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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The Daily Culture Shock

A great chippy

If we use social media in our marketing, we can easily get distracted by the latest fashion or the latest scare story. It can all get very confusing.

You know what I think of Klout and its ilk. I think Klout is a fun toy, but as a measure of how much noise we make it is hardly useful in measuring our on-line influence. The measure of that will be in how much engagement we have from our friends, followers, call them what you will, and ultimately in a business setting, how much pay-back we get from giving as much as we can. That sounds a bit mercenary, and I have some lovely friends I have met through various websites and platforms, but most of the time I commit is related to my need to market. OK, I admit to enjoying new friendships and straying from business matters.

Still, we cannot keep worrying about every new story such as whether Facebook will achieve world domination. Have you heard that one? Could we be totally reliant on Facebook for every human interaction, financial, business, social or in every other way? That is quite amusing in reminding me of the short story by E M Forster, written over a century ago, “The Machine Stops”. Would the world end if Facebook collapsed after taking us all over? You can download the story here.

The world changes and I have no idea what the on-line world will be in five years time or even twelve months from now and nor does anyone else.

In the Sixties, Woolworths was a successful business where one could by anything cheaply and the only fast food was from the fish and chip shop. The food was wrapped in newspaper and it was the only chance I had to see the Daily Mirror, which was frowned on by my parents. It was a greasy read though. My parents did not approve of the Beano and the Dandy either so you see what a strict upbringing I had.

Back then, going to an Italian restaurant would have been the height of chic (mixing two countries there) and there were simply no other cuisines available.

We had absolutely no idea what the next best thing was going to be, and we were swept along by events such as the Vietnam War and the pop culture and in my case the modern rock and folk culture.

We are still swept along. Back when I was growing up we didn’t worry about every new fashion or embracing every sort of movie or music. We chose what we wanted. That is what life is like.

Not worrying about certain on-line tools is not going to be fatal to our businesses. If something has legs for us, test it and see, but don’t dive in just because everyone else has. You might be wasting your time. See how they get on if you are not sure. If you fancy it, have a go. It is OK to be an early adopter. I had a ZX81. It was brilliant. I taught myself Basic and then DOS. Yes, I have a geek streak. However, you don’t have to adopt any and everything.

I believe that striving to have a high score on some index can be compulsive, like gambling or gaming. As a licensed radio amateur (ham) I have chased high scores for contacts and distance so I know what it can be like – a serious distraction from what we should be doing.

Of course what we should be doing is marketing our business and having fun doing it, and not striving to keep up with the Joneses. Follow your own instinct, not that of the chattering classes. Don’t you agree?

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