Since Stephen Elop became Nokia’s CEO in September 2010, Nokia’s stock price has nosedived. That’s an impressive feat; Nokia’s stock was going up steadily at that time.
Now Microsoft bought Nokia—presumably to save the biggest Windows Phone manufacturer from looming bankruptcy.
But what made Nokia fail? After all, their products aren’t worse than the competitors’ products.
Their value proposition and marketing strategy, however, are shining examples of mistakes you just can’t afford to make.
Nokia’s marketing people don’t seem to understand what their value proposition is—what are the best reasons people should buy their products. And when you don’t know what your marketing should focus on, there’s little chance for it to work.
Nokia’s value proposition (or lack of it)
You need to know what is your value proposition.
In short, it describes why your products and services are the best choice for your target customers.
If you don’t have a strong value proposition, people have no reason to buy anything from you. They don’t even have a reason to pay attention to you.
iPhones are often considered the most prestigious, and if you have a Mac, there are several reasons for choosing the Apple-family member.
Samsung’s Android phones are often seen as the most versatile, and they keep up the idea of being more user friendly than iPhones.
But Nokia’s phones aren’t connected to anything special. They’ve now tried to create an idea of superior phone cameras. But that’s too little too late.
It seems there’s hardly anything that would make them better than their competitors.
But just like almost every other company on the planet, something is different and better about them. The problem is that they don’t seem to know what it is.
Even architects can have clear value propositions that make them stand out from their competitors and the best choice for their target customers. And you might think that the only thing they can use to differentiate their services is their sense of style.
So, when you talk about smartphones, it shouldn’t even be difficult to create a compelling value proposition. Nokia just hasn’t done it.
Nokia’s marketing strategy
Nokia’s marketing strategy is good, or at least they’re doing all the right things.
But Nokia’s marketing messaging is all over the place. The lack of consistency guarantees that people have no idea what makes Nokia products better than others.
Their marketing won’t work until they understand what the message should be that the marketing delivers.
Right now, all they’re doing is trying almost random messages to see if something would magically change the company’s future.
For example, TV advertising can be a great marketing method (though for small businesses it’s usually a waste of money). But when your marketing is as unfocused as Nokia’s, TV ads are only good at draining your marketing budget; you need to be consistent with your messaging for it to work.
When you’re clear about what your value proposition is, you can focus all your marketing efforts to it. Everything you do then can revolve around just the key ideas that make the biggest difference to your target customers (and your success).
That’s all an effective marketing strategy does; it makes people understand what are the best reasons they have for buying from you. Nothing more, nothing less. So, use your value proposition in marketing—always.