Samsung shotgun

Today’s example of online marketing waste, which probably went awry someplace in the 4% of process (see Focus on the Four in our featured article section), comes from Samsung in the form of a promotion for their new Blackjack II cellular phone, which is available to subscribers of AT&T’s wireless network.

A couple of reasons why it’s a good thing I received this promotion:

  1. I’m an AT&T customer, meaning no worries about porting my number over or breaking contracts.
  2. I used the Blackjack in the past, and Samsung knows that because I registered the phone and my email address with them.
  3. I liked my Blackjack phone, although there’s no way for Samsung to know this subjective piece of information.

Now, a couple of reasons why it’s not a good thing I received this promotion.

  1. I’m an AT&T customer, but am currently tied to a contract with my iPhone.
  2. I used the Blackjack, but my usage of AT&T’s services has gone up substantially since I switched to the iPhone.
  3. I love my iPhone and AT&T probably can divine that by looking at my usage pattern with iPhone vs Blackjack.
  4. AT&T and Samsung could have avoided reaching out to me by just thinking for a minute or two.

Something’s clearly not in sync between Samsung and AT&T Wireless. The Samsung promotion leads to a very nice landing page and the “buy now” link took me right to a page where I could see the offer to upgrade to the Blackjack II. A simple login to my AT&T account, however, reveals the problems that I’m not eligible for an upgrade, etc. etc.

So what would I suggest Samsung do differently in the future?

  • Segment. I’m sure Samsung did do a whole series of tests with different headlines, offers, creative and the usual to different target audiences. However, it looks as if they forgot to consider who absolutely wouldn’t buy the product. My usage and purchase history of handsets for use with AT&T makes it pretty clear that while I’m possibly in the market for the next generation iPhone, I’m not going to go to the Blackjack, at least not now.
  • Share data with your partner. Clearly, AT&T and affiliates sell a lot of Samsung product. I’m sure they’ve got a close relationship and one that should be able to–once you get your lawyers comfortable that you’re on the up-and-up–allow them to merge the email address at a third party. And, at the very least, drop the email addresses of individuals that are not likely to respond, leaving only a small portion of names in as a test to confirm the hypothesis.

Your takeaway: As one of your up front questions when developing campaigns, ask yourself the simple question “who absolutely won’t buy my product” and make sure you avoid marketing to them. And then to a clean test to confirm your hypothesis. Then either bank the improved ROI or (my preference) invest it into more big, needle-moving tests.

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