Apple has been one of the most successful companies over the past ten years thanks in large part to their genius marketing tactics. This is both from a financial perspective as well as when looking at impact. They are consistently generating strong returns for their shareholders and their cash reserves sit at over $250 billion as of this past August.
What they created with the iPhone, iPad and other devices have also sparked entire industries. They are not the only ones competing any longer, but when looking from an overall impact point-of-view, their efforts have created dramatic change in daily life for people around the world.
One of the ways that Apple has been able to differentiate itself and remain strong year-after-year has been through their marketing efforts. They have created an aura around Apple products that has greatly contributed to their success.
Here are 10 of their genius marketing tactics that have helped them beat competitors and stay strong:
1. Create mystery.
Apple is mysterious around their products and initiatives. This has attracted scrutiny towards the company. In some ways, the bad press might be negative. In most ways, though, it has created a sense of awe around everything that they do.
People are excited to see their latest products and features because they almost always come as a surprise. This mystery has also drawn greater attention to the company which leads to more discussion around Apple and, subsequently, higher sales.
2. Figure out exactly how to appeal to customers.
Apple has done a significant amount of user research. They have poured countless amounts of time and money into understanding exactly how to appeal to their customers. This comes in the form of the messaging that is used, small product features, and the commercials that they have.
This hyper-focus has taught them exactly what they should be saying and how they should be saying it. With products as ubiquitous as Apple’s, getting the messaging right is critical since they are always under the public eye.
3. Create unique buying channels.
Anybody that has been to an Apple store can attest to the beauty and power of them. Companies that excel in their marketing efforts often do so by finding a new, unique, channel that competitors are not using. Apple Stores are exactly this. They are a place where people can engage directly with Apple products and are incentivized to spend significant money.
People can also go to receive support or help with their products. The quality of support tends to leave great tastes in peoples’ mouths as they leave. Apple has made shopping much more exciting and enjoyable than it has typically been.
4. Product placement.
Another place Apple has dedicated time and money has been the placement of iPhones in popular media. They pay to have characters use the iPhone in TV shows and movies, for example. Doing so makes the iPhone feel more present and associates their product with role models of many.
5. Avoid pricing wars.
Apple’s avoidance of pricing wars has been an effective choice. For one, they have not spent as much time thinking about their competitor’s pricing. This attention has been allocated towards a variety of other marketing areas.
By having a higher price than other phones, they are also demonstrating the true value of what it means to have an Apple product. It adds a sense of luxury to their products that make them more widely desired.
6. Build a community of users.
The huge community of Apple product users has been one of their major advantages. One reason is the social proof. Constantly seeing others with an iPhone makes someone that has one feel better about their choice and makes someone who does not want to get one.
The other reason, which is a huge profit-driver for Apple, is that its community of users will continue buying Apple products. The returns to scale almost increase as you have more Apple products because of the ways in which they work together.
The product quality and ease of use are so significant that once someone gets hooked on Apple, it is unlikely that they will change. That person, all of the sudden, becomes someone who will buy new Apple products consistently over time. Those are the most profitable types of customers.
7. Try and create integrations with other products.
The Apple App Store has also been a huge competitive advantage. Countless companies have been formed that revolve around iPhone apps. This has added value to owning an Apple product. Not only do you get everything that comes with the product, but also all of the benefits that come from additional services built on top of the product.
We do not think about that much today, given that we are used to having apps to help us find movies, deliver our news and so on. Taking a step back, though, that is hugely beneficial.
8. Think about the entire user experience.
The entire Apple process has been thought out, from the time that someone walks into a store to when they open their product up. There are countless videos online of people opening up their iPhone, for example. Many of them go on to save the box.
This obsession with design and the entire user experience has created more loyal customers. People tend to have positive and vivid memories of opening up their Apple products. That, in turn, makes them more likely to want to buy the next one.
9. Make things seem scarce.
Apple creates a fear of missing out. They put products on pre-sale and make it seem like there is not enough to meet demand. This is especially true immediately upon launch. People feel like they are missing out if they do not get the latest version of Apple products. This scarcity has created a greater sense of urgency for customers to buy products.
10. Build awesome products.
Possibly the best and most valuable thing that Apple has done since its origin has been building amazing products. All of the tactics and marketing efforts have made their mark, but none of them would have mattered with a poor product.
You could take away a lot of the marketing efforts and Apple would likely have still had significant success. They put endless amounts of time into making the absolute perfect product. That has translated into a user obsession with Apple that has been the greatest driver of their success.