Nokia and W+K: The disconnect between developer marketing and outreach

I got this note in from Simon Maddox this morning. Simon is amongst Europe’s most respected iPhone and Android developers.

What’s interesting is that Simon isn’t one of those iFascists, who only have eyes for the traditionally ‘hot’ iOS/Android platforms. No. He’s been looking at the whole range of platforms out there, one of which is Nokia. The company is an obvious choice given the fact they’re seriously turning things round, particularly in the context of Qt (now working across MeeGo/Symbian) and the fact Ovi is witnessing decent, bankable traction.

We hear all the time about developer marketing/outreach programmes from almost every corner of the marketplace — and much of the time I have to hang my head with disappointment at some of the silly strategies I witness. Most of the time it’s good news though, especially in the context of RIM/BlackBerry and Nokia. I’ve seen some excellent results recently.

Alas, Simon’s not had a good experience at all. Have a read:

Hey Ewan

Nokia are doing a lot of “developer outreach” at the moment with Wieden+Kennedy. I’ve been thinking for a few months now that I’d give Ovi a proper try when I had the right app, and now I have it, so I’m particularly interested in what Nokia are doing right now.

So, Nokia held a [Mobile DeveloperFreelancers’ Christmas Party a couple of weeks at the Hospital Club in London. I went there armed with a list of high level questions that I’d come up with which would allow me to get started building this app.

The party was very nice, and it was a great afternoon. But nobody from Nokia showed up. The guys at W+K (and the mobile people they’d brought in to help, some of whom I know and respect) had no idea about the answers to my most basic questions, so from a work standpoint it was a wasted afternoon.

So, I got in touch with W+K directly, and asked if they could put me in touch with someone who could answer my questions. I got a very vague response explaining that they’ve got no developer knowledge or developer contacts at Nokia, but if I sent over some more details they could try and put me in touch.

W+K seem to be getting the word out to the right people, but there doesn’t appear to be any support from Nokia at all. What use is developer outreach if developers can’t ask any questions?

I’m here actively trying to get my questions answered – and they wonder why developers aren’t flocking to them…

Cheers,

Simon

Well this is not good at all.

I do hear about these kind of things all the time. Really good marketing, but rubbish actual ‘connectivity’ — so it’s great if you’d like a free drink, but rather frustrating if, like Simon, you actually want to get things done.

Just to be clear, this was a Freelance Mobile Developer Christmas party, held (ostensibly) by Nokia (check this site for the details about the event). You could only go along if you were a mobile developer.

And nobody from Nokia bothered to go along?

Nobody from W+K could be bothered to give anything but a muted, mumbled ‘er, dunno’ to real questions from a real developer seriously evaluating their platforms? Dear me.

As Thayer (who works with W+K on Nokia’s developer outreach) writes in her invitation:

Nokia are keen to extend their corporate cuddle to their Ovi devs – past, present and future! No carol singing required

At some point you actually need ‘Nokia’ to manifest itself as real, helpful humans.

I post Simon’s letter a) to chronicle the issue — Nokia are most certainly not the only company experiencing this kind of disconnect and b) to highlight specifically that Wieden+Kennedy and Nokia UK need to get their act together. They need to… communicate.

If I was blowing millions with W+K, I’d be seriously annoyed to learn of Simon’s experience.

Knowing how much Nokia value developer attention, one would expect W+K to have dropped everything until they managed to connect Simon to the right guy at Nokia HQ.

Really bad news.

Meanwhile Simon, I’ll connect you straight into the right people at Nokia. If you also went along to the funky Hospital Club hoping to meet someone, drop me a note and I’ll plug you in too.

[Update: Thanks to James Whatley on behalf of Nokia for getting in touch and connecting Simon]

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9 Responses to Nokia and W+K: The disconnect between developer marketing and outreach

  1. Patrick Smith December 20, 2010 at 1:53 pm #

    Ewan, I don’t know the situation here, but I’d guess that saying “Nobody from W+K could be bothered to give anything but a muted, mumbled ‘er, dunno’ to real questions from a real developer seriously evaluating their platforms?” is probably not fair to W+K – they really didn’t know.

    Now, you could argue that they should have consulted better with Nokia to tell them that holding an event like this, especially for freelance devs, should have some direct Nokia involvement and some ‘knowledge’ behind it – but if Nokia hasn’t given them the info, they can’t answer the questions.

  2. Ewan December 20, 2010 at 2:04 pm #

    Ah, I don’t have an issue with them not knowing the answers — I would have
    expected them to immediately refer Simon to the right person though, agree?

  3. Simon Maddox December 20, 2010 at 2:23 pm #

    Agreed – I’m not sure that’s entirely accurate. The team at W+K have done a great job getting developers listening. There just seems to be a disconnect between them and Nokia for anything remotely technical (like “You have 5 dev platforms. Which do I build my app with to get the most relevant reach?”).

  4. Niels Kjelstrup December 20, 2010 at 2:47 pm #

    forum.nokia.com are doing a GREAT job – you don’t have to attend a Christmas party to learn about Qt… Here in Denmark we have done several Qt hands-on workshops. Last one 80 developers attended (a lot of developers for a small country like Denmark) – Simon – have a look at: http://www.forum.nokia.com/Develop/Qt/ There is PLENTY of information to get you started.

    Best regards

    Niels Kjelstrup
    Nokia

  5. Ewan December 20, 2010 at 2:48 pm #

    Nice one Niels

  6. Niels Kjelstrup December 20, 2010 at 2:50 pm #

    PS – Focus on Qt, Qt Quick and HTML5. You should start of with this read + watch the video: http://conversations.nokia.com/2010/10/21/nokia-focuses-on-qt-to-extend-reach-for-developers-make-mobile-experience-richer-for-users/

    Br.

    Niels Kjelstrup
    Nokia

  7. Neil Christie December 20, 2010 at 3:43 pm #

    I’m the managing director of Wieden + Kennedy UK. Disappointed to hear of Simon’s problems. Will look into this and try to sort it out ASAP.

  8. Patrick Smith December 20, 2010 at 4:06 pm #

    Yes agree – although again on the caveat that they had been told who the right people were etc etc.

    I’m not trying to defend them per se, and to be honest, they shouldn’t have done an event like this for Nokia if Nokia wasn’t going to properly engage, but it can be a nightmare if the client leaves you in the dark.

  9. Ewan December 20, 2010 at 4:23 pm #

    Very good of you to take the time Neil!

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