Interview With Kris Narayanan, VP Digital Marketing At Samsung

Ready good interview by eMarketer’s Kimberly Maul of Kris Narayanan, vice president of digital marketing at Samsung. Narayanan oversees Samsung’s paid, earned and owned social media programs and had some interesting comments on how the consumer electronics giant uses social media, how social media ads have performed so far and what trends he sees in the marketplace.

eMarketer: What does Samsung focus on with the paid, owned and earned aspects of its social media program?

Kris Narayanan: For paid social media, the focus is roughly the same as is in regular media—it’s about driving effectiveness and it’s about enhancing our learning. For owned media, which extends well beyond social networks, it’s about driving the best content and news to our consumers and to our fans on a timely and relevant basis. And for earned media, it’s about conversations and listening.

eMarketer: When it comes to social media budgets, do you see an increase compared to last year?

Narayanan: The simple answer is yes. Over the past three years, we’ve seen consistent increases in our ad spend and overall marketing spend with regard to social media. I expect that to continue.

We have traditionally spent a lot of money on owned media trying to drive conversations and better listening. The paid side commenced this year, but we’ll be more aggressive in growing that next year. We’ve tried to grow our social base quite organically in the past couple of years and we’ll complement that with paid media in the next couple of years.

eMarketer: How well are the Facebook ads performing?

Narayanan: They’re performing well, but our ability to track and measure needs to improve. That’s really where the advances are happening, both in the tool sets that Facebook is making available and in the ability of companies like us and third parties that are acting as experts on Facebook advertising. Facebook built basic capabilities that are now getting more and more enhanced to be able to measure and target and segment and so on. That is going to drive ad performance a lot better in the coming months.

eMarketer: What are some social media best practices for consumer electronics companies?

Narayanan: One best practice is to leverage social media from a listening standpoint to drive the better products. For example, we learned from our social media that consumers were using our Blu-ray players as the hub for internet connections in their living rooms. That allowed us to amplify the messaging of that attribute of our Blu-ray players as well as enhance the lineup of Blu-ray players that have a connected feature.

Also, prelaunch marketing and launch time marketing are huge areas. Technology is such a buzzed-about category. Consumers are constantly asking, “What’s the latest? Should I buy this one now or wait for the next product?” Social media can be a huge engagement driver for people who are truly interested in the latest and greatest technologies and brands like Samsung that are constantly pushing the edge of technology.

eMarketer: Looking ahead to 2012, what trends are you seeing?

Narayanan: Google+ is truly exciting to me as a consumer. It offers the opportunity for me to manage my circles and my different social connections on a much more segmented basis.

As a brand, however, it’s not quite clear how Google+ will evolve. But we’re very excited because Google+ offers the possibility of combining the social graph and the interest graph. We can’t wait to get started.


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