Apple is one of the most valuable companies in the world and what is the secret sauce to their success besides the great products that they have produced?
It all started with their late founder, Steve Jobs, who is well known for having a mesmerising effect on the people who work with him.
Most people like us never knew him but were touched by his commitment to innovation, which was always rooted in people. His approach to marketing was the same – always connect with people first in some way. Apple store
This drive to communicate technological innovation helped Jobs turn the company around from a quarterly $708 million loss in 1997 to one of the most successful companies of the 21st century.
Apart from standing out with their core values, design, and simplicity, they also focused on other tactics – which established them as key players. We’ve dissected them right here.
Here are 21 effective Apple marketing strategies we can learn from Apple’s marketing mix:
1) Consistency is Simpler than You Think
In an industry where everyone speaks in a ‘fully integrated campaign’ language, it’s easy to forget what consistency really means. We all know we’re meant to have it but are we really achieving this in a tangible and obvious way through all our channels?
Apple does this through simplicity. For instance, when releasing a new product, Apple will often share a simple headline such as ‘The biggest news in iPad since iPad’ on just a few of their owned channels. The result? Apple achieves a consistent message, not only on their own channels but also through much of the PR pickup.
2) Keeping Things Simple
Very few brands understand the importance of simplicity as much as Apple does. Technology products, in particular, are often guilty of distributing multiple messages across their marketing in an effort to especially communicate the price and benefits of a product.
Some of Apple’s early print advertisements are a perfect example of this, many of which feature a single image, such as an apple, and very few words. While it might seem counterintuitive, what Apple is actually doing is achieving maximum impact in an oversaturated market.
3) Straight to the Core
The ever-glorified Steve Jobs is largely attributed to the magnitude of Apple’s success for a variety of reasons. His natural aptitude for marketing is certainly one of them. From the company’s infancy, Jobs believed that ‘marketing is about values and it was this ethos that saw Apple’s set of values become completely intertwined in everything that the company did.
Values, such as focusing only on a few projects that are meaningful and valuable, were completely adhered to internally. The result? Apple is now one of the most valuable brands in history and has created some of the most meaningful products of the 21st century.
4) Tell Your Story
While Steve Jobs’ magnetism and charisma are legendary, the success of a company doesn’t totally hinge on the personality of its leader. The true success of how Jobs communicated was through his ability to tell a story.
Storytelling marketing is a powerful tool that connects products to people in a way that feels natural to all of us. Of course, when you think of Apple’s storytelling power, it’s the product launches that always come to mind.
5) Build the Suspense
The famous 2007 launch of the iPhone, was an incredible example of how Apple used storytelling and suspense to, not only pique interest but actually start a wave of fervent supporters that will line up at their Apple stores for the latest iPhone or other devices.
Apple knew that they had created something groundbreaking but, instead of making the launch solely about a product unveiling, they wove a story of suspense that took people from where they were, to where we are now, and where we’ll be in the future with Apple.
6) The Four Ps
While most of us retire our marketing textbooks as soon as we graduate, Apple is a prime example of why and how the mix of the four Ps is still an incredibly important principle in marketing.
Apple’s emphasis has always been on Products, followed by Promotion, Placement, and Price. They understand that in order to achieve everything else on this list – suspense, fandom, a brilliant brand – there needs to be a quality product that people can get in behind.
7) People Think in Images
Apple’s ability to connect with people, their needs, desires and the way they see the world, has long given the company its competitive edge. Early on, Apple recognized the insight that people think and see the world through pictures.
In the 2000s, Apple made a marketing decision to wield visual power and complement this with the short and compelling placement of copy. Some great examples of this can be found in the iPod advertisements during that decade.
8) Avoiding Channel Overload
Sticking to its mantra of keeping things simple, Apple tends to avoid trying to hit the consumer on as many channels as possible. While the marketing employees surely breathe a sigh of relief at this tactic, it also means that the consumer is not constantly bombarded with the same message.
Apple recognizes that choosing the right channels, like PR and high-level product placement, can produce more of an effect than the frequency of PPC or other forms of advertising.
9) Go Big or Go Home
In the same way that Apple chooses where to place its products in the hands of the right celebrities and influencers, they have also employed the marketing tactic of making a single, large gesture, one that can’t be ignored by those who see it. A perfect example of this was in 1984 when Apple purchased the entire 40-page advertising space in Newsweek to promote the new Macintosh, their latest Apple computer.
10) Find Uniqueness, Stay There
A product or service’s unique selling proposition is always a go-to benefit in any marketer’s arsenal. Apple’s innovative designs have always set them apart, be it their technicolour range of computers, or the sleek, contemporary design of today’s iPhones.
Apple incorporates its USP from day one of its thought process on any product, rather than creating something and expecting a marketing team to find it.
11) Don’t Overlook the Design
Regardless of what your unique selling proposition is, the design should never be overlooked in any product or service. Apple is an expert at making design tell its brand story and allow them to have a premium pricing strategy.
They exhibit this from their products to their visually pared-back marketing, and some might even argue about Steve Jobs’ iconic look of the simple black turtleneck and jeans. They’re consistent with their sleek design, and it resonates with their audience.
12) Start a Revolution
In what is widely hailed as the greatest Superbowl advertisement of all time, Apple’s ‘1984’ saw consumers purchase $155 million worth of Macintoshes in the months following its Superbowl airing.‘1984’ tapped into something iconic and thought-provoking for the American public.
In creating something risky and controversial, Apple positioned itself as the brand of choice for those who identify with defiance.
13) Be a Thought Leader
Regardless of what your unique selling proposition is, the design should never be overlooked in any product or service. Apple is an expert at making design tell its brand story.
They exhibit this from their products to their visually pared-back marketing, and some might even argue Steve Jobs’ iconic look of the simple black turtleneck and jeans. They’re consistent with their sleek design, and it resonates with their audience.
14) Front your Brand
In much the same way that people respond to images and stories, people also respond to people. It’s evident that, with the loss of a visionary like Steve Jobs, Apple has lost some of its charisma as a brand. Jobs emulated everything on this list and everything that the brand stood for.
While it’s rare for companies to have someone as impressive as Jobs, the sentiment should still be there when picking ambassadors, influencers and employees to represent the values of your organization.
15) Speak their Language
While many technology companies try to impress their customers with jargon they clearly won’t understand, Apple takes a different route. They are firmly aware that we live in an age of knowledge, something their products equip people with, and therefore customers want to know about what they’re buying.
Phrases like ‘edge to edge glass’ creates an image in the customer’s head that they can actually understand.
16) Be the Glad Wrap of your Industry
This one is, of course, every marketer’s dream. Your brand as the name that is synonymous with the product is the word of mouth advertising every time it is spoken. Apple achieves this through simplicity and consistency.
Their brand name itself is simple and clear. Their product names are catchy and easy to say or shorten. And their PR and communications ensure that they get the ball rolling by leading by example themselves and also amplifying through Apple store employees.
17) Empathize with your Audience
Apple uses insightful marketing tactics to understand the true desires or needs of its target market. While this might seem like common sense, it’s something that is often overlooked by the time a product goes from an idea as part of a business strategy, to be on the shelf.
From the design, both inside and out, to the purpose of the product, to the way it is promoted, Apple constantly thinks of how consumers want to be perceived by others, and how a product will make them feel the best example of that is how they design their apple store to provide the best customer experience when their users shop there for their apple products.
18) Connect on an Emotional Level
In a similar way to speaking and empathizing with their audience, Apple always makes sure they are connecting with people on an emotional level through their advertising. Engaging emotion, not just reason, creates memorable moments with customers.
The customer is the product in a way – take, for example, their ‘Shot on iPhone’ campaign. This featured many happy Apple customers using the product the way it was intended, and, most importantly, in a very real and charming way.
19) Streamline the Clutter
As part of its core principles, Apple commits to only concentrating on a few things, and saying no to anything that will interfere with this value.
Apple achieves this by ensuring that its set of values points them in the right direction – they decide to only make meaningful products that will benefit the world. Anything that doesn’t serve to achieve this, goes out the window.
Their Apple retail store is also a clear display of this point as they tend to use seamless glass for the design of the store, giving it a clean and clutter-free space.
20) Hire the Right People
Apple clearly hires the right people when it comes to technological innovation and design. However, they also ensure that their brand resonates with their target audience, those people who want to be perceived as innovative themselves by association, by hiring people on the ground who fit their mould.
Take the operators at the Genius bar, for instance – each and every one of them fits the smart, laid-back, and friendly category that Apple customers themselves identify with. In doing this, Apple is extending its brand on the ground as well as through the product itself.
21) Hub it Up
With so many devices and platforms on the go, Apple recognizes, not only the need for compatible hubs but also the desire. It’s the tech form of an upsell, where people feel like they need the full set – the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
Not to mention the software and apps such as Apple Music that can round out the set. Apple recognizes the satisfaction people feel when they have a compatible hub and makes it desirable for them to invest in Apple products in order to achieve this.
The key takeaway here is: unique marketing strategies will make you stand out in a sea of competitors and create a huge crowd of loyal customers.
The beauty of Apple’s marketing tactics is that they are grounded in thinking about what people want, need, or desire, and finding ways to make their daily challenges better.
The truth behind these tactics can be scaled to any company. For example, while it’s unlikely you can place your product in the hands of a movie star, yet, you can start approaching those who wield influence in your industry.
Use the thinking behind this list as an essential checklist, and help bring your brand to life in a way that actually resonates with people.
Apple’s success story is a classic example of what great marketing strategies can do for your brand.
Remember that not everything will work for everyone, so you might have to come up with customized strategies to get the job done. Get started today!