Will the HTC One media tour help or hurt the company?

BY Stefan Constantinescu

Published 10 Apr 2013

Last week HTC published a press release that I’ve now read at least 10 times. It’s about the HTC One and how the company will be taking the device “on tour” around America to show people why they should buy it instead of another smartphone.

Let me begin by saying that on the surface this sounds great. HTC setting up tiny stores to demo their products is exactly the type of marketing campaign that’s needed. But they’re only going to be deployed in 11 markets. Granted, they’re going after America’s biggest cities, where the so-called “taste makers” live, but what about the rest of America?

Before HTC announced their One Media Tour, Samsung announced that they’re going to partner with Best Buy to make sure that over 1,400 Best Buy stores will have tiny Samsung stores inside them. When you compare 11 markets to 1,400+ locations, you really start to appreciate the sense of scale of Samsung’s marketing budget.

But forget about the HTC kiosks and the Samsung stores, most Americans buy their phones from their operator. That means it’ll be up to the operator’s sales force to decide what gets pushed and what doesn’t. While I can’t confirm what I’m about to say, I have a feeling that Samsung will be offering insane commissions for every GS4 sold.

That and operators love the fact that Samsung will be investing tens of millions of dollars in advertising the GS4, which will make their job that much easier.

Circling back to the question I posed in my headline, the One Media Tour sounds great, but it’s not enough. When you market, you have to go all the way, or not even bother trying at all. To me at least, it feels like HTC will be throwing a ton of money down the drain to convince a handful of Americans in a handful of cities to buy their new gizmo.

Said money could’ve been better spent on a nationwide gorilla marketing campaign.