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Making Media Strategies For Tech Consumers

When you're working in the technology category, odds are its most avid customers are going to be heavy users of new and digital media. That’s one reason why Matt Rayner is a good fit for his new role at Starcom MediaVest Group as global lead on the Samsung account.

Before joining SMG, Rayner founded a company that created branded apps. And earlier in his career, he worked on the Samsung account at Cheil in the Far East.

Rayner says electronics companies ought to be on the cutting edge with digital media. “Sometimes, some technology companies can be pretty woeful. But Samsung has the right idea,” he says. In addition to making its own products, Samsung makes parts for other manufacturers. “They see the product pipeline before a lot of other people very early in the process,” Rayner says. “They know what’s going on.”

Tablets, cell phones and other electronic gadgets are high-involvement products, and Samsung consumers are using apps and social media. Rayner says his job is to come up with “media strategies and plans that reach them through the media they’re using, which increasingly is not a big screen, it’s a small screen.”

Rayner is only in his second month at the agency, but he’s already brainstorming ideas for 2012, an Olympics year. “Samsung is going to be very involved in that,” he says.

Being involved in marketing is a family affair for Rayner, who grew up in London. His grandfather was a sales manager for Colgate-Palmolive and his dad was a brand manager for Coca- Cola. But when he went to Imperial College in London, he got a degree in physics. When he decided to go into marketing, media appeared to be the best choice. Rayner was able to master the desktop presentation program and later able to understand the analytics that accompany digital media.

He started in the media department at Young & Rubicam in London as a TV buyer on the Nestlé account. Agency life took him to China and Hong Kong, then 12 years ago to New York, where he worked on accounts including Dell, and AMD at MediaCom and mediaedge:cia. It wasn’t always electronics and technology. Rayner spent time working on the Revlon account as well, which means he knows way too much about cosmetics and hair care.

Rayner founded his own company, Apperlative, which developed branded apps for iPhones. “I quickly figured out that was a very competitive industry,” he says. The company shifted its focus to developing apps for TV, but the delay in rolling out platforms like Google TV “put a bit of a hole in my business plan” and persuaded him to put the company in mothballs and get an agency job.

Rayner and his fiancée have a 5-month-old daughter. When he can, Rayner likes to ski and sail. He also used to be good at juggling. He once challenged his Revlon client to a juggling competition during a dinner and, violating normal agency protocol, Rayner won. In those days, he could keep five objects in the air; now he’s a bit out of practice. “I would have trouble with four now,” he says.

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