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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How I tailor my business purchases and strategies to my needs

An alternative title to this post might be “How I run an introverted business in an extroverted way” since the two are inter-linked.

My business is for the most part involved in dealing with tax issues. There is some flair required, but no artistic ability. That means that in terms of hardware, I have what I need, and invest in the literal sense in what is required. In my case that means a Windows-based network to run the specialist software I need to buy. There is no equivalent for say Mac or indeed for a Linux system, so I use Windows and on the whole it is reliable. Yes, I could use a Windows emulator but it would be an additional risk to data.

I do like gadgets. If I had the resources and I thought it made sense I would have a Mac, an iPhone, and iPad, an iPod and every new toy possible, but maybe I am a bit conservative. Though I could claim most of them for business expense purposes, in reality it would not wash with my conscience. I content myself with having loaded Ubuntu on two old machines both over eight years old which are not worth a bean now but are much happier with the lighter requirements of Linux. They can still function well though they would not manage with their old Windows systems in the modern world.

My point is that I do not invest more money than I think I need to to take the business forward. I try not to invest too little either.

However, I do think it well worth targeting on-line presence with some investment, both financially and in terms of time. My websites and indeed my blogs will be undergoing a makeover very soon which is where the financial investment is coming in. I need to be noticed as we all do.

So I am active in social media,and of course it is fun interacting with people who were already friends, who have become friends on-line, and in looking for more amongst those whom I am following and who are following me. I invest a few hours a week, and it is after all no chore talking to friends as well as commenting on their blogs and mentioning my own.

It is important not to try to do too much. Just as in off-line networking one can go to too many events organized by too many different people and end up not having time to follow-up so it is with on-line networking. You can find me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Ecademy and FriendFeed. If you want to you can find me on Facebook. I think any more would spread my attention too thin to have conversations with people, and that is what it is about, even for an introvert like me with a necessary but not very showy business.

I am registered on foursquare because I was invited, but I do not have a clever phone yet, not being convinced I need one. Convince me, and I will join you all there.

In the meantime I will continue my on-line stuff as it is and will attempt anything else I think will be useful, as social media evolves and never stays still. I will keep blogging and picking up blogging tips. Chris Brogan recommended Technorati for helping blog reading figures – thank you Chris – and here is a code for the Technorati people : G4W22KBUX42W

We have to be out there talking and being seen, and for some of us it was a skill we had to learn. However, just as we need to preserve our cash flow and tailor our expenses to our needs, we have to follow the same philosophy with our social media too. That way it will be fun and will not overwhelm us.

What do you think? Do you see things differently, and why? I would love to know.

© Jon Stow 2010

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