How can Apple sell their products for a much higher price than the competitors? They never involved in a price war either. What is the secret? Let’s find out the top 5 takeaways from Apple’s marketing strategy.
What could you learn from Apple’s marketing strategy?
If you are running a business (or, thinking of starting a new business), you can learn an excellent marketing lesson about how to create a brand that can sell itself.
Apple’s marketing strategy is NOT based on the concepts of “Selling” the product. Their marketing strategy is focused more on “Creating an experience.”
From their product design to marketing materials, Apple always promotes an “experience” that their customers can indulge in. And, once you caught up with this experience, you buy their product, become loyal to the brand, and you keep spending more on that brand. That is why Apple’s marketing strategy is so darn good!
In this post, we’ll discuss the top 5 takeaways from Apple’s marketing strategy.
The secrets of Apple’s marketing strategy
Well, they are not secrets. It is sitting right in front of you. All you need to do is to create a concise analysis of Apple’s marketing strategy to get inspiration for your business.
1. The top takeaway from Apple’s marketing strategy – The simplicity
Yes, you have already seen this. From top to bottom, Apple promotes simplicity. Their product looks simple, UIs are simple, and most importantly, the marketing materials are simple too.
They don’t overwhelm the customers with choices. If it is an iPhone, you got maximum two or three varieties. And, even between these variants, the options you have to make are simple. For example, take a look at these comparisons between iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 pro.
Even a highly technical aspect like battery life is presented in simple terms to make it easy to choose between the two variants. You don’t have to go through a list of complicated specs to make a choice.
The importance of avoiding choice overload
In 2000, two psychologists (Sheen Iyengar and Mark Lepper) conducted research to identify how choices can affect sales. They set up two displays in a shopping mall with samples of jam for testing. In one display, they had 6 types, and in the other one, they had 24 types of jam. Then, they asked people to taste the samples and gave discount vouchers to purchase the type they liked.
The outcome of this research revealed an excellent insight about how too many choices can severely affect your sales. There was a 30% more sales from the display with 6 types of Jam.
Apple’s marketing strategy is also based on simple and limited choices. They don’t overwhelm the customers with choices.
The minimalistic approach to maintain the focus
Also, they always use a minimalistic approach to avoid distractions and to keep the focus on the things that really matter. For example, check these screenshots from their website.
What was the first thing that pops into your mind?
Of course, it must be an urge to buy their product. But, apart from that, what else did you notice about Apple’s marketing strategy?
As you could see, there are no flashing signs, lengthy descriptions, and too much content. It is always the photo and a simple sales copy. Even when it comes to the technical specs, it is presented in an extremely minimal way.
Also, you must have noticed that they don’t focus on the buy now button. Instead of popping up the buy-now button; they encourage the visitors to watch the product videos. This is a clear indication that Apple’s marketing strategy is focused on creating engagement through experience, and not to directly “sell” their products.
This brings us to the second takeaway of Apple’s marketing strategy – Creating awareness.
2. Creating awareness – The main focus of Apple’s marketing strategy
As we have been discussing, Apple’s marketing strategy is not focused on “selling” their products. They always go on full steam to create awareness.
People love to buy stuff. But, no one likes to be sold to. That is why Apple’s marketing strategy is focused on increasing engagement and creating awareness. Once the potential customers get to know about the product, they start finding the ways to buy that product.
Also, listen to a couple of keynotes about Apple’s product releases. They talk only about the benefits and better features. They are not emphasising on the price or where to buy them. Even if you check the above iPhone 11 and pro product comparison, the price came as the last point.
The marketing lesson behind this strategy
You can start following this particular marketing strategy from Apple in your business too. Try to adjust your eCommerce site to guide your visitors to learn more about your product. Take the focus away from the price tag, and try to tell a story about your products.
While you do so, make sure to test your results with AB testing. You have to find the right balance based on your business. For example, if you are selling generic products like ball-point pens, there is no point of overloading your visitors with too much product information. Otherwise, it will become too distractive, and you will lose the sale. Don’t let that happen.
3. The third takeaway from Apple’s marketing strategy – Using user reviews and influencers to create the buzz
Surprisingly, Apple spends around 1% of its sales on advertising. So, how can they maintain their extensive visibility?
Apparently, Apple’s marketing strategy leverages two key methods to create the buzz for their products.
- Product placement with celebrities and popular shows
- Leverage the power of positive reviews
Testifying at the Apple-Samsung trial in 2012, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, confirmed Apple’s non-marketing marketing strategy.
According to Bloomberg,
Apple has “spent decades strengthening its subtle but powerful grip over Hollywood, and unlike many companies, says it never pays for its products to appear on television or in movies.” Schiller, discussing the iPhone, said Apple decided not to pay for any advertising during a brief period after the device was introduced in January 2007 and when it went on sale later in the year.
This confirms that Apple is using Influencer marketing for their products.
But, as a small business owner, how can you use this tactic?
Of course, you won’t be able to place your products in Hollywood movies or tv shows. But, still, you can pick a rising star on social media as an influencer. For example, if you sell fitness products, you can find plenty of influencers with a few thousands of followers promote your products on different networks.
Let me tell you a quick story of how I leveraged the power of influencer marketing for one of my dropshipping stores.
When I first started dropshipping, I had a limited budget for marketing. Somehow, I read about influencer marketing and decided to try that strategy to make some sales. At that time, social media influencers were not that popular. So, what I did was, I asked a girl in my Facebook friend list to promote one of my jewellery products in her profile. In return, I gifted her free jewellery pack as a payment.
She just posted a photo of this jewellery pack on Facebook and added a link to my store. Guess who raked up some decent amount of money with this simple tactic?
Nowadays, there are influencer marketplaces to find social media influencers. Check this guide about how to make money on Instagram. There I have listed some of those marketplaces.
So, guys, I know that influencer marketing works. Apple’s marketing strategy is also leveraging the power of influencer marketing. So, you can do it too.
How do they use reviews and testimonials?
Apple’s marketing strategy is extensively leveraging user reviews and testimonials to build awareness. Do you remember Apple’s ad campaign “behind the Mac”? In this Ad campaign, in videos of roughly one minute long, creative professionals and regular consumers explain how mac has helped them for their achievements.
This is clearly a customer testimonial of their product. And, Apple’s marketing strategy has crafted a more creative way of publishing their customer testimonials.
According to Nielsen, 92% of the people trust the recommendations from the people they know. This can be the recommendations from family or friends. And, 70% of the people trust opinions posted online. These can be product reviews.
So, as a small business owner, you can leverage the power of reviews too. All you have to do is, add a review section on your site or social media page and encourage your customers to review your products.
In the beginning, you can offer free trial products/ services to receive positive customer testimonials. When you add customer testimonials, remember to use an image (avatar) of the person, and their names. In B2B, use the website link of the client with the testimonial. This creates the authenticity of the testimonials.
4. The fourth takeaway of Apple’s marketing strategy – Speak your customer’s language
I am going to reuse the screenshot about the comparison between iPhone 11 and pro max. Did you notice how they have described the battery capacity?
Actually, it makes sense not to mention the real mAh value in this location. Likewise, you can eliminate a lot of jargons to convey your marketing message without losing the engagement efficiently.
In this guide about creating an online store, we have used some other real-life examples of the use customer’s language in your marketing copy.
Here is another excellent example of how Apple’s marketing strategy delivers its message in simple terms.
They have used the sentence “It is faster than most PC laptops” to describe the use of A12X Bionic chipset, neural engine, 5 trillion operations per second, and AI learning.
Now, how can you understand your customer’s language? Actually, you should understand your buyer at the very beginning of your eCommerce journey. That is why I always say, marketing should start even before the product design. You can identify your customer’s language by defining your target market and target audience.
Once you understand your target market and target audience (to whom you are going to sell your products), you speak their language in your marketing strategy.
Further reading: We have discussed this point extensively in this article about 5 Common Mistakes of Product Description Writing in eCommerce. There we have discussed how to write the perfect product descriptions that can sell.
5. Building a community – The fifth takeaway from Apple’s marketing strategy
Over the years, Apple’s marketing strategy has successfully created one of the largest and most hardcore fan bases. Apple’s marketing strategy has created an urge for people to join their community.
One of my most beloved ads is Apple’s think different ad (1997). It is so inspirational and unleashes the rebel inside you.
This ad creates an urge to join the “crazy” group. And Apple has done a great job subtly integrating their brand with the different think group. When you watch this ad, subconsciously, you feel like all other competitive brands are old-fashioned and not rebellious enough to change the world.
So, this ad urges the rebel inside you to join Apple’s community.
Now, let us see, as a small scale eCommerce entrepreneur, how can you integrate the same marketing strategy for your business?
We have a series of posts related to audience building strategies for your business. Check them out.
The main idea behind building a community is to create a presumption in your audience that you (business) understand your customers, and value them. You can achieve this goal by frequently involving them with your business. You can ask questions and get their ideas about your products or services. This will create positive interactions within your community.
Also, remember to comment and reply to the messages from your community. Always try to initiate conversations and bring in their participation. So, they will help you by spreading your brand message within their networks.
Final thoughts about Apple’s marketing strategy
Apple has demonstrated an unparalleled growth in their business. Apart from creating great products, Apple’s marketing strategies have contributed to this outstanding growth to its fullest.
As we have discussed over and over again, Apple’s marketing is flawlessly converting their casual customers to their brand ambassadors. So, Apple products sell themselves.
The idea behind this article is not to encourage you to copy Apple’s marketing strategies. But, as small-scale business owners, there are a few marketing tactics we can learn from Apple’s marketing strategy. And, we can use the scaled-down versions of Apple’s marketing strategies to grow our businesses.
Please comment below and let me know what else you think about Apple’s marketing.