Creativity In Marketing Calls For ‘Full-Circle Experience,’ Says Samsung Techwin VP

Richard Simone, the company’s VP of marketing and sales, chatted with about marketing’s role in growing sales, the biggest challenge his company faces in digital, and his plans to bring more creativity to marketing.

Creativity In Marketing Calls For ‘Full-Circle Experience,’ Says Samsung Techwin VP

For Samsung Techwin, a manufacturer of surveillance devices, such as security kits, baby monitors, and IP cameras, growing topline sales is a big priority this year.

Richard Simone, the company’s VP of marketing and sales, chatted with about marketing’s role in growing those sales, the biggest challenge his company faces in digital, and how he plans to bring more creativity to marketing in the year ahead. Can you start off by telling me a little bit about yourself and your career?

Simone: Early on after college, I was accepted into an executive merchandise training program, pretty much where I progressed on the corporate side of the business for the first part of my career as a merchant. As a buyer, I was constantly involved in executing promotional and marketing strategies and activities that increased our foot traffic and really to grow topline revenue. I learned everything from building assortment plans to planograms, where we focused on a trade-up strategy for the customers, and this definitely helped with my transition to the manufacturing side of the business.

Retail experience made my transition pretty seamless. With my last organization, where I started in product marketing, I found myself meeting with more and more retailers where I eventually had a dual role, including sales. Again, because of my background, I understand what the needs of the retailers are, always try to speak their language. I really have a focus on POS and sell-through, but it’s important for us to understand what their KPIs are. I think that certainly helped me with the transition. As CMO, what is your mandate for the year?

Simone: The company has had tremendous growth over the last several years, but I still view this as a startup company. As the industry grows, there’s a lot of opportunity for us here. My key points will be to grow our topline sales. We do that by finding new channels of distribution, figuring out what the trade-up strategy should be by account. Typically, there’s a couple ways to grow the business: do more business with the existing customer base, which essentially means having more models on the floor within the trade-up strategy, and the other one is to grow our customer base.

That’s where we’ll start to look at new channels of distribution, maybe where we didn’t do business in the past for one reason or another. Maybe the price points weren’t right. Maybe the product wasn’t right. As we broaden our product selection, that’ll certainly open up new channels of distribution for us. Can you talk about who your target audience is and how you’ve traditionally marketed to them?

Simone: Typically everyone has a use or a need for the product, but the surveillance home customer is young families, definitely Millennials. They want the latest and greatest when it comes to technology. They’re very savvy shoppers. They do a lot of research. They really focus on reviews. They will shop around for the best deals. This group is also heavily engaged in mobility.

With this focus, we typically set our marketing efforts on social media: Facebook, Twitter, where we can have video content. In the past, we’ve done some digital banners. We participate in digital inserts with the retailers to help raise awareness, but as we grow our channels of distribution, we’d like to find ways that will benefit both us and the retailer to raise the awareness, as well as increasing foot traffic. What are your plans for the brand in 2016?

Simone: For us it’s all about innovation of the product. Obviously, Samsung is a very trusted and reliable brand with outstanding quality, which certainly fits in with the lifestyle of the consumers today. But for us, it’s important to maintain top-of-mind and trust with the consumer. On the retail floor, it’s important for us to be the go-to brand when it comes to innovation, features, and quality. We’re certainly not the opening price point, but we certainly want to be the go-to brand on the floor. What would you say is the biggest challenge that marketers face from a digital standpoint?

Richard Simone: I think it’s certainly an overabundance of product that’s found online; for example, IP cameras. If you were to type IP cameras into Google search, there’s a ton of products that come up. There are new brands entering the business every day. A lot of these don’t really have any kind of a value proposition. They typically focus on less features at very aggressive price points.

So the challenge is really how do you stand out with so much content available online? I’m a big fan of reviews, and that’ll certainly help, but at the initial stage of when customers just type in something online, there’s just an overabundance of product that comes up. In what ways will you bring creativity to your marketing?

Simone: For me, I think the effort has to be a full-circle experience. What I mean by that is really from the beginning when the research starts, right up to the sale. So once we reach the audience, whether it’s via great reviews, digital touchpoints, Facebook, Twitter, any other medium, then we get them into the store. OK, then what?

To me, at that point the marketing effort is only half done. In a self-service environment, such as a big-box store or a mass merchant, there isn’t really anyone there to close the sale. So the POP has to act as a silent salesperson. So, you know, again, it’s everything from raising the awareness, doing the educating, getting them into the store, and then actually making the sale.