What if Apple marketed a…

Posted on September 16, 2010

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If you’re here looking for the Pope, see the article below this one

Apple are seen by many as the sole purveyors of great marketing.  You might agree or disagree on that one, but they certainly have an approach which they apply consistently to everything they do – which can’t be a bad thing.  So, donning my ‘what-if cap’ here we go with some thinking on “What if Apple marketed…”.

Apple I On display at the Smithsonian

Call me a geek, but this is a Commodore 64 in wood.

The Fundamentals of Apple Marketing

Before I get into the specifics of how Apple might market a new product, it’s first worth taking a wee peek at the marketing fundamentals that Apple have employed in recent years to such a successful degree.  So, how does Apple do it?  This is my take on it at least:

  1. Keep things simple – This is the essence (I would say core, but it’s a good pun and I only do clumsy ones) of Apple.  Whereas their high tech competitors can’t help themselves from talking technology and throwing around jargon in their communications, Apple talk about benefits.
  2. Apply a bit of gloss – all the photography that Apple use in their marketing is shiny.  It doesn’t matter the product, it’s always basking in a sheen of reflective glory.  It’s never in a setting, no, all the focus is on the beautifully crafted and glossy product.

    Mac

    Shiny

  3. Don’t say too much.  Good advice to anyone on the witness stand in court and good advice to a company trying to make people remember some things about their product.  Apple never try and say too much.  If you look at their website it follows a few rules.  One of these is that each product has a main page.  This page will have a single image (nice and shiny) which takes up most of the space, underneath this will be no more than four key selling features which will be succinctly described.  There will also be a link to the technical info (top-right of the page), but they don’t try to sell on that – if you’re into that kind of thing it’s still there to be stroked.
  4. Be consistent. Apple don’t go changing on a campaign-by-campaign basis, they move forward in an evolutionary manner.  If you were to look at an Apple communication from four years ago I bet it would look identical to the current equivalent.
  5. Maintain a veil of secrecy.  One of Apple’s little quirks is the way in which it introduces new products to the market.  A press conference is announced and Steve Jobs strolls onto the stage and announces the next ‘must have’ addition to the Apple stable.  Prior to that point there might have been speculation, but no details will have been announced officially and there is a real ‘Secret Service’ level of secrecy applied to launch.  Except that one time…
    Steve Jobs while presenting the iPad in San Fr...

    Steve Jobs and a product people want but don't know what to do with it

  6. Distribution.  The really clever bit of Apple’s marketing piece is the fact that they can announce a product, having kept it a total secret and yet the product will be ready to ship from the moment Steve Jobs leaves the stage.  Not only that, the price you pay for an Apple product is consistent, they don’t suffer from price erosion in the market place, unlike their competitors (This is easy to achieve if you don’t have to entice resellers to your product by giving them the luxury of margin of course).
  7. Premium pricing. Apple don’t do cheap.  Why?  Because they don’t need to.
  8. i-right.  There is a term in Scotland “aye, right” which doesn’t mean yes, it means the opposite.  When it comes to Apple, “i” is right though.  Stick an “i” in front of anything and you’ve got a new brand
  9. Packaging Perfection.  The “out-of-the-box” experience delivered by Apple is second to none.  The packaging is beautifully designed and engineered, reinforcing the premium positioning of the product – everything looks and feels reassuringly expensive.
  10. Launch with a scaled-back product, quickly announce improved version.  Apple milks the innovators and early adopters and then introduces some new features and maybe even a new price to tempt the mainstream customers to part with their cash.

Okay, so that’s the fundamentals, onto the “what-if” bit.  Given the Apple approach, what would the communications plan look like for the following product concepts?  Actually, I’m going to save that for the next post as I’ve run out of time and want to capitalise on my wave of visitors here looking for info on the Pope…  I’ll leave you with their brand names for now: Apple iApple and the Apple iTeddy.

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