Steve Jobs didn’t have a master’s degree, and he certainly wasn’t an engineer, but he excelled at marketing. Those marketing skills propelled Apple into the top spot and turned the company around from near bankruptcy.
Apple’s marketing has become a benchmark for other companies that want to reach similar heights of recognition and revenue. Whether you are a top tier content marketing agency or a SaaS (software as a service) product, you can learn a thing or two from Apple. Here are 10 big lessons:
1. Keep it simple.
Customers and prospects don’t need complex marketing campaigns that overwhelm them with information. Apple understood this concept early on and made sure that their marketing was as simple as possible. They took out product feature lists, price, voice-overs and special effects.
In Apple marketing, there isn’t typically any information on where and how to buy their products. Instead, the ads and other marketing messages are very straightforward — typically showing the product and letting it speak for itself. Leave out the flashy noise, strip down the content to the bare minimum, and display simple graphics that translate your message.
There is no need for jargon or technical terms that take away from what you are really offering your audience.
2. Use product placement.
Apple has the budget to get its devices on television shows and movies, but it’s fine to start smaller too. Any marketer can place a product with an influencer who can then share it on their social media sites like Instagram or Snapchat. Once an influencer shares your product and shows their followers how beneficial it is, the seed is planted and leads are made.
3. Leverage reviews.
Apple has done well getting reviews from its customers — and you can too. A free trial or sample can be offered in exchange for a testimonial or a review that appears on social media or a review website. Many times, customers are happy to give a review if you just ask them. A coupon or some other exclusive deal is icing on the cake.
Make sure each testimonial has the person’s name and image or avatar. If it’s a B2B relationship, be sure to add a link back to their website for further credibility.
4. Focus on unique value proposition rather than price.
A big part of Apple’s marketing strategy is that they never get involved in price wars. They stick to their pricing albeit it is often much higher than any of the competition. They can do this because they focus on touting their unique value proposition that no other competitor has been able to emulate — beautiful products that work straight from the box.
Apple also focuses on providing a great user experience with cool features and extensive applications that put it in a product class by itself. Whatever device Apple is offering, they make sure the customer feels like it’s worth paying the higher price. This method of thought can be used to market any product or service environment. Just focus on what sets you apart from the rest of the market.
5. Stand for something.
Customers want to know that you represent something — core valuesthat they can see in action in order to feel comfortable buying and using your products. This stand goes beyond just the product. It must be apparent in everything else connected to it — the packaging, retail appearance and marketing collateral. The messages must repeat those values throughout all platforms.
Messaging consistency reinforces the beliefs of your audience; that your brand can always be counted on to deliver what they stand for. You need to look at everything related to your marketing efforts and make sure there is a unified look and feel.
6. Create experiences, not just products.
Anyone can make a product, but not many can create an experience for the customer that is memorable and entices them to come back again and again. From product launches that feel like going to a rock concert, to movie-style ads, to stores and online shops that revolutionize the shopping experience — Apple invented the idea of customer experiences.
Part of creating an experience that customers will remember is to use the art of storytelling to generate the experience and add sensory dimensions to the overall delivery. This immerses the customer in what they are doing, making it feel less like just shopping for a product. Instead, Apple has made looking for and buying computers, tablets and other devices exciting.
7. Speak to audience using their language.
Because Apple has studied their customers intently, they know how to speak to them in their own language, which creates a deeper bond and encourages more sales.
By avoiding terms and explanations that only serve to confuse and overwhelm, Apple has found a way to reach customers on a new level that the competition still has not figured out. Focus on studying your customer, how they interact and talk on social media, and speak to those aspects of your product or service that they are most interested in, and use the words they would use.
8. Develop an aura and mystery around what you are doing.
The best marketing approach Apple has used is to create mystery about what they are doing next with product launches and announcements that keep what they are up to under wraps until the big unveiling.
This turns customers into rabid fans and gets them pumped up in a way that has them buying whatever it is rather than stopping to think if they even need what Apple is introducing. However, Apple has gone even farther by leaking certain information and starting rumors to further stir the mystique around a product introduction, They really know how to stir up the audience.
Usually, marketers tell their customers everything about a product, but Apple creates more excitement by withholding information and making everyone speculate.
9. Appeal to emotions.
Apple has created evangelists out of their customers primarily because they have been able to reach and hold on to them at an emotional level. Apple’s ads show happy people having a great time with their iPads and iPods rather than focusing on memory size or battery life.
The more their visual content appeals to emotions like happiness, enjoyment and inclusion, the more likely that content will be shared with others and generate the viral movement that Apple has leveraged. This can be emulated by any business niche or company through strong visuals, emotionally charged language and a positive tone as the basis for all content.
10. Use visuals.
We live in a world of content where people are bombarded with words all the time. That’s why videos have become so popular. There’s far fewer words and more images that can make a greater impact upon the customer experience.
Apple even had ads with only 10 words because they understand that the words, especially the excess of words, is not what resonates with customers and prospects. When creating marketing campaigns, fewer words mean more to the audience, especially when they are given images that resonate on a deeper emotional level.
Apple has a marketing strategy that continues to drive growing sales throughout the globe. Any company can do the same if they apply these lessons within their marketing strategy, and continue to use these tactics for both new and existing products and services.
Mohammed Arshad is a marketing and business development manager based in the United Arab Emirates. Connect with him on LinkedIn, where this article was first published.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.