Simona Panait, Director de Marketing Samsung România & Bulgaria
Forbes: What were the biggest changes (challenges) in your marketing strategy during the pandemic period (2020 - present)?
Simona Panait: The pandemic period, which unfortunately has not ended, forced us to adapt quickly, efficiently and embrace this "new normal" with the hope that it will be better.
At the micro level - at least from the perspective of the marketing man - the challenges were primarily linked to setting a suitable tone, adapted to local needs, the rapid speed of reaction in the context of both internal and especially external changes - but also relevance - asLet's have and give meaning in a completely atypical context.
At the macro level-and here we also close the entire Samsung brand-it was the record in a record time of the local communication strategy to the Pandemic context.A very good example is that we were providing and cautious, as a result Samsung was the first technology company that canceled a launch event in Romania, at the beginning of March 2020, as I put on the foreground the safety and health of the participants and employeesour.
Of course, these changes occurred quickly at the industry level and we all headed for events in the virtual environment because the safety of employees, partners and collaborators is the most important.However, more than that, Samsung used this formula to create new types of digital experiences.
For example, on the occasion of global or regional launch, we were able to participate, exclusively virtually, in a series of innovative events that provided an interactive experience in the Samsung product ecosystem, whether they used reality augmentation elements or even gaming platformsby which you could stimulate participants to interact with our products.
And locally, this year, on the occasion of the launch of the Galaxy S21 series in Romania, we organized an innovative online event, Experience New Worlds - proposing to participants an interactive platform, in which consumers could choose and experience, depending on the preferences, the wellness worlds, Gaming, content and sharing, while discovering the most interesting specifications of phones with the help of Samsung ambassadors.
Beyond the event area, another challenge was to continue to offer relevant content for our users, adapted to the new needs at that time - especially that it was a good time when we all stayed in the house, and the technology ofbecame our best friend.
A good example here of a brand and product campaign is the #Stayhome withgalaxy project-a campaign for a month on the Samsung channel, made with the help of Samsung ambassadors, through which we lined up for the passions and interests of Samsung fans on social media networks.And we created specific content for each of them, depending on their passions.An important component was that of educating the public in terms of their physical and mental health during this difficult period, helping them to develop their skills directly related to their favorite Indoor activities.
The campaign consisted of live streams with Team Galaxy members in the field of gaming, photography, lifestyle, business, productivity, etc.Through these interactive streams we highlighted the way technology can help people in these difficult and marked times.
The new normal for Samsung meant knowing how to adapt to any situation.I have relied on the fact that technology is and will continue to be an integral part of our lives, everyone and can help us in everyday life in everything we do.From connecting with loved ones, to an organized, simplified and relaxation or sports work program - Samsung has integrated new functions to support users - from productivity and interconnection, to entertainment and content viewing at a higher level.
But looking back, I think there were many things to learn during this period - so from any less pleasant period, we want to stay with teachings that form and guide us in the future.
Forbes: What are the most important changes you have found in the behavior of consumers in the sector in which you activate?
Simona Panait: In the last year I noticed that most consumers have adjusted their purchase behavior.This "new normal" has come to rebuild and redefine the way we work, we connect with our loved ones, we shop.Consumer's digital expectations and habits have changed irreversibly, so we set out to find out what consumers are waiting for a strong online presence, what are the channels they want to connect and how much they want personalized experiences..
Consumers have come to think more before making a purchase and weigh all the options, in the context of a lower predictability of the economy.Moreover, the way it has changed the shopping: according to Eurostat figures, 45% of the Internet users in Romania bought at least once online in 2020 (an increase of 16PP compared to 2019).
Also, from a IPSOS study conducted in 2020, it appears that the price, the fact that you should not move to the store, the ease of placing orders or the large variety of products is the main reasons why Romanians for online shopping has increased.
Also, the way they relate to the product has changed-it is no longer just about the best specifications, but it is about devices to improve their lives, to help them in the productivity area and to provide easy access toentertainment solutions, especially when it comes to video content consumption;And as Romanians have an increased appetite for entertainment consumption, a very good mix of products can offer both entertainment at the highest level and increased productivity.
The good news is that Samsung ticks out with excellence to the Ecosystem of Smart products, connected, innovative, which respond to each need by the availability of a varied range.
I also noticed an increase in the consumption of content of technology - the main reasons also represent the increased time in the house in the last year, which resulted in more time on the smartphone, laptop, TV, tablet, etc., as well as on the background of the behaviorMuch more thought of users, who analyze any important purchase decision well.
Moreover, the importance of digital platforms and digitization have spoken-especially in the e-commerce area, also supported by the social platforms of the brand.An interesting trend worth mentioning is "Visual Commerce" (no.
In order to respond to these changes in the behavior of consumers, Samsung consultants have benefited from special trainings, which have acquired new skills, adapted to current needs, folded on online and telephone consulting.
After the first months of the pandemic in which the effects were felt at the level of sales, I noticed a increasing trend for most business segments because consumers need devices to help them at this time, whether we are talking about schools and tablets for school and tablets.Work from Home, about Wearables for health and activity monitoring, home appliances that will ease their lives at home or TVs that can offer them the best experience of content during leisure.
Forbes: What role did the digital (online) play in the marketing plans of your brands during the pandemic period (2020 - present)?
Simona Panait: The digital has always been among the priority channels in the Samsung marketing strategy - I could say that it is a complementary channel.
Our communication strategy is made up of a channel mix;I kept this mix during the isolation period, as well as in the rest of 2020, because over time we obtained the best results working on all channels.Samsung has focused on digital communication in recent years, so adaptation to the current context, in terms of communication, has been relatively easy.
Digital/Social Media channels have allowed us and continue to maintain a high level of interaction with the community of consumers and Samsung fans.In recent months, I have noticed a faster and more personal communication with consumers in the digital environment, compared to an ordinary period, which can be explained by the fact that most people spend more time online than they did before.
We believe that we manage to provide consumers with a complete digital experience, to find any information would need on our site, social media channels or in the dedicated Loyalty application, Samsung Members, so as to make the decision to buy in question,Both from our online store and from partners.
In fact, we have optimized the purchase process so that users quickly find the information they need on both their own and partners.However, customers can come to see our products and physically, in stores.With their reopening, we have taken all the necessary safety measures to ensure that we offer the best and safe experience, both with the products and the Samsung staff.
Forbes: How do you define success in marketing, in the pandemic year 2020?(A local or international example would be very good.)
Simona Panait: Success in marketing I think is related primarily to relevance - to be a relevant brand for consumers, to know what needs and to meet them with products and services that make their lives easier and better.
For us, at Samsung, it is important to offer customers an excellent experience with our products, from the moment they make the purchase decision and until they need help, in case of use issues or possible repairs.
On the brand site, which is at the same time and online store, there is an option to talk to a consultant, and in your own physical stores the experience is equally satisfactory-any customer can have consulting and guidance.In Bucharest there are Samsung authorized services, and the repairs can last under an hour, the customer being able to recover his phone the same day, practically.During the emergency, I initiated a program to take over the phones with problems from the consumer's home, and will be sent back home after repair.We are honored by the confidence that our users give us and we do not want to deceive our expectations in any way.
As for other successful examples, I would mention a few local brands that have changed or adapted their strategies in the last year, not just marketing, to meet the needs of consumers: Kaufland and Glovo partnership (and the fact that they have delivered to people's shoppingelderly), eMAG, with his Genius service and the fact that they have greatly diversified their product categories.
An example of an international campaign that I really liked is "Open Like Never Before" from Coca-Cola, created as a result of the Lockdown period.The campaign encourages people to be open and appreciate what they can before.
Forbes: What do you think is the purpose (role) of the marketing man during the pandemic time?
Simona Panait: The extraordinary challenges have a way to inspire an extraordinary innovation and this is more valid in marketing.Their marketing brands and teams have answered these challenges with innovative solutions - both at the product level and at the level of new services - to meet these new needs and to support consumers.
Therefore, I believe that the role of the marketing man in the time of the pandemic is to find the most effective ways to reach the public of his brand and to communicate adapted to his needs.In pandemic, the needs of the people have changed, therefore the brands have adapted and changed both the communication strategy and possible functionalities of their products or services.
Of course, the pressure remains to anticipate how consumers' behavior will continue to change.Therefore, the responsibility of marketing people is to be foreseen, to remain connected and to closely monitor the needs of customers.
For Samsung, the consumer's voice - the fact that we listened, whether it is a feedback we receive in physical stores or social networks, our communities forums or online reviews - is the best way to understand what it needs and tothey act in order to satisfy them.
Marketing people must choose the ideal mix of digital channels to ensure the value of the brand and to keep or even increase the customer base, these being the objectives of the marketing activities and beyond.
The integration of all the available channels, as well as the personalization, respectively the coherence of the messages that reach the consumers are essential elements for the success of a brand.Etichete: Marketing, Samsung, Simona Panait, Top marketing 2020