Annika Bizon is Marketing and Omnichannel Director for Samsung UK and Ireland. We caught up with Annika to find out more about her role, which heads up a newly-combined marketing and omnichannel function, and the benefits this combination has brought. She also discusses how to create a truly great customer experience, and how Samsung meets customer expectations in an increasingly competitive market.

Tell me about your role… what does a typical day look like for you?

In my role as Marketing and Omnichannel Director, my team and I spend a lot of time talking to and about our customers, finding out their behaviours, purchase drivers and shopping habits. Through focus groups, consumer research and sales data, my team and I are able to analyse and understand who our customers are and what they need from us, which is crucial to the business.

The customer is at the heart of everything we do, and the consistency of this journey is a key part of my day-to-day role. Recent years have demonstrated that change is the only constant in life, and business leaders must be prepared to deal with it; by being agile in their planning, even more so in the current economic environment.

We are intentional in adapting and catering to our customers’ evolving wants and needs, from the way we communicate with them in our channels and retail spaces, right through to our marketing. Through our partnerships, such as Disney+, our growing ecosystem of wearables, hearables, or our larger devices such as TVs and fridges, we are continuing to expand our Samsung ecosystem to ensure seamless integration with customers’ lives.

Samsung has now united its marketing and omnichannel teams into one function (which you head up). Why? What is the over-arching aim and benefits?

It all comes down to the customer journey. Our mission is to ensure that at every interaction along that path – be it virtual or in-person – we provide a great experience that is rooted in seamless communication and a consistent tone of voice that is true to what Samsung stands for.

To achieve that, I combined our Marketing and Omnichannel functions – because, for a seamless experience, you need a seamless team. Now the benefits are clear. With every product launch, our goal is to reach the next level in performance, and our unified marketing channels and campaigns are achieving just that – by delivering best-in-class activity across all touchpoints including online retail, call centres and marketing. This allows us to be responsive in a rapidly changing marketplace.

It is also crucial to start the consumer journey with the customer, not the product. Central to this is always thinking about new ways to talk to consumers and the most important element of this is making sure we are authentic in how we do that. As a team, by uniting our marketing and omnichannel teams into one function, we have been able to do just that, placing the consumer right at the centre of all our conversations.

Have you come up against any big challenges?

The biggest challenge is always that search for inspiration. To find new ways to engage with consumers and clearly show the advantage of new devices through the power of marketing and omnichannel. That’s especially hard as consumer demands are constantly changing – and because through the pandemic, it’s not always been clear exactly where to meet customers where they are. Behaviours have been shaped and shifted from one week to the next by public health considerations and regulations, so part of the challenge has been remaining nimble to ensure our activities are relevant and incisive.

We can never rest on our laurels but as marketers, that’s what drives us; we’re always trying to be one step ahead of the curve. You must create enough touchpoints with consumers so they can understand how tech continues to be transformational, personal and empowering. Otherwise, you will simply get lost in the crowd.

What is your biggest focus for the year ahead in terms of digital/ecommerce?

Our marketing strategy involves being hot off the mark with fast start moments for launches: takeovers across YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, BVOD (broadcast video-on-demand), high-impact display formats and many more placements to make Samsung unmissable. Our chosen channels are carefully selected to reach our target demographics – tech connoisseurs who want their tech to optimise their lives and social expressers who demand the very best from their tech to share and showcase their lives.

We will continue to listen to our customers and innovate, analysing the digital media and the mediums they consume to ensure we are where our customers are…

That’s why this year, my team and I are working on a first-of-its-kind move for the brand: a 12-month influencer and ambassador programme aimed at turbo-charging our omnichannel marketing approach and driving awareness and engagement with customers to bring the world of foldables to life. Working with some of Britain’s most influential figures, our campaign introduces new audiences to these two distinctive mobile experiences in a personalised voice. Seeing Flip and Fold in real-life use cases through our ambassadors will help demonstrate the “why” behind the foldables, and normalise them, demonstrating the benefits of switching from competitors.

In addition to our influencer programme, broadcaster, author, and founder of Happy Place, Fearne Cotton and professional Premier League footballer Raheem Sterling MBE have joined as 12-month ambassadors for the brand. The inspiring partnerships will see both Fearne and Raheem hero the latest devices in Samsung’s foldables range and bring to life how Samsung’s futuristic and innovative technology and ecosystem can help people fulfil their passions. I feel confident that we have truly flipped our marketing approach to match the ambition and disruptive spirit of our devices – creating something I feel our teams should be truly proud of.

What makes a great CX in your opinion?

The one-size-fits-all way of marketing of the past has gone. Now it’s about segmenting your audience, understanding what they’re using their devices for, and how they want to communicate. It’s about understanding that consumers are individuals, which is why it’s important to me that across all our marketing activity, we ensure we have embedded DE&I (Diversity, Equality & Inclusion) throughout. Our products are for everyone, so therefore we must ensure we are talking to everyone in relevant ways.

It’s incredibly important that we understand all of the different touchpoints that people transact with. We know that the average consumer has 12 to 15 different touchpoints before they make a purchase decision – at a minimum. It’s vital that our customers see consistency and an optimum experience across everything we do.

To make a great CX you need meticulous touchpoint planning so that we delight customers in a truly personalised and authentic way throughout their digital journey. The role social media plays in this is incredibly important. That sits alongside personalising journeys, because it’s important that people feel you’re talking to them, you’re not just talking to everybody. Our customer services teams are built on the commitment that a Samsung experience doesn’t end when the purchase of a device has been completed, and the journey carries on with post-purchase support and advice that is responsive, comprehensive, and friendly.

We know that the average consumer has 12 to 15 different touchpoints before they make a purchase decision – at a minimum. … To make a great CX you need meticulous touchpoint planning”

How is Samsung meeting customer expectations in an increasingly competitive industry?

With every device launch, we strive to reach the next level in performance, finding new ways to engage with our customers. Our marketing campaigns are no different, pushing the boundaries and creating engaging experiences for our customers. With the retail landscape rapidly evolving, and customers’ needs ever changing, this means our brand ethos ‘Do What You Can’t’ is paramount.

Offering unparalleled customer experiences and an ecosystem that works in harmony to enable a 24/7 lifestyle sets Samsung apart. We’ve reimagined our customer experience to put it at the centre of everything we do. This focus alongside our ecosystem which connects seamlessly between devices sets us apart.

I believe our ecosystem plays a pivotal role in our customer experiences and the loyalty that we truly believe in. With one in three customers now owning more than one Samsung device, we are focused on providing customers with the experiences that matters most to them and showcasing this through our marketing activity. A key opportunity is to leverage the power of our product ecosystem and partnerships to give consumers unparalleled value and experiences.

What’s next? Biggest aim/ambition for the next 12 months?

Over the next 12 months, I’m excited to see us grow together and truly understand our customer base. In turn, this will direct us in how we speak to our customers – whether that be through our marketing or in our call centres.

Communication, no matter what part of the journey, should be more personalised, and brands need to be understanding of their audience base, but not assuming. Our mission is to delight, engage and convert customers, wherever they are and to give them new experiences.