Apple’s campaign to introduce the iPhone, which combines a cellphone with an iPod with Internet access, may be the most successful marketing effort ever. Just prior to the product’s release, it was estimated that two-thirds of the population of the U.S. was aware of the device. The hype surrounding the introduction was phenomenal. Over the six months prior to the product’s introduction it was the subject of 14,000 articles, 311,000 blog posts and it generated 69 million hits on Google.
Apple’s marketing efforts have always been a cut above the rest, starting with their famous 1984 Super Bowl commercial. Marketing experts feel that the iPhone campaign even surpassed such legendary marketing efforts as the introduction of the Mustang by Ford in 1964 and Microsoft’s launch of Windows 95. The iPhone generated more pre-sale media coverage than any other product, according to Al Ries, a leading marketing strategist. (Bloomberg.com) “Ask yourself how many companies can announce a product six months in advance and not just sustain public interest but even build the frenzy. It’s staggering to me,” commented Jeremy Horwitz of iLounge. (NY Times)
The true measure of a marketing campaign’s success boils down to the sales it generates. And all the hype is translating into significant sales. It’s estimated that Apple, along with its marketing partner AT&T, will sell 3 million phones initially. First year sales are expected to exceed $2.5 billion. Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple, is targeting to sell 10 million phones in 2008 and capture 1% of the global market. And Apple is expected to enjoy a gross profit margin in excess of 55% on their higher end $599 iPhone!
How did Apple do it? They not only created a revolutionary product, but they also were able to create an incredible amount of buzz, through a highly effective teaser campaign. Jobs introduced the product at Macworld Expo prior to the launch. Apple didn’t give the product to the press initially, so they had to write about it and then they wrote about it again when they were given the product just prior to the launch. (Michael Stelzner’s Blog)
Apple then utilized video clips on the Internet and a breakthrough TV commercial that ran during the Academy Awards called “hello” with stars like Marilyn Monroe saying “Hello” to announce the release in June. Subsequent ads showed close-ups shots demonstrating what people can do on the phone. “It gave me the sense that I was actually experiencing the product,” said Matt Wills from the advertising firm Martin Agency. “They’ve spent some money on advertising ($100 million according to JupiterResearch), but certainly not a lot,” according to Ries. “The PR, the hype, the publicity, it makes the advertising more visible.” (Bloomberg.com)
The formula for Apple’s extraordinary success is really quite simple. They produce ground-breaking products that consumers want and no one is better at advertising and marketing them.
Peter Koeppel is Founder and President of Koeppel Direct, a leader in DRTV direct response television, online, print and radio media buying, marketing and campaign managment. With a Wharton MBA and over 25 years of marketing and advertising experience, Peter has helped Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and entrepreneurs develop direct marketing campaigns to increase profits.