Trude Gajland, Head of Nokia Eseries Marketing, Middle East and Africa recently visited Pakistan on a brief trip. Blue Chip talks to her about the latest developments taking place in the world of telecommunications, corporate communication and the Finnish cellphone manufacturer’s future strategy. Trude has held the Head of Marketing position since January 2008 and her responsibilities include market execution and sales of the Nokia Eseries device line up. Trude joined the Middle East & Africa (MEA) team from Nokia’s Stockholm office where she was leading the channel development for Nokia Enterprise Solutions Scandinavia. Prior to that, Trude worked in a number of roles in the Scandinavian sales office including Logistic and Care. Having joined Nokia in December 1997, Trude previously held several key account management roles within Eurocard, Diners Club and SE-Banken Kort. Being born and raised in Finland, Trude has been living in Dubai for the past three and a half years
We believe this is your first visit to Pakistan. What kind of feedback have you received and how has your experience been so far?
Trude Gajland: “Well, to tell you the truth, I loved the people and the country. The people out here are extremely friendly and cordial. Regarding the Pakistani market, I have had excellent feedback from my colleagues at the Karachi office and have figured out that the local market is growing at a very rapid pace. I have also been briefed about the willingness of the telecom operators to introduce applications in the Pakistani market from which, I have high expectations.”
It’s a very competitive market environment, with the economic meltdown and the telecoms boom in Pakistan; how can a leader like Nokia capitalise on it?
TG: “As a leader of the cellphone manufacturing industry, I believe Nokia has a social responsibility in terms of what it introduces to the market while making sure that the applications are ready for the market and are in sync with the local market as well as the local partners. On the other hand, we also need to make sure that we cooperate with our local partners and develop the right content for the Pakistani market. Thirdly, we also need the operator to have the services easily available so that their usage should not be too expensive or complicated.”
There is a very common trend in the foreign market where cellphone manufacturers offer subsidised rates when a consumer enters into an agreement with them. Do you think if Nokia follows the same trend in Pakistan, it could increase its market share substantially?
TG: “I don’t really think so because I am not sure if subsidising is the right way forward. You’d be surprised to know that operators in the West are giving indications that they won’t be subsidising any longer. While what we do in the Middle East is that we work with the telecom operators to spread the devices which helps much deeper device penetration in the local market.”
With the global meltdown still looming large, do you think Nokia as global leader needs to change gears to market the E72 in an emerging country like Pakistan?
TG: “Yes, we definitely need to change gears to target the corporate segment whereas the general consumer market is a bit different. For the corporate consumer, we need applications while making sure that we have lots of them available from third parties like Cisco, Alcatel and the local operator. By doing this, we can all go together in making sure that we have the right device for every consumer, be it corporate or general. Let me also underline the fact that the corporate customer is always cautious about the cost but still wants advanced value added services like E-mail for enhanced employee productivity and I believe that Nokia’s Eseries helps them to remain in touch through their E-mail and instant messaging.”
So, does that mean when you buy an Eseries device and you pay money, you save money?
TG: “Yes, very true. The way we are working as business professionals – three to four years ago I had E-mail on my mobile device but then again, it was not that convenient to check my E-mails on it – my laptop worked for me. Today, when I have the Nokia E71 and E72, I can check my E-mail as often and as easily as I want without being bothered about high costs. For example, as I flew from Dubai to Karachi, it took me around 45 minutes to go through the immigration and baggage process and those 45 minutes was the time when I checked my E-mails and responded to the urgent ones on my way to the hotel. So, before I reached my hotel room, I had done my E-mail and was free to enjoy dinner. In today’s world, people like to be more efficient – be it a business meeting or a meeting with a friend. We need to remain in constant touch and the Eseries device is tailor made for that.”
With the ease of use Nokia provides – is it the same with the E72 or other similar Eseries devices?
TG: “Yes, very much. Ease of use has always been Nokia’s priority and our devices are made keeping the consumer in mind. On the other hand, if our customers have any problems with their Nokia devices they can always call the Nokia Care Line in Pakistan at 11-11-NOKIA or visit our service center and our guys there would be glad to help our customers with any of their queries regarding their Nokia handsets.”
If my memory serves me right, the Nokia E71 was the most widely sold QWERTY device in the world. Do you think the E72 can match that success?
TG: “The E71 was a phenomenal success which made it the most widely sold QWERTY device in the world. Regarding the E72, the feedback that we have been getting is great and I believe that the E72 could well be on its way to creating records on the lines of the E71.”
Regarding the Nokia Ovi store, will it help users with their Eseries devices?
TG: “Yes. Very soon, our customers will be seeing loads of applications for their Eseries devices on the Ovi Store, which is our one-stop online shop for all application needs.”
With more than 10 million Eseries devices already sold, do you think you can achieve a better record, considering the global economic meltdown?
TG: “We have the Nokia E65 as the best seller and the E51, especially the non-camera version, was a roaring success in the Middle East and Pakistan. Though I don’t have the exact figures that I can give out, but with the introduction of the E72, we are in a great position to beat all past records.”