Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Smarting from Smartphones


I was lately and very reluctantly involved with the marketing of the Samsung Galaxy S III, www.galaxy-s3.com, with the Samsung South Africa team. This meant crafting the message to reach out to 50.1 million potential customers in the country.
What I learnt very quickly through this exercise:
  • There will always be a vocal minority of early tech adopters that will shape the opinion of the masses. You need to cater to them. Via blogs, Twitter, G+, etc.
  • Smartphones and their features require a LOT of explaining. And then some.
  • No one really knows how to market smartphones well.
The "WTF?!?" moment arrived in the innocuous comment from a fellow colleague. He was a stalwart in the mobile industry with plenty of years under his belt. After surveying the heaving collection of print, billboard and online creative materials, he turned to me and said "So, how do people know it's a smartphone if you don't say it?"
A stunner of a comment. And indicative of the condition of tech we live in.
Do we need to state it's a smartphone? Do we need to create a laundry list of every conceivable device feature in the ad? Do we require more glittery beauty shots of sleek products in a magazine? Do we need to shove 'consumer benefits' down people's throats?
The truth is, I left the marketing world behind for several reasons. Marketing requires commitment and dedication. It demands a certain erudite sophistication. Marketing needs people who choose to take the time to explain. It calls for carefully considered messages based on the understanding of another. Marketing anything is an exquisite call to action. And I couldn't do all of the above.
I am still smarting from having to participate in a marketing campaign. But at least South Africa can now hear about the latest smartphone. And to my 'experienced' colleague, if I had to explain it, you wouldn't get it anyway.