“A leap of faith”: Samsung Australia’s journey to digital marketing maturity

Mick Armstrong / September 2019

Last year, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) segmented brands in Australia and New Zealand into four levels of digital marketing maturity: nascent, emerging, connected, and multi-moment. Here, Samsung Australia’s Head of Digital and Data Mick Armstrong details his company’s journey on the path to multi-moment maturity.

Over the last five years, Samsung has gone through a real business transformation in terms of digital, data, and platforms. We’re relatively young on the maturity curve, so our journey is a bit more challenging because we don’t always have access to the direct sales data that lives with our retail partners. What we’re trying to do is build out our automation technology and connect the dots between our data and capabilities — and that’s where Google comes in.

Google helps us lay down a pathway to developing a customer-centric approach via advanced analytics. We think about consumers in everything we do, so we’re looking to Google to take us to that higher level and help us achieve our business goals.

Taking a leap of faith

For large organisations like Samsung, digital transformation starts by taking a leap of faith. That means putting money into ad tech and digital infrastructure before you start to see ROI. You have to understand the complex systems architecture that naturally occurs over time in most large corporations, then educate a variety of marketers and internal stakeholders about why you’re transforming, what the opportunities are, and how it will change their scope of work on a day-to-day basis.

At Samsung, we took a major step and hired a new digital agency to help us build out end-to-end consumer experiences using data and increase our analytics capabilities. On top of that, we’re trying to get all of our marketers in the organisation to understand what those capabilities are. We found that as soon as you start digging, you’ll realise where the gaps are — and they probably aren’t where you thought they were.

Building an end-to-end consumer experience

Samsung is on a mission to move from being product-centric to customer-centric in our marketing efforts. Today’s mobile-first consumers are always on, but they aren’t necessarily raising their hands to say when they’re looking for a new smartphone, refrigerator, or washing machine. By understanding more about our consumers’ actions and interests through data, we can serve them relevant product information based on their preferences and needs.

But we can’t create engaging experiences without data. From the top down, Samsung is incredibly protective of data — we view it as a useful tool for interacting with consumers, and we’re very conscious of their rights. Consumer expectations are evolving when it comes to data and privacy, and we’ve moved to stay ahead of those expectations.

In the end, digital transformation means reducing the complexity of the landscape and using data to deliver privacy-forward personalisation at scale. By creating an end-to-end consumer experience across channels and platforms, we can more successfully engage consumers while respecting their privacy.

The key to digital transformation

Data on its own won’t boost sales. You need to focus on the insights the data is delivering, then simplify the amount of data you’re using to create a better overall experience. Samsung is always trying to understand the effects of marketing on sales — and that comes down to understanding the path to purchase and the touchpoints along the way. The trick is understanding consumers’ needs, applying that to how you use data, and ensuring there’s a differentiated messaging framework to reach unique audiences.

It’s easy to overcomplicate what you’re doing. Ask yourself what insight is going to help you deliver a change in consumer behaviour, then apply that to how you’re segmenting audiences. There’s no point in creating hundreds or thousands of audience segments if you’re not going to tailor your messaging to each of them.

Moving forward, Samsung is working toward unifying our data to achieve a single customer view. That means using machine learning to create more relevant, helpful consumer experiences while respecting user privacy at the same time. In our eyes, automation and personalisation need to work together — and acknowledging that is a crucial step in achieving multi-moment maturity.

The CMO of 2020: Navigating the journey towards digital marketing maturity in Australia and New Zealand