Brands that are Strong in Developing Countries

In some previous posts (1, 2 in Japanese), I argued that it is very unlikely that the low-price Moto G smartphone will succeed in developing countries, despite being priced below $200 and having relatively high specs.

My argument was based on basic marketing principles, the 4Ps of the marketing mix. In essence, successfully selling a product requires the following to be considered;

  1. Product: Does the product satisfy the demands of the customer?
  2. Price: Is the price right?
  3. Promotion: Is promotion sufficient? Are customers aware of the product?
  4. Distribution (Place): Is the product available at convenient locations?

The Moto G has the Product and Price right. Although the price is a little bit on the high end for developing countries, the high specifications should be able to offset that. The problem lies in Promotion and Distribution. My understanding was that the Motorola brand and the distribution channel was weak in developing countries due to historically having put little effort in these regions.

A recent report by Jana (“Watch out Android: Windows Phone could become the world’s 2nd most popular OS”), although focused on Windows phone, also confirms that Motorola’s brand is weak in developing countries.

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With this in mind, I continue to believe that the Moto G will struggle in developing countries.

Some analysts comment that the low price of the Moto G phone, [made possible only by Google’s willingness to forego profit in exchange for unit sales](http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303497804579242511374858016), will put pressure on Samsung to lower its margins. I expect that this will not be the case, and the Moto G will be a non-issue.

Interestingly, Nokia continues to be very strong which is a good sign for Windows Phone.