HTC gets a new Chief Marketing Officer, but will new ads fix HTC’s problems?

by: ŠtefanNovember 28, 2012

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.

  • In my perspective – a New CMO can lead to a change in positioning, which if all goes well can lead to changes in the Product itself, now its a matter of how well knit the Positioning and Product Management is in HTC. They recently tried a new HTC store and are trying new things to stay afloat in deep waters.

  • zebra

    advertising if done well can always turn things around

  • Sorry guys, but your analytics about merge with another handset vendor sounds awful. HTC is in bad shape from finance point of view, but in good shape from product/technical point of view. All that they need is to solve problem with battery life and proper advertising.

    • casualsuede

      htc maybe hurting in stock value, but is still profitable and cash flow positive. they are also nimble. their problem is strictly with executive management, in marketing, product strategy and quality. a company with a more seasoned management can turn around the company.

  • Gucci

    Finally! Well done HTC! Prove you make the best smartphones!!!

  • AB!

    I understand you’re sceptical about the move, but it feels a little needlessly rude about the guy?

    “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.”

    Firstly, he was CMO of Motorola *Asia Pacific* – the way it’s phrased in the story makes it look like he was the global CMO but it’s a pretty important difference.

    Secondly, “once responsible” is really dismissive – his public LinkedIn profile shows he was there for almost a decade and came to HTC directly from there:

    It’s obviously a tricky time for HTC, but I don’t see why that tone was needed for those parts of the story?

  • Jimbo

    The most important issue for a company is to realize there is an issue. Many companies are oblivious to reality and sometimes arrogant toward feedback from consumers (apple comes to mind) HTC is in an all or nothing position and they are taking the right steps to rebuild and regain their position in the market. They know they wont beat Samsung so comparing a smaller company to a giant like Samsung (that also makes money on many other items besides phones) is irrelevant. The development is top notch and the product is amazing. I am a proud One X+ user and i see good things coming from HTC.

    • alexxx

      OH MAN, I’d be proud too, that’s the most advanced, sexiest looking device ever. It’s off this world compared to everything else, Batman would be jealous of it. I’m getting mine soon!