LG to beef up marketing for G3 to gain U.S. momentum

LG Electronics is going to increase its marketing spending to promote its new flagship smartphone, the G3, but the company is going to emphasize how its technology can make life simpler and not just boast about specifications, according to an LG executive.

lg g3

Click here for more details on LG's G3.

The G3 does indeed sport some eye-popping technical specs, and, as The Verge noted, it "sets the new benchmark for overpowered smartphones." However, LG faces an uphill battle, especially in the U.S., to get its new phone into the collective consciousness of the market and, the company hopes, snapped up by consumers. It will come to market more two months after the Samsung Electronics Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8, and just months ahead of a what will likely be a new Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone.

Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ), AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T), Sprint (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) will launch the phone, which will also be available at Best Buy. LG did not say when the G3 will come to the U.S. other than that it will be "later this summer." LG did not reveal pricing for the G3. (For more on the phone, click here.)

Chang Ma, senior vice president of marketing for LG's mobile business in the U.S., said that through the G3 LG will highlight its focus on simplifying the user experience and not having technology clutter consumers' lives. "We concentrate on how to make their life better with mobile technology, not to live by mobile technology," he said in an interview with FierceWireless in New York City on Tuesday. "It's two different things."

Ma said "the best way to bring innovation in technology" is by making it more practical so people can conveniently use it. "It's not just tech people but also the general audience has to appreciate our technology and innovation as well," he said.

LG was the No. 4 smartphone player in the world for all of 2013, according to IDC. The company's momentum in the U.S. is growing rapidly, Ma said, thanks to last year's G2 and the recent G Flex phone. Still, he said, "we need to build up a lot of awareness and understanding regarding [our] brand."

Ma echoed those comments to CNET, saying that "there's going to be aggressive marketing support around G3," and that LG will have a "significantly larger" budget for marketing than in years past.

Ma said that LG's marketing focus for the G3 will be around the core functions that people use the most: the display, camera and user interface. The G3 boasts a crystal-clear 5.5-inch screen with a "Quad HD" display, which LG said has 538 pixels per inch, four times the resolution of HD almost two times the resolution of Full HD screens. The phone also has a simplified UI and its camera sports "Laser Auto Focus" technology that uses a laser beam to measure the distance between an object and the camera to cut down the time it takes to lock onto an object and take a picture.

However, LG will need to walk a fine line in its marketing. "The fact that they were so focused on specs belies the simplicity message," Current Analysis analyst Avi Greengart told CNET.

Ma said that LG is working closely with carriers and keenly following developments as U.S. carries embrace device financing and move away from the traditional model of subsidizing phones in exchange for two-year contracts. "The market and carrier movement is something we are always interested in and trying to follow up with," he said. "At this point in time, we're more concentrated on building our brand. We also believe giving more opportunities for consumers to use our phone and put our phone in their hands is also the best way to make them to understand out products. So we're working very closely with the carriers to follow the trend."

In terms of other smartphone matters, Ma said that LG is still a committed partner to Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), but he declined to say how many new Windows Phones LG would release this year or how much emphasis it would put on the platform. All of LG's recent flagship phones have run Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android.

"We're looking at all the possibilities," Ma said. "If this is something customers are interested in and they want to have a different opportunity in terms of options, we're always trying to comply with those demands."

Overall, Ma said that LG has a great deal of flexibility to meet the demands of the market. He also said that LG will try to integrate its mobile marketing more with its marketing for other product lines, such as TVs. "They will be strongly integrated from now on," he said.

Ma said carriers have an increasing interest in converging mobile video and other forms of communication and video viewing in the home. "LG is one of the strongest manufacturers that can make that happen," he said, but added that LG needs to increase its presence in the market "with the smartphone itself."

For more:
- see this CNET article
- see this separate CNET article

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