How Apple Changed The Marketing Universe

by Robb Sutton

With one simple gadget…Apple changed the way we listened to music and the way we market products. The iPod…within itself…is a very simple music listening devise. You load music onto a portable hard drive (now flash memory) and listen to it through an easy to use interface.

What Apple really accomplished…launching one of the most successful marketing campaigns in history, and one that the overall structure still closes millions of sales for their computer and consumer product lines.

So what started this wave of pure selling power?

A simple silhouette…

With the launch of this simple, monotone ad…Apple catapulted itself into the marketing hall of fame.

Apple knew one thing that the rest of the MP3 player manufacturers did not…it’s audience. Apple capitalized on the knowledge of what their core consumer wanted and how to deliver it in a way that you no longer thought of portable music devices as MP3 players…they are now iPods with no substitute.

iPod Branding

Apple has accomplished what others have tried but only few have succeeded in…making your brand name more common than the product category. Do you say Kleenex or tissue, Advil or ibuprofen, Coke or soda? Marketers around the world work endless hours trying to even get close to that product stardom.

The iPod is branding at its best. When you know your core audience, you can deliver a message that clearly defines and solves their needs. The Apple silhouette commercials do one thing incredibly well. They make the iPod a fun, must have item for the 15 – 25 year old demographic. The simple ads feature late teens to early twenty’s having an incredible time dancing with this white device.

You are not watching an over-thought, overly expensive ad…you are watching a very carefully thought out masterpiece that has made the iPod more than just a household name…it is the only MP3 player that all of the cool kids have.

How Does This Translate To Apple’s Computer Business?

Apple took this same concept and applied it directly to computer sales. Their new campaign (relatively speaking)…”Hi, I’m a Mac” brings Apple’s hardware division directly to the hearts of their core consumer group. Even one of their latest ads spots pokes fun at a competitors need to try to buy the hearts of their consumers.

Again…there are simple monotone backgrounds with simple actors delivering a very specific message. In the “I’m a Mac” commercials, Apple portrays the Apple computer as a fun, young, easy to use machine that is much faster and cooler than its older, geekier Microsoft counterpart. This is where I believe Apple has hit a gold mine that has not completely come to fruition.

What Is The Apple Gold Mine?

Apple has hit on a very important part of the industry that is going to provide gigantic returns in the future. Yes, Apple is still seeing nice growth during a downtime in the economy, but what you do not see yet…is the next 25 years. Apple has completely won over the education market…and more importantly…students. Go to any high school or college campus and the iPod and Mac are the most asked for items in the electronics industry.

Why is this important? Apple has created a fan base that will later graduate, and spend money on computers for the rest of their life. Which computers do you think they are going to buy for themselves? An Apple…over and over again. By investing in the young…Apple has invested in their future.

How Did Apple Change Marketing For The Future?

You no longer have to have superstars sell your product for you. Too many high cost ads have tried to win over the hearts of their consumers…when what the consumers really wanted was feeling. Apple proved that…once again…simple ads can be highly effective with the right research.

If you look at recent ads from Microsoft…they are confusing and unrelated. Microsoft is attempting to show that Vista is bug free and easy with complicated and vague advertising. Spending gross amounts of money for superstar actors will not sell a product.

The more you interact with your core consumer groups true feelings…the more your product will sell in an open and competitive market. Too many times in recent memory, firms have attempted to throw money at the problem instead of real solutions.

So What Is On The Horizon For Apple?

Well, fortunately for Apple, they control the hardware and software side of their products, and this means the sky is the limit. With a financially strong company and planned road map, I expect to see Apple increase their gains in the personal computer, music and cellular phone market. Where Apple needs to make a bigger push is in the enterprise systems to have a more well rounded product offering. With the introduction of enterprise level cell phone capabilities through the iPhone, Apple is starting its venture into this world.

During the last 8 years, we have gotten to watch a company…led by Steve Jobs…bring itself back from ruin to a marketing superstar. With well thought out products and a killer marketing strategy with the best inbound marketing tools, Apple seems to be unstoppable.

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