The global consumer electronics company Samsung currently has a campaign running on Forbes.com which caught our eye at Mequoda. The animated rectangle advertisement on the top of the magazine’s homepage rotates through several products, each with its own landing page. We’ve selected the SyncMaster 710mp LCD product landing page for scrutiny. This review reveals how lack of marketing focus can hinder campaign goals.
This particular ad/landing page combo is for a high-end TFT LCD three-in-one monitor targeted at the home consumer market. The pitch focuses on style, quality and a reduced price point. The goals of the campaign are unclear—as the page focus vacillates between getting an email sign up, linking to more product information and additional links to well-known online retailers where the product can be purchased directly.
Samsung is not a retailer and more of their advertising experience follows a brand marketing rather than direct advertising model. This background is obvious in the confused objectives and muddily-executed landing page for this campaign. An attractive design and interesting story are wasted on a campaign that is unsure of its goals. Since the landing page asks the visitor for an email address, we assume the main goal for this campaign is to build an email marketing database. This page falls short on many of the landing page criteria designed to clarify each aspect of how to achieve that goal.
The headline focuses on price point, even though there is no direct purchase option.
The image animation takes the viewer’s eye away from the product.
Out of the nine links on the page, only one of them actually fulfills the email signup order flow.
There is no sense of urgency, the visitor has no reason to take any action at all.
Link design makes it easy for the user to leave the page without signing up.
The Samsung SyncMaster 710MP’s Landing Page Scorecard
1. Headline (Strategic Intent) – C
Samsung’s headline focuses on the low price, even though there is no way to purchase the product from this page. The headline does extol a benefit, but it doesn’t help attain marketing goals as the visitor is then left wondering what to do about it.
Here is the user experience:
1, The user clicked to this landing page via an animated button:
The first headline: Spend more time in the Kitchen. Then the image changes from a rolling pin to a picture of a cool LCD screen: The Samsung 710MP LCD. Now $279.
2. The landing page headline reads:
Enjoy a four star viewing experience at an affordable price. The Samsung 17″ 710MP LCD. Now only $279.
Samsung created this campaign to get email marketing permission to people interested in LCD monitors. When I read the headline and look at the page, I assume that I can buy the item directly, or that I will be given some direction about how to buy it at a special price. This is not the case.
If strategic intent of the page is to get an email address, then the message should connect the email collection form to the LCD monitor being advertised. The headline and the intent of the page don’t match up. The email sign-up form doesn’t even mention the product. Am I here to get a deal on a specific monitor, or to sign up for generic Samsung product emails?
Not only is the headline not aligned with the page’s goal, but it has been placed over to the right side of the page (English readers look left first) in a small-ish font, and even with animation it doesn’t stand out. Conclusion: A headline that is easy-to-miss, and offers a benefit that is not connected to the strategic intent of the landing page.
2. Story and Content – C
Samsung is marketing this product to the high-end home user. The story is that I can have technology that combines things that I want into a smaller, better, less expensive package—without cluttering up the fantastic marble countertop in my designer kitchen. The main image on the page is a beautiful kitchen, followed by this first line of copy:
“Whether you are in the kitchen, office or dorm room, the Samsung SyncMaster 710MP always gets things cooking. For only $279 you can enjoy a 17″ TFT-LCD display that offers three-in-one functionality enabling you to use it as a computer, TV and video monitor.”
Not a bad story. Many consumers wonder why they would need a three-in-one LCD monitor, so putting the product in an everyday context is a good strategy. The style of the writing is right on target, combing a casual, consumer magazine writing style with just enough tech buzz words thrown in to impress. And with the popularity of cooking shows, and the plethora of recipes available online, a computer/video screen in the kitchen is a luxury worth having.
Good story, but again, they missed the goal of the campaign. The short copy in no way encourages the user to take the action the page was designed to encourage. My complaint is the same as with the headline—the story is not aligned with the strategic intent of the page. I read the copy and instead of filling in an email form, I just click on one of the product links and find myself lost on Samsung’s site. Samsung is not a direct retailer, so driving consumers to their site is just throwing away their advertising dollars.
3. Content Webification – C
Good webification will enhance the story, help the audience visualize the product or build a relationship. It should be used for strategic objectives, not for the entertainment of the production crew.
In this case, Samsung got it half right. By spending production time on creating an animated image they could have built on the visual and experiential aspect of the product. But then they made a completely irrational decision.
Imagine you’re Samsung, you’re pitching your LCD screen with a high-quality resolution and illustrating how useful it is to have in a kitchen. You’ve got a beautiful product shot in a kitchen environment to tell the story. What do you think you should ask the designers to animate in the photograph?
1. The image on the LCD monitor
2. The microwave oven light
3. The gas flame under the teapot on the stove
4. Steam from the teapot
Samsung, for some unbeknownst reason, chose everything (microwave, gas flame, steam) except the obvious choice—the product. Animating the LCD screen would bring the actual experience of the product right into the pitch. Watching the chef pictured on the monitor actually cutting the vegetables would add punch to the page and a good visual shortcut to experiencing the value of the product.
4. Email Capture (Relationship Building) – C
This whole page should be about the email capture. Once again, Samsung almost got it right. They placed the email capture form above the fold, it’s easy to see and short (only four fields). Where they fall down is in not offering me a reason to give them my email address. The consumer needs a quid pro quo. All they tell me is that I’ll get news about Samsung products and services. Seriously kids, as an email-overloaded consumer, I need more than that. Are you going to give me discounts? Are you going to tell me about a new monitor before anyone else, so that I can get it first? Are you going to do anything for me in return for my personal information?
5. User Testimonials – F
Why do I want a three-in-one LCD monitor in my kitchen? The price might be lower than before, but at $279 it’s nothing to sniff at. I need a little convincing. Let me see someone like me who’s glad that they bought the thing, someone who uses it, someone who’s life has been improved by having it.
No luck. There are no user testimonials. I guess I’m just going to have to take Samsung’s word for it that a monitor in my kitchen is a useful thing to have.
6. Links to Order Flow – D
User stream of consciousness: ‘Hmmm—I’m stumped. Where am I supposed to click? Oh—OK, the product name… “SyncMaster 710mp” written in the copy is blue—I guess that’s a link. But wait—that takes me to the Samsung site—that’s not what I want to do, is it? I think I want to fill in that email form over on the right side, don’t I? Huh, what a tiny little grey arrow here—is that greyed out on purpose? This “Submit” word must be clickable—although it’s small and grey and not a button or anything… and then there’s this “buy from online retailers” sentence at the bottom of the page in blue—oh—that’s not a link after all—but the retailer’s names are greyed out—doesn’t grey mean that I shouldn’t click there? I’m confused… .’
Get the picture? Don’t confuse the user. The order flow on this page is the email capture. It is diluted by the other options and linked text, and visually handicapped by the grey color and small font of the word “submit.” This is not a well executed order flow.
7. Labeling and Language – A
Like a good magazine article, the friendly tone of the copy talks directly to me, without talking down. The splattering of technical terms like TFT-LCD, Dolby and BSE give me confidence and will speak to the audience that lives for tech terminology bragging rights.
8. Readability and Content Density – B
An attractive page with a good layout. The large attractive image is balanced by the text block and the email form, and is easy on the eye. The short copy doesn’t require a lot of handling. Points are taken off for readability, however, as the main text is grey on a grey background. With such a small font and low contrast, I can’t help feeling that they don’t actually want me to read it.
9. Content Freshness and Urgency – F
I have no idea when this product came out, is it new? Maybe it’s been out for a while and the lowered price is new? I am given no time indicators, and absolutely no urgency about doing anything immediately. Well, I guess I’ll just come back and give them my email address another day.
10. Load Time – C
The Samsung SyncMaster landing page loaded in 36 seconds on a 56K modem. More than half a minute is too long to ask the user to wait to see your ad.
11. Aesthetics – B
The aesthetics of this Samsung landing page match the audience well. We’ve got a high-end product being sold with an attractive photo (and making a picture of a flat screen monitor on a kitchen counter attractive is not an easy assignment). The color scheme is serious, the audience will feel at home and have confidence in the message.
My only gripe—and it’s a big one—is that my eye is drawn to the wrong object. Every time I look at the page, I find myself drawn into the sharp focus on the teapot image in the center of the photograph, with the light glinting off the sides, and the elegant black arch of the handle… hmmm, maybe I need a new teapot?
Oops. I should be describing the product being sold—the Samsung SynchMaster 710MP Monitor—when describing this photograph. I guess the designer was thinking about her next cup of tea while working on this project.
12. Order Options – D
As I mentioned in #6, links to order flow, we’re not going to see high marks here. There are too many options. I can just see the marketing team arguing over what they wanted most from a visitor to this page:
– Give us email marketing permission and build our database.
– Buy this product from a partner/retailer
– Get more details about this product
The page is like a marsh with too many outlets. There are four links (including the image) to the Samsung product page, four links to online retailers and a single link for the email capture.
I’ve been assuming throughout this article that the email capture is priority number one for this Samsung campaign. Samsung doesn’t sell the product directly on their site, so any traffic driven to the Samsung site will get product information, customer service, and retail store locators. While tempting, it is a mistake to spend the time and money on this ad campaign and then throw away leads by diluting the landing page objective. The email capture will allow for multiple marketing efforts to a self-selected group that has an interest in a specific product line. Don’t let the user sail away to another site. The majority of links on this page should lead the user to complete the email capture order flow.
Samsung has wasted time and energy on this landing page. While we can point to each specific mistake point by point in the above landing page scorecard criteria, the root problem is a lack of focus. The marketing team didn’t prioritize the goal of the page well. I’m still asking what, exactly, was Samsung’s goal here. Were they really trying to build a email database as I’ve assumed? Or was this actually a brand-building campaign, with an email capture thrown in? Neither answer would make this a successful page. A good marketer will always ask him/herself the question “What’s the point?.” The reply must be obvious in every aspect of the campaign.
Without a clear objective, the potential results of this campaign have been damaged. The opportunity to build a targeted customer database has been diluted by the unclear headline and strategic intent, the lack of content freshness and urgency, and the multiple links that lead away from fulfilling the order flow.