Sony Mobile is preparing to square up to rivals fuelled by its biggest ever marketing budget which ‘substantially’ exceeds last year’s record £40m budget, according to Sony Mobile UK chief Pierre Perron (pictured).
The manufacturer has also boosted its field marketing team by 50% as part of a renewed assault on the retail front.
Speaking at Mobile World Congress, where the manufacturer launched its flagship Xperia Z2 smartphone and tablet, the mid range Xperia M2, and the Sony Smartband, Perron said the manufacturer was gunning for greater exposure for its devices on the UK high street.
He said: ‘We definitely plan to improve our product display in stores. We had really good collaborations with our partners in 2013 and this year we want to better showcase our products and increase the number of touchpoints in retail through our operator and retail partners.
‘That means we will increase our investment in our field marketing team - our intention is to significantly increase our team by 50% so that we can provide increased training of store and online staff. It will be very dynamic.’
Sony Mobile UK is also increasing its overall marketing budget. Perron declined to reveal the size of this year’s marketing budget but said it was ‘substantially’ larger than last year’s £40m budget, which fuelled a major marketing campaign and saw Sony boost its smartphone sales to take third place in the UK’s smartphone market.
Perron said Sony Mobile’s marketing campaign will focus heavily on digital channels this year: ‘There will be a lot of digital engagement and outdoor media. Our next step to growth is to convert the brand awareness, which is now significant in the UK, to consumer preference.’
A key feature of Sony’s marketing campaign is an 90 second online ad for the Xperia Z2 which features a new version of Michael Jackson’s Slave to the Rhythm song, which was launched at MWC last week. The company is also a key sponsor of the World Cup this year.
Asked whether Sony had plans to expand its store portfolio so that it could showcase its converged products, including its Sony Mobile devices, Perron said: ‘Our priority is to focus on collaboration and we will of course showcase the convergence element of our devices. We want to make that much more visible to consumers and the way to do that is to increase our collaboration with our partners.’
Sony Mobile is also boosting investment in its b2b proposition, as operators seek alternatives to BlackBerry devices.
‘Xperia Business is an area we are investing in with our key partners this year as they look for alternative solutions. The SME market is particularly important to us with the power of our brand and propositions such as our waterproof resistant smartphones.’