This post will make more sense if you read the previous post first. I’m just saying that to be helpful, I’m not telling you that you MUST read the earlier post first, although that would be a good idea. Far be it from me to tell you what to do, but it is my blog after all and I think I know the order in which you should read things, but hey you do what you think is best – this isn’t a dictatorship (more’s the pity) it’s a blog.
I almost forgot if you’re here looking for the Pope, see the article here…
Following the last post, this post is a look at a “what if” Apple were to introduce a new product. I’m not saying that Apple is going to launch the product below, and if they do I want a royalty, but I’m just using an example to give you an idea of the type of marketing ploys that Apple uses to good effect.
There would of course be a lot of rumour and speculation prior to launch. Some of this will naturally be fostered by Apple themselves, not that they’d admit it (denial is another useful tactic to have up your sleeve). Some of the rumour will be speculation based upon the known facts around large orders placed on suppliers in the supply chain. Sometimes these large orders (and tight timescales) can create tensions in the supply chain – see this article for details of issues allegedly associated with the launch of the iPad.
On the Internet people will be going mad, posting images of what the product might look like, the specifications, the name, the colour, even the materials. The rumoured name, iFruit, will be a trending topic on Twitter and Stephen Fry will tell everyone in Twitterland about the lovely new gift he’s received from Apple. The national news will cover the story and the city will be betting left, right and centre on the share price of Apple based on their hunches. Articles will be written by learned journalists which authoritatively discuss the strategy which Apple has employed on extending their portfolio into a new market segment. Of course, they might well know what they are talking about, but most of it will be Chinese Whispers. It doesn’t matter, all of this is free to Apple and it all serves as the best free marketing you could ever hope for… except maybe the forcing suppliers to meet impossible targets.
Steve Jobs walks onto the stage in front of a packed theatre in San Francisco. He thanks everyone for joining him (amidst rapturous applause – for walking onto the stage!) and nonchalantly takes an apple (a red one) out of his pocket and takes a bite. He chews on it for a while and there is silence in the auditorium, the expectation building all the while.
Steve turns around and looks at the screen which has just updated with the words, “the core.”. He turns back to the audience and holds aloft the apple, smiling. “Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the iApple.” Cue rapturous applause and whooping – if you’re trying to picture this, think the American crowd at the Ryder Cup when an American wins a game and you won’t be far away. After the whooping dies down Steve sets out the major features of the iApple.
He proudly begins, “Number 1” (accompanied by a big number one on the screen behind him), “…the iApple introduces new multi-pip core processor technology” (more whooping and high five-ing). “Our new core technology advancements brings you a quicker crunch than ever before”. The communal, collective outpouring of whooping threatens to kick off an earthquake in the nearby San Andreas fault, but fortunately for everyone, Steve is just able to go through the revolutionary, world-changing features of the iApple ending on the important information on pricing and availability. The screen updates with the following information: “Available: Today, Price $10”. Unfortunately, this is just too much for the Apple aficionados and the crowd are overcome with an overwhelming compulsion to cheer, whoop, shout “alriiight!” and similar superlatives until the ceiling of the auditorium caves in on top of them all (we can dream).
Promoting the product
After the news coverage dies down in the aftermath of the tragedy at the launch of the iApple, work begins apace on promoting the iApple. Despite the loss of life (worry not, in this example Steve Jobs survived. Four minions sacrificed themselves by making a human wall to protect Steve from the debris. It later transpired that one of the heroes was about to be sacked after leaking news of the iApple to Steve Wozniack, the Apple co-founder) the Apple website is updated 23 seconds after the early end of the presentation with details on the new wunder gadget. As you can see from the shot below the rules of Apple’s marketing success are adhered to, as you’d expect.
Apples Golden Marketing Rules
- Keep things simple
- Apply a bit of gloss
- Don’t say too much.
- Be consistent.
- Maintain a veil of secrecy.
- Speedy Distribution.
- Premium pricing.
- Packaging perfection.
- Launch with a scaled-back product, quickly announce improved version.
Apple quickly get the product to market, priced at $10 an apple. People queue overnight to be the first to get their hands on an iApple, although they are not exactly sure what they are going to do with it. The share price surges upwards following a momentary lull following the trouble (1,322 souls lost) at the launch. Apple announces that the iApple has broken all previous sales records and everyone congratulates one another.
The press start reporting some serious issues with the iApple, apparently some customers have received bruised apples, some even have little holes in them. Steve Jobs is reported as responding to this issue by saying, “Just eat around the blemishes” (not that unlike his response at iPhone 4 issues). The press get onboard with this story and push it, promoting every little issue they can find. This finally forces Apple to announce another press conference. Precautions have been made to avoid a similar incidence of what happened at the launch itself and the conference takes place in the Cheyenne Mountain military bunker. Apple admits the problem, but says it’s a common problem affecting all fruit. They announce that they will be sending all customers a mint gum to help get rid of the taste of rotten apple.
Once Apple has sold enough iApples to the “Innovators” and “Early Adopters”, as described in the Diffusion of Innovation model below, Apple announces some new features (a ready-peeled version), a drop in price in the iApple and a new price of $7.50.
Rumours start appearing in blogs around the Internet about an imminent announcement at Apple, predictions are made as to the name of the new product (the iTeddy) and the whole machine starts again…
- Actual iApples (Gizmodo)
- Apple’s New iPad: Turning Customers into Lemmings (AAPL) (247wallst.com)
- Apple Gearing Up For iPad Newspaper Subscriptions- WSJ (globalthoughtz.com)
- Police interview Steve Jobs about prototype iPhone (news.cnet.com)
- Apple HDTV rumors resurface as Apple secure digital TV IP (slashgear.com)
- Steve Jobs gets into a fight with a student (thefirstpost.co.uk)