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Social-Savvy Marketer Part of Samsung's Success


"Competent marketers react to social. Smart marketers are directed by it," according to this Samsung executive.

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL With all due respect to Apple (AAPL), which is dominating the news today with the unveiling of its new iPhone, I think the more interesting story is related to Samsung (SSNLF). Even though the worldwide mobile phone market declined 1.9% year-on-year, Samsung maintained its lead over Nokia (NOK) and Apple as the world's top mobile phone vendor. I wrote about this last week. (See In Declining Mobile Phone Market, Samsung Maintains Lead in Sales.)

Part of Samsung's continued success appears to be related to a change in marketing led by a long-time Research In Motion (RIMM) executive, Brian Wallace.

In his 11 years with RIM, Wallace was responsible for building a sizable audience for the company on Facebook and Twitter, according to Adage. When he was still at RIM, Wallace was quoted in DM News as saying, "Competent marketers react to social. Smart marketers are directed by it."

When he defected to Samsung a year ago, he brought with him this philosophy of using social media to direct marketing rather than "simply reacting to what the customer is saying."

Most notably, he "lifted" conversations that people were having about the Samsung brand in social media and incorporated those into the advertising. The result was the Samsung Galaxy S II (The Next Big Thing) commercial. The spot poked fun at both Samsung and the mobile industry and was extremely popular. "It rang true because it was true," said Wallace, according to

That commercial in turn became its own topic in social media. "What Apple did to Microsoft before in Mac vs. PC, Samsung is doing it to Apple now," said one commenter said about the commercial, which was posted on YouTube.

Wallace followed the first commercial with another, which reflected themes back to the target audience that they were already talking about. According to, Samsung is currently growing by a million followers every week on Facebook (FB), and it is close to being in the top 10 brand list on the site.

People active in social media apparently enjoy seeing their own opinions and concerns reflected back to them by the brands they use to access those platforms. Before Wallace started at Samsung, "preference" for the brand was flat at 17%. Today the mobile phone company's preference is 34% and growing, said
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