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Watch out Samsung, Motorola can spend half a billion to market the Moto X

To get the Moto X off the ground, Google is reportedly making available to Motorola up to $500 million for marketing and promotion.
July 11, 2013
dennis woodside motorola ceo

To be successful in the smartphone business, it’s not enough to make the best hardware or the prettiest looking device. Marketing is just as important, and, some say, the biggest factor that decides the ultimate fate of a product. The living proofs are Samsung and Apple, the two behemoths of the smartphone industry and the only two companies to actually make meaningful profits out of it, which both spend lavishly on marketing.

Several hundred million dollars—and possibly upward of $500 million

With Google’s blessing, Motorola is planning to follow Samsung’s and Apple’s lead in big marketing, reports the Wall Street Journal. According to the prestigious publication, which cites the usual “people familiar with the matter”, Google is willing to do whatever it takes financially to get the Moto X of the ground. This means that Dennis Woodside, the CEO of Motorola, will get to spend “several hundred million dollars—and possibly upward of $500 million” to market the upcoming flagship smartphone. The money will be spent to spread the word about the Moto X in the US and other markets, including in Europe, says the WSJ.

Big marketing budgets weigh heavily in the carriers’ decision to sell a smartphone. Motorola’s brimming war chest is probably one of the reasons all major networks in the US have agreed to carry the Moto X. According to the WSJ report, the device will become available “this fall”.

Another piece of good news is that Motorola managed to convince carriers not to stuff the Moto X with bloatware, the mostly useless apps and features that carriers love to fill devices with. This is another sign that Motorola has a promising product on its hands.

The report goes on to confirm the ABC News leak that said customers would be able to select the color of the Moto X’ casing and pick a text to be engraved on the device.

Google may end up spending more money than {Apple and Samsung} on the Moto X phone alone

Half a billion dollars is a lot of money to spend on marketing for one device. For perspective, Apple and Samsung spent $333 million and $401 million respectively for advertising in the US last year, but that covers their entire range of devices, which in Samsung’s case is quite extensive. It’s not clear from the WSJ’s report how Motorola would spend the marketing budget, and we have to consider that the money will be used in other markets besides the US. Even in these conditions, “Google may end up spending more money than that on the Moto X phone alone” said the insiders.

One last important tidbit in the WSJ report: the Moto X may not be as cheap as we thought – the price of the device may, in fact, be comparable to that of competitors such as the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTCOne, or iPhone 5. This goes against rumors and speculation that the Moto X would sell for $299 or less, contract free. We’ll have to see which report turns out to be accurate, but we don’t have to tell you what we hope for.