Please tell us about your professional background?
I am currently working as Head of Marketing, Nokia Pakistan and Afghanistan. I am responsible for looking after marketing, planning and portfolio management which involves overseeing the development of marketing strategies and 360o marketing plans along with execution of ATL and BTL activities to achieve marketing targets. I have over ten years of experience in a variety of fields such as telecommunications, FMCG and financial sector. I have had the opportunity to provide my services in the sphere of brand management, ATL & brand activation, retail & consumer marketing, sales & distribution and financial management.
Who is the target audience of Nokia in Pakistan?
Our target audience is anyone capable of and willing to use and purchase a mobile phone. This includes a vast majority of Pakistani population from the young to old belonging to varying SECs and professions.
Do you think Nokia is growing in Pakistan?
Nokia has experienced an increasing success rate in Pakistan. We are the market leaders by a huge margin. Every 8 out of 10 people use Nokia. We are also making all efforts to maintain this position as we understand that ‘with leadership comes responsibility’. As part of Nokia’s new strategy, we aim to bring an enriched user experience to consumers by adding key assets to our ecosystem. One of the important aspects of our new strategy is our partnership with Microsoft; another major characteristic of the new strategy which is relevant to Pakistani market is to continue connecting the next billion to the web with a compelling mobile experience. The new approach also includes investment in next generation disruptive technologies and changes in organizational structure.
From a marketing perspective, what is the present situation of mobile industry of Pakistan?
As the competition between mobile phone makers is increasing in Pakistan, their focus towards marketing is also increasing and you will observe that key players and new entrants expanding their marketing budgets. Everyone wants to establish its brand as top of the mind. Of late, there has been particular emphasis on BTL activities at shopping malls where potential consumers are engaged via product experience in new and innovative ways in addition to regular modes of marketing.
What is the price range of phones which have the highest sale in Pakistan?
Low-end Nokia phones priced at PKR 4,500 or below have the highest sales in Pakistan. Pakistan falls in the category of emerging markets where majority of consumers are highly price conscious. As part of its new strategy, Nokia aims to connect the next billion people to the web via mobile phone. Taking this forward, Nokia wants to introduce a more affordable phone range in Pakistan which is more feature-rich at the same time and will enable easy web browsing as well.
What kind of response do you get on your hi-end phones in Pakistan?
There is a small but growing market of hi-end phones in Pakistan. The demand for our hi-end phones is fairly high in a niche segment. This niche segment is made up of well-to-do, early adopters and technology enthusiasts. Our latest hi-end phone to be launched in Pakistanis E7. Although the shipment has already started, the phone will be officially launched soon. E7 is the new face of our iconic communicator device and this model is sleeker and faster. E7 is geared towards achievers who are looking for success and inspiration in life. With all its powerful features, E7 has been designed to turn aspirations into reality.
What are the major marketing issues faced by the mobile industry of Pakistan?
One of the major problems is difficulty in communication due to low-literacy rate in Pakistan. Particularly, when we are communicating with entry level mobile phone users, it is important the message is in Urdu which makes it easy to understand and more emphasis is on the pictorial representation so that people who cannot read at all can also grasp the main idea we are trying to communicate.
How do you compare yourself with your competitors?
Nokia is the world leader both globally and locally. The market size is expanding as new entrants try to establish themselves in the market. However, Nokia is the leading mobile solutions company in Pakistan with a strong brand image, product reliability, authentic company-operated after-sales network and the widest solutions portfolio. That is what differentiates us from all our competitors.
In your opinion, did the entrance of the Chinese mobiles in the market have affected the sales of actual Nokia mobiles?
Counterfeit mobile phones are low-quality phones and almost everyone who buys it suffers from post-purchase dissonance. On the other hand, mobile phones that are brought into Pakistan via grey channel may be original Nokia phones but Nokia Care warranty is not applicable on them in Pakistan. We have been receiving consumer complaints where people bring their Nokia phone for free warranty service but we cannot offer free service because our system tracks those phones as grey channel imports. It is obviously disappointing for consumers and we want to help them. Nokia has communicated the issue of counterfeit phone and grey channel phone imports to the relevant authorities. We will also launch an awareness campaign so that Nokia consumers are not duped into buying mobile phones which are not covered by Nokia care warranty in Pakistan.
Where do you see the mobile industry of Pakistan in the next 5 years?
Mobile internet will lead the future of Pakistan’s mobile industry. The game has changed from a battle of devices to a war of ecosystems. The emergence of ecosystems represents the broad convergence of the mobility, computing and services industries. Next generation mobile phones will completely adapt to users’ lifestyle, preferences and moods. The future is all about personalized, content-rich and integrated mobility experience.