How Marketing Is Winning the Smartphone War

4 years ago by in Featured Articles, Marketing Tagged: , , , ,

Let me say upfront: I have been a loyal Apple customer since 2006. That was the year I bought my first iMac and ever since, Apple has made pretty much every piece of computing technology I’ve owned. That includes home computers, laptops, mobile devices, phones and streaming devices like the Apple TV – I own four of those.

As such, I’ve invested in iTunes music, movies and books. I knew in Apple’s closed content world, I’d be stuck using their stuff. But it was easy, ahead of its time and it worked for my family and I. In some ways, it still does. But this Apple loyalist is seriously considering dumping his iPhone (the 5th version I’ve had – every single model they’ve had sans the iPhone 4S) for the new Samsung Galaxy S4 or maybe the HTC One. The reasons are many, and I’ll touch on those and why I believe Apple continues to ignore its loyal customers, and why I believe their savvy Android competitors are out marketing them.

First my gripe: I am tired of Apple’s seemingly unresponsive nature to their iPhone users. The latest iOS update, 6.1.3, has vastly reduced my battery life to the point I’m ready to throw the thing through the window. The iPhone 5 I roll with was an improvement over my iPhone 4, but Apple’s iOS seems to be buggy and flawed. With the premium I pay for the phone and the service, it’s just not worth it. This update issue with the battery is what I believe to be my final straw. The web is abuzz with other iPhone 5 owners having the same issue, yet Apple says nothing, does nothing and that’s eroded my confidence in them.

I tried Android once when I purchased an HTC Droid Incredible to play with. I was not impressed with the version of Android it sported (almost 2 years ago) and I quickly tired of it and was happy with my iPhone. But now, Android Jelly Bean has started to turn my head. That, along with the announcements of the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One, has me thinking its time to switch.

As I started exploring these two phones, I realized what an amazing job Samsung is doing marketing their smartphones. Their lawsuit with Apple, coupled with their form function and design, is capturing the market. Not only that, I believe Samsung is hitting on all cylinders when it comes to marketing their smartphones.

Exhibit 1: The Galaxy S4 microsite.

Notice the positioning of this new smartphone. The Galaxy S4 isn’t a phone, it’s not a device, it’s not a convenience – it’s a “life companion.” Now, maybe I’m drinking the Kool-Aid, but that is subtle brilliance in my mind. Samsung, even more than Apple, understands how these pieces of technology are weaving themselves into our lives. They’re personal windows on our lives and they’re now our communications device, our camera, our picture album and our life recording device.

Meanwhile, head to the iPhone section of Apple’s website and you get: “Loving it is easy. That’s why so many people do.


Apple continues to sell the iPhone as a device. They position it very differently than Samsung: to Apple, the iPhone is a piece of cool technology with lots of features and new gadgets. Many Apple “fan boys” will buy their products no matter what, their marketing seems arrogant and dated. While Apple’s marketing of the iPhone does include life moments and things about your life, it’s hollow at best. Apple is the market leader and they’re showing a lack of understanding – at least in their marketing – that these devices aren’t just tech anymore.

Instead of telling me the type of processor, the tech specs of the camera and the construction of the device, Samsung intelligently focus on the user and how the phone can be used to enhance their lives.

On the Samsung S4 site, you see four main areas they use to sell the phone: Fun, Relationship, Life Task and Life Care. Say what? You mean you’re talking to me like an everyday human? You’re showing me how this phone integrates into my life and adds value to it? Again, smart marketing.

Yes, the Apple iPhone has great apps to help your relationships grow stronger. It has apps to help you organize your life and to help keep you healthy. But Apple doesn’t market that. They market Apple and the device without really showing you how it integrates into your every day, in my opinion.

Samsung gets what Apple doesn’t – everyday Americans, even those who are early technology adopters, don’t talk like a Silicon Valley engineer.

Apple will continue to sell millions of iPhones. But I believe Samsung has started to really change the game. At least for me, I’m really thinking about defecting from an iOS device as my smartphone platform. That doesn’t mean I’ll be getting rid of all of my Apple products, but my phone may just be in play.

What do you think of Samsung’s job marketing vs. Apple?



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One Response to “How Marketing Is Winning the Smartphone War”

Jo Smith
April 11, 2013

I have a Motorola Razr and love it – however, I am coveting the S4.

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