Few companies have made as big an impact on world culture as Apple. A company once on the verge of fading into oblivion made an incredible comeback, using a combination of savvy marketing techniques and devices unlike any previously created. Whether leaking information deliberately to generate buzz or creating commercials that stand the test of time, Apple can be considered an innovative marketing company.
When it comes to marketing strategies, Apple Computers is a company that consistently works on being on the leading edge. When Apple first decided to engage the PC market, it aired a Super Bowl commercial directed by Ridley Scott. At the time, Scott had just finished directing “Blade Runner” and was considered a hot property. In the commercial, a young woman with a huge sledgehammer smashes it into a massive television screen, bathing the bald-headed drones mesmerized by the monitor in a brilliant white light. The commercial then announced the release data of the Macintosh computer. The commercial generated widespread buzz and was actually voted “Commercial of the Decade” by Ad Age.
iPods and iTunes
Apple excels at turning brand into market shares. When the iPod was first introduced, Apple made sure that it also had its iTunes store in place. That way, in addition to marketing MP3 players, Apple also made money from selling downloadable music. In addition, the original iTunes store sold music that could only play on iPod players, making it a proprietary marketing strategy. The strategy continued with the arrival of the iPhone and the iPad, which also use proprietary software applications.
Once Apple succeeded in convincing buyers that the only MP3 player worth having was an iPod, it set its sights on the next big thing — the cellphone market. In order to begin the marketing campaign, rumors began surfacing online in late 2006 that Apple was planning on looking into getting into mobile phones. To make the phone as affordable as possible, Steve Jobs worked out an exclusive arrangement with AT&T so that the cost of the phone would be underwritten by the cellphone carrier. In addition, building on the concept of the iTunes store, Apple came out with an “App Store,” allowing users to download software directly onto their iPhones. Once again, the software was proprietary and only people using iPhones could use the many apps that Apple sold. In addition, Apple offered a percentage of each app sold to the app developer, thereby guaranteeing a steady supply of new apps. As always, Apple promoted the iPhone experience as totally user friendly and unobtrusive, a definite part of the Apple marketing strategy.
The best marketing strategy that Apple uses is giving the customer an experience unlike any other. Apple products are aesthetically attractive and seem to have an edge that other products simply do not. In addition, when going into an Apple store for a hands on experience, the Apple staff have been specifically trained to be knowledgeable in all things Apple. This provides a customer experience created to garner customer loyalty and to build trust.
Developers and Apps
On the other hand, there are those who are dissatisfied with certain Apple marketing strategies. Some developers are not pleased that apps created for the Apple App Store have to go through Apple’s rigorous approval process in order to be accepted. With the new iAd creation that Apple has initiated, even commercials have to pass Apple’s muster, causing companies like Chanel to back out of the iAd advertising campaign. However, Apple’s marketing strategy has always been to allow developers to profit from their creations, while retaining ultimate control in order to maintain the Apple standards.
- Marketing Minds: Apple’s Branding Strategy
- Advertising Age: Marketer of the Decade: Apple
- Gigaom: Former Apple Marketing Chief Confirms: Tablet Info Leaks are Intentional
- Apple Insider: Apple’s iTunes Advantage Keeps Acer from Building iPad Challenger
- CIO: A Brief Pre-Release History of the Apple iPhone
- Wired: Analyst: iPhone Sales to Surpass 100 Million by 2011
- Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images News/Getty Images