After the global PR disaster of the failed Samsung Note 7, Samsung Electronics NZ'S marketing team wanted to make sure it could communicate directly with customers, and not rely on third-party retailers.
At the end of 2016, Samsung had a significant market share in New Zealand mobile with more than 1.6 million people choosing Samsung devices, but the direct relationship with customers was low. Samsung’s marketing team had been talking about the importance of datadriven marketing for years, but the reality was the culture was driven by the allpowerful sales category and relationships with telcos and major retailers. Marketing as a function was secondary. As the customer experience for mobile tends to be held with retailers and telcos, making direct contact with customers was extremely difficult. With the majority of Kiwis making a purchase of whiteware or televisions through retailers such as Noel Leeming, the lack of contact with customers extended across Samsung’s entire product range. Without its own loyalty programme, Samsung was always vulnerable to sales campaigns featuring rival products from retailers who controlled the customer relationship. Samsung’s research validated the obvious, that consumers were emotionally engaged with their device’s brand, but not the retailer. To reduce its vulnerability to agnostic retail competition, Samsung needed to find a way to gain a direct relationship with customers without upsetting retailers.
After the major setback with the failed Note 7 in late 2016, 2017 saw Samsung undergoing a massive reputation and financial recovery phase and emphasis was placed on realigning strategic priorities to rebuild brand trust; strengthen brand appeal; and drive incremental sales across Samsung categories. With Samsung’s diverse range of apps, its customer support centre, warranty registrations and sources of transactional data, the idea was posed that customer data could be collected through these touchpoints.
As a result of this programme, the team has provided the business with empirical evidence of the power of data. The impact on the culture of Samsung is far reaching. For the first time, the intelligence that is held by owning its own data has been demonstrated powerfully and the New Zealand subsidiary is leading the way in Samsung’s SEA region. Culturally, the product sales teams are now acknowledging the recent marketing successes, resulting in an increase in the marketing team’s internal reputation and influence. Externally the business pain point has mitigated now Samsung is able to engage with the majority of its customers at a one-to-one level. The team has constructed a programme that has enabled a multi-segment targeting and messaging capability.