Nokia Names Craig Coffey VP-Marketing

Cellphone Marketer Losing Ground in U.S. to Rivals LG, Motorola

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SAN FRANCISCO ( -- Nokia Corp., trying to boost its declining U.S. market share, has named veteran package-goods marketer Craig Coffey as VP-marketing to take on its North American challenge.
Nokia has been losing market share in the U.S.
Nokia has been losing market share in the U.S.

Losing ground
Nokia is the dominant mobile phone maker in most parts of the world but has been losing market share in the U.S., dropping from 28% share in 2003 to 27% in 2004 and down to 17% in 2005. LG inched out Nokia last year for the first time with a 17.5% share, while Motorola continued to increase its share, going from 27% in 2004 to 33% in 2005.

According to TNS Media Intelligence, Nokia spent $49 million measured media in 2005, flat from the prior year. Taking a page from Apple, one of the keystones of Nokia's efforts has been to develop in the U.S. flagship stores and educational centers to show off its phones and show consumers how to use some of their advanced functions.

Lacked exciting design
While Motorola's success has been tied closely to its slim phones, the Razr and Slvr, Nokia has lacked exciting product design, said Chris Ambrosio, director global devices research, Strategy Analytics. "They are having connecting their brand value to products that mean something to U.S. users," he said. "Motorola has marketing sizzle and the product design to back it up."

Nokia has told analysts it is focusing its marketing push in the emerging markets of India, China and Brazil. "Their brand is the brand in these markets -- it's a smart move globally," Mr. Ambrosio said.

David Linsalata, research analyst at IDC, said the U.S. cellphone market is shifting from a first-time buyers' market to a replacement market, which means marketers have to come up with new reasons for consumers to upgrade. "If Nokia is going to survive here, it has to try to get some sort of buzz around upgrades," he said. Motorola's Razr and its iTunes phones are saleable points.

Smart phones slow to catch on
Nokia's N-series smart phones have been slow to catch on in the U.S., where RIMM BlackBerry and Palm's Treo dominate. Motorola, meanwhile, will hit the market with its competing Q device.

Grey Worldwide, New York, handles creative while MediaCom handles media buying.

Mr. Coffey, 43, will take the position of VP-marketing, North America, for mobile phones. He will report to his predecessor in the post, Jo Harlow, who has been promoted to global duties, and to Tim Eckersley, senior VP-customer market operations and head of the Americas market for mobile devices. Previously, Mr. Coffey was VP-marketing and strategy, Pepsi-Cola Co.

Previous Pepsi experience
"It's an exciting opportunity to help them grow down the road," said Mr. Coffey. During his 10 years at Pepsi, Mr. Coffey developed a number of partnerships and innovative marketing initiatives such as the Pepsi Zone, a lounge for teens in malls run by General Growth Properties. The lounges included couches, Xbox video games and a vending machine. He also spearheaded Pepsi's partnership with Lipton Tea.

A Nokia spokesman said it is company policy to not confirm new appointments until the hire actually begins work. Mr. Coffey said he starts April 24.
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