The Marketing Apple

 

Practical phone

Taking a bite

Some people get really upset about Apple, so much so that when a writer gives his take on why Apple is so successful in marketing their products, commenters immediately take it as a criticism or bashing of competitors and particularly one, which is dear old Microsoft.

Whether we agree with the writer that Apple do operate in a vacuum, there is no doubt that their marketing and image is extremely successful, such that the fashionistas in the tech-consumer world fall over themselves to buy the latest product. It doesn’t matter to these consumers whether they actually need the functions of the latest IPhone. They like to be seen with that latest gadget.

That fashion element drives the price too, so that Apple can make a tidy margin and a bigger profit on turnover than others who sell gadgets.

Practical wireless

I am not one of those consumers. I have an Android phone so that I can check my email and calendar and Facebook if I really want to. I can post to Twitter, but if I am honest I seldom “do” social media with my phone. That is because I have perfectly good computers which are more easily used for that purpose than a phone because I have “fat fingers”. But then I am the guy who when starting out in ham radio did not have the ability to build my own set but declined (and did not have the money) to buy a new “rig” as we call them. I bought an army surplus radio (19 Set) and adapted it for amateur radio use with a little help or at least advice from my friends.

So I admit I am the type who acquires the functionality I need. I “make do and mend”. It is great to take an apparently obsolete PC, load Linux and see it go with speed and more functionality than it ever had when it was new.

I would be that certain sort of client or customer who is practical. I would like to know how everything worked before I bought a product or service. To sell to me you would have to explain in every detail what I was buying and how it would benefit me.

Practical selling

Yet if I were an Apple fanatic I wouldn’t be bothered about the detail. I would be more interested in owning the latest whizzy gadget, being seen with it and showing it to my friends.

When we are prospecting for business or seeing a potential customer, we must remember there is more than one sort of buyer. We must adapt our sales technique to the person, whether it is the “mechanic” like me who needs to understand the fine detail, or the feel-good purchaser that has made Apple such a success.

I don’t buy Apple because their products don’t have a good fit with my business. I don’t knock them either. You have to admire their style as they appeal to their customers’ style. Are you an Apple person?

 

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Uncomfortable market positioning

The Waitrose store in Peterborough, Cambridges...
Image via Wikipedia

Price wars

Writing the other day about supermarkets and what one in particular can teach us about comfort reminded me that our up-market supermarket in the UK, Waitrose, is now competing on price, or at any rate telling us that they are no more expensive than Tesco on a range of products. I think this is a big mistake though understandable in a time of austerity and a depressed economy.

Perceived quality

As many would know, Waitrose is the supermarket offshoot of the John Lewis Partnership, which is a chain of stores renowned for the quality of its goods and the quality of its services. I know a few people who swear by John Lewis and wouldn’t do their birthday or Christmas shopping anywhere else, or indeed buy their TV or dishwasher or pashmina scarf from any other shop.

Waitrose has always carried this ethos through to the supermarket environment. The Waitrose image is of quality and while customers always understood that they might pay more, that cachet of comfort has always ensured loyalty of customers who like to feel different. I hope the chain management doesn’t lose sight of this in their desire to compete with the big players in food retail. After all, a lot of people buy into image when they are shopping, otherwise Gucci wouldn’t be such a successful brand, and IPhones and Macs would be less popular given that there are cheaper quality smart phones and computers on the market which deliver the same services. Of course the loyal Apple following might see this as controversial, but I am complimenting Apple on their image, market positioning and closed exclusivity of software and apps management.

Know our minds

I believe we in business all need to know where our place is in the market, and indeed to work at our positioning. If we are providing a service we need to make sure it is distinct from and better than everyone else’s and in my view the last thing we want to do is be cheap.  We just need to be different and high quality as Waitrose has always been, and if they have any sense, will continue to be.

What do you think?

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