Saad Raja - Apple

Learning from The Best: What You Can Take from Apple’s Marketing

If there’s one company that seems to get their marketing consistently right, it’s Apple. It’s rare they ever take a step wrong, and it’s reflected in their results. In recent years, their products have been some of the biggest movers on the market. In Q! of 2018 alone, Apple’s revenue was between $84 and $87 billion – consisting of around 77 million iPhones, 13 million iPads and 5 million Macs in the 3-month period. It’s hard not to notice when Apple releases a new product. It dominates the news, social media and public consciousness. Apple’s marketing has become a benchmark for other companies to reach similar heights of revenue and recognition.

From standing for something to using your audience’s language, Apple’s lessons are as valuable for a start-up entrepreneur as they are for an established, global corporation. So how many of their techniques are you currently employing, and what opportunities are you missing? This week, I’m walking you through the methods that Apple is taking to market its company and how this can relate to your business. No matter how big or small you are, there’s so much you can learn – so let’s get started…

Keep it simple

Above all, Apple’s marketing techniques have one thing in common – it’s simple. For Apple, there isn’t typically any information on where or how to buy their products. Instead, the focus is entirely on the product. From the marketing message to the ads themselves, the company tends to take a very straightforward look at what product is on offer. Any more information on the product is usually found by the customer looking for more information.

Through this approach, there are two key benefits. Firstly, you’ll get a clear advert that is letting the products and its benefits speak for itself. Secondly – and perhaps more importantly – you’ll also be driving your customers to your website to find out more about a product. While the initial advert captures their attention, it is then up to them to follow through. This organic approach means that promoting your products doesn’t feel forced. Your products feel like something your customers want to be a part of and want themselves, rather than something they’re told they want.

Top tips: When creating your marketing campaign, leave out the flashy noise and graphics. We’ve seen marketing make a move towards the simple, classic and clean, so follow suit. Try stripping the content to its bare minimum and display simple graphics. Eye-catching and quick to read are desirable traits for your campaign. As long as you are translating your message and product, the customer will be encouraged to discover more for themselves.

Use product placement

To be successful, you’ll need to be recognized. This makes brand recognition a vital component of your product’s success. Apple is highly successful at doing this – so there’s a lot that can be learnt from them.

The company relies heavily on free product placement in television shows and movies. Apple products appeared in 891 TV shows in 2011 alone. According to Brandchannel, iDevices were in 40% of movie box office hits. Their products can be found in a wide range of programmes, with most of us not even realising the extent of this saturation. With so many Apple products becoming standard throughout the media we consume, they are quickly becoming a part of everyday life.

Top tips: While your products may not be big enough to garner the same level of placement as Apple, there are other steps you can take in your product placement. Any marketer can place a product with an influencer who can then share it on their social media sites. Whether its Instagram or Snapchat, you’ll be reaching a wider audience. Once an influencer shares your product and shows their followers how beneficial your products are, the seed is planted. From here, you can build a following, leads and even a customer base.

When looking for your influencer, there are certain things to bear in mind. To start, you should make sure that they fit your demographic. Look at their audience and see if there is a high level of cross-over with your own. It is important to remember that the size of the audience your influencer attracts isn’t as important as who they are reaching. A smaller audience who has the right qualities can form a great target market.

Focus on unique value proposition

With Apple’s marketing, it is clear that the company’s focuses almost entirely on unique value proposition (USP). Simply, USP – or as it’s also known unique selling proposition (USP) – is a clear statement that describes the benefit of your offer, how you meet your customer’s needs and what distinguishes you from the competition. Whenever any Apple product is released, the focus on the amazing features that it can offer its user and what makes this iDevice so special.

Apple also focuses on providing great user experience, utilising cool features and extensive applications to put the product in a league of its own. Whatever Apple offers, they make the customer feel like it’s worth the money. And for good reason. Apple typically charges more money than all of its competitors. However, the company’s marketing has chosen to distance itself from the pricing wars, sticking to their much higher costs. Their focus on UVP makes this possible – as the customers are won over by their products – so this is made the star of their marketing campaigns.

Top tips: Know what makes your product stand out from its competition. Try to figure out one key aspect of your product that can help others. Think of something your product does that others don’t. Is it a time saver? Is it more affordable? Even consider creating a spreadsheet containing your competitor’s product and your own. Cross off the things they do, that you’re also hoping to do. Find unique aspects of your own product and champion them. Every business thinks they have the best product, but this useful exercise will allow you to zero in on exactly what you do that’s special.

If you already know what makes your product unique, that’s great. Make sure to showcase this in your marketing. Even if you aren’t the cheapest, it’s important to make your customers see why you’re still the best choice. Showcasing the pros of your product can really make it stand out from the competition.

Stand for something

As one of the biggest companies in the world, the values of the Apple Corporation are heavily scrutinised. Yet, the company handles this responsibility amazingly well – and can even be looked to as a leader for how to handle a company ethos and its values.

A great tie-in product is its special edition (PRODUCT) RED releases. Essentially this is just a red version of the iPhone but with a twist – its connected to charities supporting those living with HIV/AIDS. The brand creates a link between one of its most popular products and a worthy cause that will capture the attention of its market. Apple is offering virtue, while still pushing its own products, creating a win-win scenario – Apple makes money, charities benefit and its customers get a product they love that also does some good.

Take a look at the company’s marketing message – Apple’s Vice President of Product Marketing, Greg Joswiak, says: “This special edition (PRODUCT) RED iPhone features a stunning red and black colour combination and also offers customers the opportunity to make an impact in fighting the spread of HIV and AIDS… We are proud to support (RED) with this bold new iPhone and hope customers think it is as special as we do.”

Top tips: Look at what your brand stands for and give back. People are more likely to choose your product if they think it is somehow helping. To make sure it feels genuine, look at your own company values and try to find a charity that supports your own causes. It doesn’t have to be a product either – your company could do fundraising for a cause, donate some of your profits or even just promote a worthy cause for free. Customers like a brand that they think cares – so let them know what good cause you’re passionate about.

While its unlikely that your company will be as big as Apple, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some amazing tips you can learn from them. Next time you see an advert or marketing campaign for an Apple product – and believe me, it won’t take too long – look out for what Apple is doing. The simplicity, elegance and dynamic visuals used it its marketing help the brand to stand out, while the message behind the campaign is always well thought-through. Apple stays ahead of the game, so it’s a useful tool to help your business keep up in this fast-paced market.

Saad Raja