LG To Ratchet Up Smartphone Marketing

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Orlando, Fla. - LG Mobile Phones plans to boost the smartphone share of its global and U.S. unit cellphone shipments to 20 percent in 2011 from less than 10 percent in 2010, U.S. marketing VP Tim O'Brien told TWICE during the CTIA convention.

The effort will boost LG's smartphone dollar volume to anywhere from 35 percent to 40 percent of the company's total cellphone volume, he said.

As part of the smartphone drive, the company looks forward to offering more "superphones" in 2011 as well as more Android and Windows Phone 7 smartphones. The product plans include an expanded selection of Optimus series smartphones. In the U.S., the Optimus series will represent LG's entry-tier smartphones, all designed to encourage people to step up from feature phones without paying more than $100, O'Brien said.

Also to boost U.S. smartphone sales, the company will redirect LG Mobile Phones' entire U.S. consumer advertising budget to promote premium superphone smartphones and tablets, O'Brien said. To accelerate sales of entry-tier smartphones, which carry the Optimus sub-brand, the company will improve its in-store merchandising programs to tap consumers stepping up from LG feature phones. The company is focusing on in-store merchandising to boost its entry-level smartphone sales because feature-phone owners "want to learn in-store," while potential superphone purchasers do much of their research on-line, he said.

As part of the in-store effort, LG is expanding its retail support team, whose members train retail salespeople but also join store salespeople on the sales floor, he said.

Other efforts designed to boost LG's smartphone sales include an expanded number of LG-dedicated store-within-a-store displays, the first of which launched last year and now number 500. Most have been placed in indirect stores to date.

The store-within-a-store displays consist of wall displays and freestanding towers with active phones and flat-screen TVs that play SD-card-stored promotional videos. The displays deliver interactive capabilities when active smartphones are attached to the displays, he added. Pressing the 3D camera button on a connected smartphone, for example, will launch an explanation of 3D technology on the display, he said.

The company's consumer advertising program, which will focus exclusively on superphones, will be directed mostly to TV ads but will include web advertising to let consumers see the "full experience," O'Brien said. For that reason, the ad plans exclude print advertising.

O'Brien defined superphones as offering displays of at least 4 inches, a processor of at least 1GHz, and lots of embedded memory. For LG, superphones will also deliver such enhanced features as bright displays usable in direct sunlight, 3D displays, and the like.

Superphone ads will go live to support carriers' launches. The ads will include ads for the G2x for the T-Mobile network and the Revolution for Verizon's 4G LTE network.

On other matters, O'Brien declined to say whether a Wi-Fi-only version of its the 4G-equipped T-Mobile G-Slate with Google by LG, which is due in the spring at $529 with qualifying data plan. He did say LG is talking to all of its carrier customers to offer cellular-embedded tablets.


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