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Best Buy To Ratchet Up Mobile-Phone Marketing

New York — Best Buy plans to put a major promotional effort behind the launch of the HTC One smartphone.

This will be part of a greater investment in mobile-phone advertising and promotion during the next 12 months, said Allister Jones, head of marketing for Best Buy’s connectivity business group.

Best Buy will be the smartphone’s exclusive indirect-channel launch partner.

 The 4G LTE smartphone, which HTC developed to increase differentiation with competitors’ Android phones, will appear at the end of March in the chain’s 1,000 big-box and 400 stand-alone Best Buy Mobile stores, Jones said. Carriers T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and AT&T Wireless have approved the HTC One for use on their networks and will roll the phone out in their direct channels.

To launch the phone, Best Buy and HTC will run collaborative ads on TV beginning the end of March, and Best Buy will promote the phone on its website and via email, Jones said. The phones will also appear on end caps in the stores, the company’s Blue Shirts will carry the phone around to demonstrate to customers, and the phone will make major appearances in weekly circulars, Jones added.

During the next 12 months, the chain “will invest more” in mobile promotion, Jones continued. Having built the mobile business over the past five years, “now we’ll invest more heavily in marketing,” he said. “You’ll see a lot more TV and digital online ads and localized mobile advertising.” In the past, the company placed regional ads for mobile phones.

In another change, the company will target online ads to consumers who shopped for a mobile phone on Best Buy’s website but didn’t buy, he said. The chain will use cookie data obtained from the visitors to deliver mobile-phone ads to the web pages that the consumers access during the following seven to 10 days, he explained. The company has already used this strategy with tablets, home theater and computers with “tremendous success,” he said.

The company has added about 1 percentage point of mobile-phone share per year during the past five years and is often No. 3 behind AT&T and Verizon stores, Jones said. The chain’s mobile-phone share is about 6 percent overall but higher in smartphones, he noted.

Separately, the chain confirmed that its new Low Price Guarantee, which goes into effect March 3, does not include contract mobile phones but does include mobile accessories. Overall, a spokesman said, “there are more products covered in the new Low Price Guarantee” than there are under the terms of the chain’s holiday price-match policy, which runs through March 2.