Letter: Samsung Experience Only Works on Someone Already Sold on Samsung

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I don't doubt that Samsung with its mighty spending power can spend to have lots of marketing research information ("Samsung's Branding Experience: the Unstore," Sept. 27). But where do the 69 percent of online shoppers browsing through bricks-and-mortar stores first come from? More importantly, did ANYONE question what type of shoppers they were or what type of shoppers online shoppers are?

For all of the online research and online shopping behavior -- and even the stress on behavioral marketing research -- no one seems to bring up the VALS2 research whereby consumers are segmented by socioeconomic values and behavior.

Are those 69 percent online shoppers representative of the general spectrum of all consumers? Or are they 69 percent of a particular type of consumer? Are the 69 percent shoppers ones who hunt for value, quality, price only? Do they have a long purchase-decision cycle? Do they do their research, ruminate, compare-contrast, build up value comparisons, etc.?

If the information is not accurate, then the store idea is based on false assumptions - never mind that the idea itself is brainless. Basic marketing 101 should tell companies that they cannot push an experience -- brand or otherwise -- on a consumer. Because if they push the wrong, unintended experience, that can be costly! What's the virtue of this store if no one can buy anything? What's the attraction?

First off, if I do my research offline and play with it -- say a digital camera -- I'm looking for a digital camera, not Samsung only. This idea works if someone is already sold on Samsung. Because if I want the branding experience, then I need to be able to compare Samsung to other brands -- and let Samsung come out on top. Otherwise, the whole "branding experience" is worthless if I'm not sold on Samsung itself.

I can't believe that people were hired and paid for this stupid idea when basic marketing common sense says it's a dumb idea.

Al Kao, DMI Partners, Boca Raton, FL


Editor's note: Samsung had nothing to do with the online study mentioned last week. It was conducted by the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future. Anyone interested in reading the 105-page report can go to www.digitalcenter.org/downloads/DigitalFutureReport-Year4-2004.pdf.

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