Customer Experience

How Samsung stays one step ahead in the innovation race

"Do what you can’t": it’s Samsung’s famous slogan, but it could just as well be Emmanuel Malard’s life motto. As the company’s Consumer and Market Insight Manager and author of the book The 50 Little Tricks of Marketing, he’s helped to change the field of marketing research since his arrival in the company in the early 2010s.

“I’m always on the lookout for new ways of working, always looking for new solutions,” says Emmanuel.

Since joining Samsung, that mentality has turned the company’s research division from a “small internal institute” into the engine room of a fast-moving and innovative company.

Making friends with the CRM team

When he arrived at Samsung, Emmanuel quickly realized the quality and potential of the company’s customer base.

"We’re fortunate to have customers who love the brand and are very committed. We had to bet on this capital at all costs,” he explains.

But at the outset, Emmanuel’s research team and his colleagues in CRM used different tools to collect data.

Very quickly, they realized the need to standardize on a single platform and collaborate on gathering fast and reliable customer insights, with clear roles for both teams.

"The CRM team ensures the consistency and efficiency of email templates and study submissions, and ensures that the customer base is not fatigued by managing requests from the CRM database.

“Then, my team is focused on designing the questionnaire, monitoring the collection of responses - always in real-time - and analyzing the results,” explains Emmanuel.

Results that can be used around the business

Over the past few years, this smooth-running process and the cooperation between the teams has made it possible to go further and further.

Emmanuel’s team today manages more than 150 studies per year and can deliver results in less than 48 hours, 2 to 3 times faster than with an external agency.

70% of its surveys come from internal stakeholder requests, such as post-advertising tests, mystery shopping, consumer studies, or field surveys.

"We’ve been asked to launch surveys for every event imaginable: sales events, influencers' evenings, trade fairs...you name it," Emmanuel says.

The speed at which Emmanuel’s team can generate insights has meant teams around Samsung consider it second nature to request a study.

“They know that they will have the results within 24 hours of their activity,” explains Emmanuel, “so they won’t be slowed down by gathering more information on their target customers. There’s only upside.”

Emmanuel is keen to point out that what differentiates Samsung’s research team is their ability to share results quickly and with all its key stakeholders via Qualtrics dashboards.

“Insights are useless if they’re not shared or used by internal teams,” says Emmanuel. “With Qualtrics, we’re able to quickly add value to our stakeholders’ projects and help them implement improvements on current and future initiatives.”

One recent example illustrates the point.

“A few months ago, we decided to set up a billboard written in the Korean alphabet on the Place de la Concorde in Paris,” Emmanuel says.

“Our Korean management was skeptical about the idea, so we wanted to measure the impact during the day and gauge whether it had been a success.”

With on-site researchers armed with tablets connected to the Qualtrics platform, they were able to share results of the billboard in hours.

The results of the responses were followed in real time and changes made on the fly.

Putting innovation at the heart of market research

Reacting to stakeholder requests is just one part of the research team’s brief.

In order to support Samsung’s ambition of being the world’s most innovative company, Emmanuel’s team is proactive in launching its own studies.

“30% of the studies we launch are initiated by us,” Emmanuel says.

One such example even saw the team receive numerous industry accolades.

“We wanted to understand what customers wanted when they went in-store,” explains Emmanuel, “so we used virtual reality headsets to recreate a number of store layouts and tested customer responses to each one.”

The output of this study influenced how Samsung stores look today, but meant the company saved the expense of building real-life store prototypes around the world.

More recently, the team launched an ongoing research program focused on the product lifecycle. "Today, we interview the owners of a smartphone at thirty days, then at different times after the purchase.”

The insights feedback to the company’s product experience and customer experience teams, and shape how the brand designs new phones and post-sale services.

Jumping from innovation to innovation, the research department of Samsung has succeeded in changing the working methods and study processes within the company.

Emmanuel sums it up: "It would not have been possible if we had not had the freedom that exists at Samsung to test and learn.

“And it would have been unimaginable without the help of Qualtrics. The platform has allowed us to take a huge leap in agility.”


Hear from other XM Visionaries at the X4 Summit March 10-13