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A Mobile Marketing Take on the Jay-Z/Samsung Effort

By Mike McGuire | July 10, 2013 | 0 Comments


The Jay-Z “Magna Carta-Holy Grail”/Samsung partnership that should have been fairly straightforward — global music star partners with leading smartphone manufacturer for mutual promotion — is either a mixed bag (“Jay-Z is Watching, and He Knows Your Friends”)z  at best, or a bust (“Jay-Z Android App Cloned by Hackers”).

I think the “any press is good press” meme is fine for the terminally optimistic but probably not good words to live by for your average mobile marketer. So let’s think about what this means to marketers.

First, file this under “Case Studies of ‘Sure-thing’ Marketing Efforts Gone Bad.”  Not suggesting we exhaustively dissect but try to find the direct causes of the flame-out and ensure we’re all taking steps to avoid repeating them.

So, who wanted what and how was it supposed to happen:

  • “Who wanted what”: Samsung wanted “cool” (multiple interpretations of what that means to a given audience), Jay-Z welcomed the promotional support and the money.
  • “How” A whole slew of cross-channel marketing tactics were included in the app: using Facebook logins, Tweeting about the fact that you were getting the new album.

So the app gets hacked, so that’s not good for Samsung. Jay-Z might have made some money up front — but did he alienate other fans who had to wait to get the new album because they didn’t have a Samsung smartphone?

What really struck me was that leaving aside the apparent security flaw(s), neither side seemed to be interested in genuine, organic social-media metrics.  Among the biggest complaints about the app from reviewers and fans quoted in press coverage was that in order to unlock some of the special features in the app e.g. getting a look at the lyrics, users were required to post to Facebook or Twitter — one post for each song lyric requested.

This, I think, is the nugget to take away from this episode: don’t let your app or your mobile-offer campaign make the customer feel like they’re having to jump through hoops — after they’ve gone to the trouble of “getting in line” or some other form of making an extra effort to get the chance to acquire something.

And whatever you do, don’t engage in social-network-shows-of-affection-or-else tactics.  I mean, talk about polluting the ecosystem.  “Likes” still have a bit of squish around them when it comes to actual business value. Now their value could be even less if consumers are effectively forced to throw off less-than-genuine shows of affection.

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