If one had to summarize Apple Inc.’s marketing strategies in one word, it would have to be “differentiation.” Apple makes huge efforts to differentiate its products from its competitors. Here’s a snapshot of Apple’s marketing strategies.
Success by design
Apple’s product strategy is simple. It incorporates superior design in all its products so that these stand out from its competitors’ products. Apple’s design philosophy is based on minimalism. It removes clutter both from its products’ outward appearance as well as from their user interface. It is no coincidence that Apple users rave about the exceptional user interface of their iPads, iPods or iPhones. In addition, Apple tries to exert control over the users’ experience with its products. So, apart from the hardware, the company also develops the software so that the user has the best possible experience.
Apple is usually referred to as the technology industry’s “high-price” leader. However, of late, the company has been offering its products at lower price points in a clear effort to expand its market. Even so, Apple, at the launch of its products, targets early adopters with higher-than-competition prices. It initially adopts skimming strategy and later launches lower-price versions with fewer features (for instance, for the iPod) or launches a newer version while continuing to sell older versions at lower price points (for example, iPhone).
Apple eschews big-box retailers. Apple spends considerable resources to expand its stores so that it can get its prospects’ undivided attention. Also, it allows the company to exercise control over the sales process. According to Yukari I. Kane and Ian Sherr in “Secrets from Apple’s Genius Bar: Full Loyalty, No Negativity,” the staff at these “full service” stores are in fact trained not to sell. They are asked to provide solutions to customer’s “pain points.” The company has more than 300 Apple retail stores worldwide, with the majority of the stores in the U.S. In California alone, the company has more than 50 stores.
Apple’s promotion strategy is centered around creating hype. The late Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, was known for hyping up. His theatrical style and panache were successful in creating excitement before the launch of Apple products. These efforts have succeeded in making Apple products aspirational.