June 7, 2011

One of the core principles of my POWERSHIFT MARKETING philosophy (www.powershiftmarketingbook.com) is that you need to constantly keep in touch with your customers to make sure they “Don’t reach the future before you do,” a wonderful quote from author and futurist Faith Popcorn (www.faithpopcorn.com). So, what happens if you get behind? Just ask Nokia Corp., which has seen a 75% drop in their company’s value in the last four years.

Nokia used to be the world leader in the handset business, but their customers were moving increasingly to smartphones and Nokia didn’t have a competitive product. Now, with smartphones controlling the majority of the market, Nokia is in deep trouble in a market dominated by Google and Apple. Just look at the numbers: As reported by the Wall St. Journal, Google’s Android system is now used by 34% of smartphones in Western Europe, up from 8% a year ago. In that same period, Nokia’s market share has gone from 40% to 21%. Same thing is happening in the Asia-Pacific region. If you look at the growth of iPhones, the picture is even bleaker. In February, Nokia dumped its Symbian operating system and announced it will make smartphones with Microsoft.

Too little, too late? Nokia knew their consumers were moving to smartphones and their operating system wasn’t in the same league as Apple and Google. But they waited too long to act. The marketing lesson here: Talk to your customers today and see if your products or services are meeting their needs. If not, take action now. Playing catch up is not a good marketing strategy.

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