So the Galaxy S 4 made its big debut, and even showed up with a few extras that I was unaware about; essentially this means I can't say I wasn't surprised or knew as much about the entirety of the Galaxy S 4 as I thought I did. While many proclaim their show to be corny or unprofessional for the nature of the industry, I'd beg to differ and say that it actually caught my attention. Just like their commercials beforehand, the Samsung Unpacked event followed a recurring theme and made the features interesting and relatable by featuring them in mildly humorous everyday life situations. It was clear that Samsung put a lot of thought into how they would present "The Next Big Thing".
And just like that, the HTC One was no longer relevant.
It was a good run. We had a good... 17 days before people dropped it like a box of rocks? Yeah? I still see people chiming in their support for the device; even I prefer it to the Galaxy S 4, but that doesn’t change the fact that people just kind of forget about something they don't see every time they turn the corner. What's on the billboards? Galaxy S 4. What's on TV? Galaxy S 4. What banner will most major carriers hang in the windows of their retail stores? You got it – it's Galaxy S 4 a-go-go all over the place.
I won't say that it's a hundred percent attributed to marketing - like I said in one of my articles the other day, you can build a lot of hype with good marketing strategies but if the product itself doesn't live up to all the attention you brought to the device then you're going to have a lot of disappointed people. However, while the main complaint stems from the fact that the Galaxy S 4 looks entirely too similar to a Galaxy S III, you can't deny the fact that there's a powerhouse under that familiar housing and the features were the main focus of the South Korean company. Samsung might have pulled an Apple in respects to recycling a design that's easily recognizable but they did more than just a couple of notable changes in regards to features and specs and that's not necessarily a bad thing.
But what about HTC? They did a lot of hard work too, both inside and out. The hardware is beautiful, the software has been completely revamped, and they've added some interesting features. BlinkFeed is strangely reminiscent of another popular mobile platform, Windows Phone 8, and provides important highlights from social and news media outlets without you having to actually open an app. HTC also focuses quite a bit on trying to steer us away from the notion that higher megapixels automatically mean better. They made a bold statement by choosing a 4-megapixel camera over the 8 or 13-megapixel norm that we've grown accustomed to. If nothing else, they could have used that as a marketing strategy in itself. A 4-megapixel "UltraPixel" camera sounds so foreign and ridiculous to us that it makes us want to go see for ourselves whether that's really true or just a bunch of malarkey.
But before people make the intentional journey to go see an HTC One, they have to know about it first. Other than researching the device on my own, I haven't seen one advertisement that pops out at me talking about HTC’s new device. Truly, HTC is living up to their signature slogan "Quietly Brilliant;" emphasis on the quietly.
Budget also shows how far a company is willing to take their advertising. According to Asymco, it's estimated that Samsung spent around $12 million on advertising in 2012 - significantly more than any of the comparing companies in the graph. During the same year, HTC made the decision to cut their marketing budget by 15 percent. Was it a huge mistake? Would it have made a real difference if HTC had that extra 15 percent? This is probably an instance where the phrase "Every little bit helps," is irrelevant because Samsung has invested so much in their promotional marketing that nobody would even notice if HTC stuck a few more ads here and there. Not only does Samsung seemingly place their ads everywhere, but they also present themselves in a lighthearted, relatable manner. They've got money and creativity.
Unfortunately, HTC is not really in a position where they can rely primarily on word-of-mouth. Even carriers can see the amount of hype and support that Samsung is receiving right now, and you can bet your bottom dollar that they're going to milk it for all it's worth. When prospective customers are out shopping for a new carrier, a lot of the time they're doing so with a specific product in mind. Odds are the general consumer is going to have heard more about the Galaxy S 4 than the HTC One, so when it comes to advertising it will come as no surprise that the Galaxy S 4 will receive a lot more attention than the HTC One.
They're both great devices that deserve consumer attention, but no matter how good the HTC One is the Samsung Galaxy S 4 will always overshadow it from this point on.
In my article the other day I explained why I thought that marketing was only half the battle; the other half is presenting a product worthy of praise. But just as a phone with overhyped marketing can cause disappointment among consumers if the product isn't up to par, the same can happen for a company who provides a great product with little to no advertising. People don't know enough about it to give it the attention it deserves and in return the company winds up hurting more than the consumer. Without one element somebody ends up where they don't want to be. That's why it's important to incorporate both, and the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and the HTC One are prime examples of why advertising is almost just as important, if not more important, as making a noteworthy product itself.
Image via Asymco