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RIM’s recent marketing blitz deemed a bust; BlackBerry 7 sales weakened in January

Zach Epstein
February 9th, 2012 at 12:00 PM

When new CEO Thorsten Henis took the reins at Research In Motion, he immediately pointed to the smartphone vendor’s marketing strategy as an area the company needed to focus on if it hoped to regain share in key markets like the United States. The wheels on RIM’s recent marketing efforts had already been set in motion, however, and early reports suggest that the increased volume of familiar BlackBerry ads aren’t having the impact RIM was hoping for. Read on for more.

RIM ramped up its marketing efforts in January, but the move does not appear to have paid off. “Our January checks indicated weak sell-through trends for the new BlackBerry 7 smartphones despite increased marketing efforts,” Canaccord Genuity analyst Mike Walkley wrote in a research note to investors late Wednesday night. “With very strong share gains for the iPhone 4S, increasingly price competitive Android smartphones, improving Windows smartphones, and strong sales of the affordable 7 inch Amazon Kindle Fire tablet, we anticipate increasing competition across all tiers of RIM’s products in C2012.”

As a result of weakening device sales and RIM’s poor outlook for the current quarter, the analyst lowered his estimates for RIM’s February quarter as well as the vendor’s full fiscal year. And despite a new round of marketing that kicked off in February with RIM’s “Be Bold” campaign, Walkley doesn’t see much changing for the Waterloo, Ontario-based until late in 2012.

“Given the strong share gains for Apple post the launch of the iPhone 4S and increasing Android and Windows competition in all price tiers, we believe BlackBerry 7 products will continue to struggle until BB10 products launch in late C2012,” the analyst noted. RIM expected to launch its first QNX-powered BlackBerry 10 smartphone — code-named the BlackBerry London — toward the end of the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter.

Walkley reiterated his Hold rating on RIM’s stock and maintained his $15 price target.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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