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Marketing to the young (KOR)

Dec 05,2019
LEE SO-A
The author is an industry team reporter of the JoongAng Ilbo.

A teenager was demanding an iPhone at a department store as a reward for good grades. The mother asked why it had to be an iPhone, not a Samsung smartphone. The kid sassed her mother, saying Samsung phones are for adults.

Since when did Samsung smartphones become something for grown-ups and iPhones something for young people? Konkuk University Prof. Lee Seung-yun, author of “Think Like Google,” explains that Apple focused on design and software from the beginning and built a creative image for customers. If an Apple Store is a place for a casual visit for experiences, Samsung stores are popular among old people, as they are focused on providing explanations on technology.

When Gallup Korea asked this summer what smartphone brands people prefer, 49 percent of the respondents in their 20s chose Apple, while 43 percent chose Samsung. More than 70 percent of the respondents in their 40s and 50s preferred Samsung over Apple. And 40 percent of Kakao Bank users — who tend to be in their 20s and 30s — use iPhones.

Appealing to future generations is a factor that a business cannot ignore. For an IT company, appealing to “digital humankind” is a must. Samsung may be a global top seller now. But it will struggle if it cannot break out of its senior niche.

Fortunately, Samsung seems to be aware of its problem. For instance, Samsung’s corporate social activities focus on younger people by providing software education and start-up support for them. Samsung’s advertisements often feature young people who make their lives special with the smartphones it produces.

At a start-up support event last month, Samsung Electronics CEO Kim Hyun-suk said that digital gadget specifications can hit a limit, but customer experiences don’t.

If there is a success formula for innovation, it would be made up of a constant of advanced technology with variables of insight for future users and optimal satisfaction.