Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Samsung Advertising: big budgets really do pay off

A recent article has proven to me (once again) that Samsung has officially taken over the smartphone market. - and maybe a little too much. Over the past year or two - primarily last year - Samsung has been everywhere. They've been pushing their flagship devices so much that it seemed like every commercial break, billboard, retail store and mobile network was shoving the Galaxy & Note phones down our throats. It's definitely safe to say that all those ads, all the marketing, all the sales pushes have been a complete success.

Samsung is now the number one smartphone manufacturer in the world. They've recently broke the record for the fastest a smartphone has ever sold (yes, even more than the iPhone), and other manufacturers are crumbling at the quake of new mobile giant. Recently, HTC has made news that they're falling apart, and if something doesn't happen soon, they could be gone for good. This is pretty much an almost direct result of the power of Samsung's advertising and marketing budget (along with other internal changes and possible flops in features by HTC).

Last year, Samsung spent over $4.3 billion on advertising alone, plus another $5.3 billion on sales and promotional marketing. To give you an idea of how much that is compared to "normal" ad spending, below is a graph of some of the top brands in the United States, and their ad spending from the past few years. That's right, Samsung spent significantly more than Apple, Microsoft and even Coca Cola.

The success of Samsung over the past year is definitely not a result of the quality of their devices. When compared to the build quality and design of HTC, Sony or Apple - Samsung looks like some cheap toy you buy at the clearance section of Walmart. The Gorilla Glass is usually Samsung's strongest material, but it's surrounded by awkward bezels, cheap plastic and an overall poor build. Not to mention, Samsung's "TouchWiz" user interface is possibly one of the ugliest ones around (there really never was an era where that interface looked good). However, some of the small features that Samsung adds (like the ones in the new Galaxy S4 commercial below), are pretty handy. As a Samsung Galaxy S3 owner myself, I can say that the extra features hidden within the settings are nice, and the performance is out-of-this-world, but man would I love to see some better design and better materials in Samsung devices.

That being said, big advertising budgets really do pay off. When you flood the market...or...the world in Samsung's case, you really do come out on top. The big question now - can Samsung maintain this place as 'Top Dog', without having to spend almost $10 billion a year to promote their products?


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