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5 things online marketers can learn from Samsung’s aggressive advertising strategies



I absolutely love Samsung. They are tenacious, vicious, aggressive, feisty, full of gusto and are hungry to win.

Their main competitor is Apple who make the world famous iPhone. Apple is immensely profitable and is a market juggernaut but Samsung is fearless.

Tonight, in between the AMC show “Mad Men”, I saw this commercial.

Samsung is literally giving away an extra unit of it’s S5 phone to Verizon customers who sign up for service. This is crazy because the S5 is new and it’s their flagship phone!

It’s also going to get them a ton of customers and take the fight squarely to Apple as they also plan the release of the iPhone 6.

What can we learn from this? A lot.

Always think like a startup

Samsung is a massive company. Their market cap as of April 11th 2014 was $170 Billion. They are a large and very profitable business but they act like a startup. They are willing to sling dirt at their competitors and get down in the mud if they have to.

They want marketshare and Apple is standing in the way. Samsung’s advertising responses are more grassroots and outside the box than conventional and the effects are self evident –  record sales numbers.

Be fearless

Samsung is extremely fearless. They are ready to compete at any level – in the courts, TV, pricing, PR etc. Even when they know they may lose money, they compete. An important lesson for every entrepreneur.

Never be afraid to challenge the industry leader

Samsung didn’t just innovate and attempt to compete. They studied the industry leader and went directly up against them. They are confident enough to believe that they have the best product on the market AND more importantly that Apple does not.

They aren’t afraid to remind people that they feel they are better than the industry leader.

Your product doesn’t have to be the best

Sometimes the good guys don’t win. I personally still love the iPhone because it’s simple, it works and the battery life is usually awesome. Based on experiences I and my friends have had with Android phones, I am comfortable saying that for us, it has been a less than stellar experience.

Having said that, I acknowledge that it doesn’t matter. Samsung continue to make large screens and beautiful looking phones and tablets. Consumers eat them up like candy and now market leadership is not clear anymore.

They simply are muscling their way into the top spot.

That leads to the final point

Keep grinding away

Your concept or idea may not work immediately. It may take a few months or even a few years. You just have to keep slugging away and be persistent.

Great things hardly ever happen overnight. There’s usually a person or group of people plugging away in the basement for years before something amazing happens.

Be patient but persistent.

What about you? Did you see Samsungs ad? What did you think?

Onuora Amobi is a Digital Marketing Strategist. He implements digital marketing solutions to drive leads, increase conversions and grow revenue. He has an extensive background in both Digital Marketing and Enterprise Technology solutions.



  1. Kelsy Martin

    April 15, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    I watch Mad Men too and saw this commercial live! I thought this was impressive when I saw it, so I’m glad you pointed this out. Nice read!

    • Lars

      April 15, 2014 at 4:53 pm

      Ditto! Really nice ad, even though I’m not the biggest samsung guy. Mad Men is a great show though, and it’s ironic this awesome ad came on during a show about an ad agency!

  2. Elaine1

    April 15, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Being fearless is great advice no matter the size of the company! If you market or operate in fear or are way to cautious, then you’re going to be in trouble. Successful entrepreneurs are fearless and push forward. Also, all publicity is good publicity is something to operate under.

    • Bill Franklin

      April 17, 2014 at 4:59 pm

      Spot on, Elaine. I know plenty of people who operate in fear and it holds them back. In a career with a lot of risks, like online entrepreneurs, there’s no room for fear. Even a big company like samsung gets it.

  3. John Howe

    April 15, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    I agree with quality. Success doesn’t equal the best product. Walmart doesn’t have better food than a supermarket, it’s just cheaper and advertised better. As you said, the iPhone is a better device at this point, but Android is offering an alternative and advertising the heck out of it! Nice read, Onuora.

  4. Mary

    April 15, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Persistence. Smart and simple, Onuora. The more persistent and driven you are, the more likely you are to make progress and increase awareness. I think that’s a philosophy for business owners to live by. Don’t worry about being annoying.

    • Emily Williams

      April 17, 2014 at 4:39 pm

      Forget business owners, it’s a philosophy for everyone to live by! I love this article and think most if not all of this advice can be applied to all aspects of life. Fantastic ad by samsung and an even better follow up from you, Onuora! 🙂

  5. Matthew Laws

    April 15, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    The industry leader point is an interesting one. It’s almost like if you tell people you’re comparable to the industry leader, people will seem to believe it. The key to that is coming up with a solid marketing plan that highlights the benefits over the industry leader without making it a complete slander of the leader.

    • Randy A

      April 15, 2014 at 5:15 pm

      Spot on in my opinion. Fine line, but it needs to be balanced or you won’t be able to compete with the best. Nice article !

      • Matthew Laws

        April 17, 2014 at 6:32 pm

        Thanks, Randy! I agree it’s a very fine line. You need to walk the tight rope. If you don’t go after the industry leader, you’ll never reach your full potential. However, if you do it in the wrong way, it could spell doom.

  6. Drew J

    April 15, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    As in most aspects of life, your 2nd to last paragraph summed it up perfectly. Patience and confidence is key. Don’t overreact if you don’t see immediate results, and definitely don’t let it deter you. It’s easy to react one way or the other, but calm and collected is the way to go. Great list!

  7. Claire R

    April 15, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Incredible list and advice. Being the best, doesn’t always mean being the best! It means doing the best job marketing and convincing others you are the best. If you can do that, you can succeed with a good product. This won’t work if you’re offering an awful product, but as long as it’s good, you can get away with it.

  8. Steve Fulton

    April 17, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    I love this commercial and your analysis of it. Some really stellar points in there. Thinking like a startup is a lot of things all successful people do. Having that “chip on your shoulder” is what makes people and companies the best. Motivation and drive.

  9. Jake

    April 17, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Don Draper is typically looking for the gutsy message that will sell. That’s why i love the show, this Ad, and this article. They all have gutsy in common. Nice job.

    • John Howe

      April 17, 2014 at 6:20 pm

      Really good point. Draper always pulls the punches when pitching to the companies. You have to respect his delivery. I wonder if that’s why samsung played the ad during the premiere.

  10. Ted Smith

    April 17, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Product DOESN’T have to be the best. I love that you pointed this out. There are so many crappy products out there that have made millions. Can you say, “Snuggie?”

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Who approved never get Hulu as an ad slogan?

I’ve seen some DUMB ad campaigns in my life but Never Get Hulu is by far the worst one I have ever seen in my life.



Never get Hulu

I was watching the Emmys last week and then an ad came on.

It had a ton of celebrities who were serious and telling me to listen and pay attention.

They start to talk somewhat comedically about a bunch of things I should never do – never fly first class, never get a king size bed, never get a walk in closet etc etc.

At this point, there are hints of comedy creeping in…

Until the final punch line “..and most importantly Never Get Hulu”.

My wife and I are marketing professionals and immediately looked at each other thinking the same exact thing.

Who at Hulu gave the green light to this ad?

Why would you get people’s attention and use the words “Never” and your brand name in the same sentence? From a marketing perspective this seems extremely stupid.

Yes, it gets people like me writing about this and talking about it and sharing the ad. Got it.

HOWEVER, it imprints very negative keywords next to your brand name into people’s psyche’s forever.

Never Get Hulu.

I absolutely don’t get it but hey what do I know, maybe they know something I don’t so I should probably take their advice.

I DEFINITELY won’t get Hulu.

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Digital Marketing Tip – Implement Fragment Caching

Fragment caching works by identifying sections of code, which take up time and resources, and caching just those sections.



Implement fragment caching

As far as performance goes, WordPress is brilliant for a smaller website, right out of the box. Your front-end pages load very quickly, data is retrieved from the database and saved to it very fast on the back-end.

But, when you try to add loads of content, with loads of metadata for every post, then you will start to see things slow down, considerably. This is quite common and there are plenty of ways to sort the problem out.

Use a Caching Plugin

Caching plugins are the most used tools on WordPress websites, a way of speeding things up and there are plenty to choose from.

Each plugin has its own approach but, overall, the bit that slows everything down, i.e. a page that needs to load, is placed in a temporary location for storage.

That way, when the page is requested again, it can be retrieved much quicker because the stored page is called on instead of the front-end page having to be loaded each time.

However, once this storage reaches an age which is determined beforehand it will be removed and then recached to make sure users don’t get old data.

Some of the best plugins for this are:

  • W3 Total Cache
  • W3 Super Cache
  • WP Fastest Cache

Because each has its own method of doing things, each plugin has its own set of pros and cons. Overall, the popular solutions have one common problem – they cannot cache data for a logged in user.

This might seem to be something of an oversight; after all, why cache data if your editors or your users won’t see the benefit? It might interest you to know that this has been left out intentionally and for a very good reason.

Imagine that your website has exclusive content that is only for subscribers who pay for it. If you cache the data for this content, there is a good chance that you could serve it to users who do not pay for it which allows anyone to get your content without subscribing.

So, does this mean that a website driven by membership cannot take advantage of caching? Of course, they can.

This is where fragment caching comes in.

What is Fragment Caching?

In the scenario above, we cannot cache all the content on a whole page load, but we can still use caching. Fragment caching works by identifying sections of code, which take up time and resources, and caching just those sections.

This means your unpaid subscribers don’t get to see the content reserved for those who pay.

How much time you can save will depend on how many fragments are cached but, where you have a large and complex website, the time savings will soon add up.

How do we implement fragment caching? Very easily, thanks to something called the Transients API. This is a storage method for temporary data that has an arbitrary timeframe.

Have a look at this example:

// Get an existing copy of transient data, if there is one
if ( false === ( $foo = get_transient( ‘foo_transient’ ) ) ) {
// Nothing was found or the transient has expired; regenerate it!
$foo = someExpensiveCodeOrQuery();
set_transient( ‘foo_transient’, $foo, 2*HOUR_IN_SECONDS );
// Use $foo somehow

On the second line, we have called a method called get_transient and this will try to pull up the cached value for foo_transient. If there is a transient and it is still in date, the cached value is returned and the code will then move to the seventh line.

If no value is found, a value of false is returned and the third, fourth and fifth lines will then be executed. The result is $foo being saved under the name of foo_transient and an expiration time of two hours is added.

Fragment caching is not a method to fix everything but it can be an incredibly useful tool for reducing page loading by seconds and, as we all know where page loading times are concerned, every second counts.

Combine fragment caching with other methods of speeding up WordPress for significant gains in speed.

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The ONE skill most digital entrepreneurs do not have

After many years of mentoring digital entrepreneurs, I find that there is constantly one core skill they do not start with…



Writing skill entrepreneurs

Over the past decade, I have had the privilege of being a digital marketing mentor to a lot of MBA students and entrepreneurs.

I have always loved being able to help people who are just discovering what the internet can do for their businesses and how thinking asymmetrically can create growth and profits online.

In the process of mentoring a lot of these awesome people, I started to see a common trend and it profoundly affected me and has made me rethink everything about the way I teach digital business.

The internet is awesome.

It’s made it possible for an entrepreneur or a small team of people to create websites and online applications that compete against much larger businesses. This because they have mastered some skillset that is in demand and have figured out how to share it profitably with the rest of the world.

I used to believe that when entrepreneurs are starting to learn about starting an online business, they needed to learn everything about business, tools, terminology and technology.

While those are all important, there is one critical skillset that is often missed when people are learning to build digital businesses.

The ability to write properly and eloquently.

Frustrated writer

I have been stunned and shocked to see people who can master every other component of digital marketing be so intimidated by a blank screen or sheet of paper.

Lots of entrepreneurs are terrified of writing. They love building products, selling products, tinkering with website elements, landing pages and doing everything else but they are scared to actually learn how to write compelling content.

The irony is, they love consuming content from other writers!

My story

When I built one of my successful online businesses, it was based on Microsoft Windows. I realized that to really understand how to create compelling content around software, I had to learn how to write. Even about a topic I was only peripherally aware of at the time.

So I did.

I wrote over 7,000 articles in less than 8 years.

I wrote on websites, syndication sites, on financial sites, press releases, landing pages, editorials and more.

I started one article at a time and did it so much that it became second nature. I was edited by tough editors at sites like Seeking Alpha and had to rewrite content often to get it published. It was tough starting out but I learned.

Eventually, my content was so compelling that my website had 50,000 daily visitors and in 2010, I received a Microsoft MVP award for the Windows Desktop.

Build Conference Anaheim

Me at the Microsoft Build Conference in Anaheim California – 2011

My ability to write got me into conferences where I met most of the popular technology writers I had always admired. I was a member of the press pool at Microsoft events – because I learned how to write.

That business made me close to a million dollars based on my digital marketing abilities BUT at the end of the day it all came down to one thing.

The ability to write and express myself.

It’s critical.

I learned this the hard way

When I would walk entrepreneurs through digital marketing basics and eventually get their sites up and running, I would find out that they either didn’t know how to write or hated writing.

That changed the way I teach.

Now I start off with a basic digital writing and copywriting class.

Once my students are able to write somewhat decently and properly, only then do we move to keyword research, idea validation etc.

My advice to entrepreneurs starting out

If you have an idea for an online business, you should take a writing class. It doesn’t matter if you’re selling a product or a service, you should learn how to write.

You should head to online resources like Udemy and search for “writing”.

Yes, you can hire a copywriter to do some things for you but the truth is, even the best copywriters can’t replace you.

Customers and clients are drawn to YOU. 

They come to your site, connect to you on social media and respond to your content because it’s YOU. This is true for every kind of business and it’s also why the most effective way to sell professional services online is with your blog.

The blog allows customers and visitors to see how you think and figure out whether your values are compatible with theirs. If they like how you think and express yourself, you’re more likely to make that sale or convert that visitor.

Also practice writing!

“I’m not a good writer!” – that’s a common refrain I hear.

No one starts out as a good writer. No one.

Some people do have natural talent but even that takes honing and practice until it’s perfected. Write one hundred articles in a month and I GUARANTEE you that the first and last article will be dramatically different.

The bottom line

The ability to express yourself is one of the most critical skills you can develop as an adult. It’s what gets you the VC money, what gets you the raise at work, the first date with a significant other and what gets your content to convert.

Learning how to write can change your life. I know this because it changed mine.

If you don’t know how to write, learn and if you’re a good writer, practice. This skill is often the difference between success and failure online.

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