Samsung Shows Complete Marketing Genius and Ignorance with Attack of the iPhone 5

by Marcus Sheridan

headphone jack on bottom samsung

“The Headphone Jack is going to be on the Bottom!!”

There is a good chance by now you’ve seen the new Samsung Galaxy S III commercial on TV. Frankly, it’s one of the best approaches I’ve seen to a manufacturer comparing their product’s features with a leading competitor—something I’ve talked about many times here on TSL and will continue to do so until brands and businesses realize how much “comparative shopping” is such an intricate part of today’s information-driven consumer.

The commercial is great because not only does it discuss Samsung’s distinguishing features to the iPhone, but it’s very funny, well done, and makes people at least have a second thought about waiting in line for 10 hours to purchase Apple’s latest toy. If you haven’t watched it, take a moment to view it here, as it’s a marketing masterpiece:

YouTube Preview Image

As I peddled away on my elliptical and watched this commercial for what seemed like the 10th time the other night, my marketing brain started to go in motion as I had a feeling that although the commercial was great, Samsung was likely missing the mark with the rest of their comparative-marketing approach.

Within minutes of going to the web, I realized my hunch was correct. Here’s why:

Ignoring the Way Consumers Search Online

I know I’ve been beating this horse lately but because the mistake is so prolific, I’m going to keep talking about it. Here is the thing:

The marketing campaign in discussion here revolves around one central consumer problem/question: What’s the difference between the Samsung Galaxy SIII and the iPhone 5?

Although there are many other derivatives of this phrase, it represents everything consumers want to know (and therefore search online) in order to decide which product is better.

And as these same consumers go to Google right now and type in the phrase “Samsung S III vs iPhone 5” (or a derivative), the Samsung website, and video, don’t even show up.

Nope, instead, articles and videos from just about everyone but Samsung and Apple show up in search results, which begs the question:

Why isn’t the Samsung YouTube commercial, or the Samsung website, showing up in search results?

The answer comes down to two factors, something that brands and businesses big and small screw-up all the time:

1. The title of the YouTube video is not optimized properly in terms of targeting the main consumer search phrase (Samsung vs. iPhone), with the title of the instead being: “The Next Big thing: Samsung Galaxy SIII” Understandably, this is the title of the campaign and therefore necessitates the phrase, but an even more effective title would have been: The Next Big Thing: Samsung Galaxy S III vs the iPhone 5.

Although the YouTube video is exceptional and the TV campaign has helped it go Viral, it should have included the phrase “Samsung vs iPhone” so as to target the core online consumer.

#2. The Comparative Education Stops with the Video

Let’s pretend for a second you’re a consumer and you’ve just watched the Samsung commercial. Because you thought it was awesome, the door is now open to the idea that you may choose the Samsung model over the new iPhone as your interest is obviously tweaked.

Excited to further see the differences between the two models, you land on the Samsung website and within seconds your frustration begins.



Because there are no comparisons. In other words, yes, the new Samsung phone is talked about in great length but there is no chart, graphic, etc. comparing it to the iPhone, much less any other brand for that matter.

As you can imagine, this makes no sense. What was a great marketing tool in the video (comparing two products) has now dissipated and given way to normal “marketing speak.”

To see how Samsung should have done this, just check out the Mashable article comparing the iPhone to other brands. Once again, because we live in the age of comparative shopping, Mashable’s article goes viral because it gives people exactly what they want.

Understand what consumers want to read, Mashable is a master at comparison-based articles.

This is Nothing New

What Samsung has done here is nothing new to big brands (and small ones too) in the digital/information age we all live in.

Although they’ve done a great job in helping their consumer base start to compare products, they’ve missed the mark on their company website and not continued to drive home their main point, which is the fact (according to Samsung) that their product has more features and benefits than the overpriced and overrated iPhone.

Right now, all over the world and in just about every industry you can think of consumers and buyers are comparing products, services, etc. Their goal is to see a clear delineation between whatever it is they’re are debating on. And in almost every case, the company that does the best job showing the differences and making it easy for a consumer to understand their benefits, will likely get the sale in most cases.

So that’s the challenge. Design your website and the rest of your digital copy in such a way that consumers can easily compare what you do or sell to everyone else. Show them the differences. Put it out there front and center. And most of all, give them what they want.

Your Turn

I think we can all agree that the Samsung commercial/video was exceptional, so I want to focus our efforts on the core of this article, which is the comparative consumer. Why do you think most websites fail to properly compare products and services? And why do we often do this with TV advertising but not with the rest of our digital marketing? Jump in folks, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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