Micromax, an Indian manufacturer which gets much of its wares from China and Taiwan has challenged Nokia in the low-end segment. Not just that Micromax has also stormed the big league by entering the top 12 top manufacturers of the world by shipping 4 million phones in Q2 2011.
After establishing its supremacy in the low-end market Micromax has found Android to be a perfect foil for entering the buzzing smartphone market. Micromax not only entered the Android world but it also differentiated itself through smart marketing.
Micromax released 5 Android phones so far – 4 in the sub-10K price segment and one in the sub-20K price segment, which it later revised to 15K taking my advise. With so many manufacturers, Android phones are hard to differentiate. Yet Micromax had differentiated its phones very intelligently. Let’s see how.
Micromax Andro A60
Micromax launched Micromax A60 its first Android phone and at the time it was the cheapest Android phone. The blogosphere and mainstream media were abuzz. This was the time many people are still fancying Android and touch screens. Along with the cheapest phone tag, Micromax went on a “Win your First Android” contest where you can enter to tell what you would do for your first Android phone and win the phone. Whatever happened to the contest is not known but it created the buzz required.
No sales figures are known but 15% of the phones Micromax sells are Android phones. This was at the time it hasn’t yet released the Superfones.
When A70 was launched cheap price tag wouldn’t have gotten it any far as there was a phalanx of cheap Androids in the market. Micromax needed something new, something innovative and obviously something cheap to get to the customers. What Micromax came up with was anything but cheap. Though Micromax used another brand to get its brand across, I would still rate the Micromax A70 campaign very highly on the advertising grounds. As for the brand which Micromax used as a crutch, that brand being Apple could care less as it is a statement of Apple being an aspirational brand. A rare win-win situation.
Micromax has launched an “i can afford this Phone” campaign by promptly squeezing the required text in the middle of the popular text of iPhone.
Micromax’s most expensive phone till it launched Superfone costed just four digits. Micromax Superfone was Micromax’s first venture to get into the five figure territory. A phone costing Rs. 18990 from Micromax needed something really ingenuous than irritating celebrity laugh or using a popular brand. Micromax hasn’t produced any of that. In fact, for the first time Micromax was confused. It was treading dangerous waters in the high-end phone market and didn’t know how to market it.
What it did was to slap the superfone tag and dubbed the phone as cheapest dual core phone. It sure was the cheapest dual core phone when we had Samsung Galaxy S2, HTC Sensation and LG Optimus 2X at that time. But what Samsung, HTC and LG phones have and Micromax doesn’t have was the perception of being a luxury brand.
Micromax failed miserably at its Superfone marketing and slashed the price by 4000 rupees. However it quickly learnt from its mistakes, went back to its roots, scaled down the superfone, took Apple’s help again and launched another phone in the sub-10K range.
Micromax Superfone Lite
The specifications on Superfone Lite A75 are nothing to write home about and the name wasn’t particularly inspiring. However Micromax made sure Superfone Lite A75 has gotten its share of publicity in Micromax style. Micromax created a iPhone 4S moment and Superfone Lite became an “ i can afford this Phone 4Sure”.
Micromax coincided the launch of Superfone Lite with iPhone 4S and used the aspirational nature of iPhone to make Superfone Lite an I can afford this phone for sure.
In the middle of all this there was Micromax Bling 2 which was launched with a set of apps. Bling 2 didn’t leave much of an impression when it came to marketing but it wasn’t a failure like Superfone either.
Of the five Android phones launched by Micromax, three of them are a huge marketing success. Only one has been a failure. Compare that with the umpteen phones HTC launches and the impact it has on its brand recall. Same goes for Samsung and LG. The brand recall is negligible.
Now I am not advocating the Micromax’s way. What worked for Micromax might not work for Samsung. Imagine Samsung releasing an “i can afford this Phone 4Shiites and Giggles” ad only to find Apple chasing it in all continents except Antarctica.
Micromax’s way isn’t the only way. What Micromax has shown is, how much ever crowded it gets, there still is a way. While Nokia can learn something from Micromax in general, Samsungs and HTCs can learn a thing or two from Micromax’s Android launches.