to put that number into some perspective, HTC had revenues of $2.4 billion in Q3 2012 and they expect to hit around $2 billion this quarter. In other words, Samsung spends more money on advertising than HTC makes by selling mobile phones.
Can a new marketing guy really fix things at HTC? We’re going to have to say no. HTC’s problems have more to do with their infatuation with Sense UI, their stale design language, and their inability to stand up to operators who want custom hardware.
We’re not saying HTC deserves to disappear, because more competition is better, but we’re struggling to see how advertising is going to turn this sinking ship around. Maybe HTC would be in a better position if they merged with another handset vendor? Huawei and ZTE are facing an uphill battle in mature markets because they don’t have any brand recognition. If they slapped HTC’s logo on the front of their devices, then that could change everything.