The art of the product release is something that many companies still have trouble coming to grips with. We see this across several verticals. Media management and timing is arguably one of the most influential aspects of a campaign and can help to subtly influence the psyche of the consumer and positively or negatively affect the launch of a product.
We can also draw several parallels to event marketing as well. Timing truly is everything. The time that a product is announced should cover several bases. This includes ensuring that your message is targeted and the call to action is not only feasible, but likely. Everything from picking a time where you know your target audience is willing and able to listen to ensuring they are connected to you by means most conducive to react is highly important.
Attendance to an event may or may not be a concern. If the event details a product launch, it may not be as important, but there are still several other aspects to keep in mind. For instance – What are you doing to promote the product or service after the event? When will it be ready? What is the time between the announcement and release? Does the timing allow you to dominate the press or blogosphere or will you be overwhelmed by another announcement within your industry or vertical that takes precedent?
This touches on several aspects of marketing, both traditional and digital. Whether you’re looking at a retention strategy or outreach, it’s important that your timelines are conducive to a positive consumer experience and take advantage of the psychological effects of a quickly moving, high turnover market.
Apple has learned this very well. Like clock-work they release their updated devices. Everyone knows when to expect updates. Apple makes consumers wait 1 year for a new device or version and after a highly publicized press event, immediately begin to sell the device to take advantage of the excitement among consumers. When they don’t sell immediately, it’s been a relatively quick introduction into the market. If the device went on sale a week or two after the event, they’ve granted limited access to the device and increased it over the course of the interim period to garner and maintain excitement. The company does not wear the device out making it outdated by time it’s released. It promptly plays on the emotion and immediate reaction of consumers to purchase the devices.
Adversely, Motorola is not so good in this department. On September 5th, they had announced their devices ahead of Apple’s. This ensured Motorola’s dominance in the blogosphere, a great move on their part. By pre-cursing Apple’s release by 1 full week, this thoughtful timing allowed Motorola a dominant voice online and ensured they would not be overshadowed by another device on the market. This worked out very well, and Motorola (and Nokia too) enjoyed a full week or full press coverage throughout the web.
Many felt that Motorola did make a few mistakes. They offered consumers too many choices and diluted the attention that each could have gotten by increasing the quantity of their targets. They announced 3 devices. 2 of those are high end (and virtually the same) and 1 is a mid ranged device. They made the mid range device available immediately. The problem with this was that consumers already knew that a better version was on its way. Most consumers are waiting to see both to make a decision. This automatically hindered the immediate sales potential of the $99, Razr M.
Secondly, they didn’t announce a release date for the other two devices (which they should have tested and picked between, rather than releasing both). Motorola gave a vague ‘before the holidays’ answer when questioned about the release. This gives them a window of 3 months in which they can release their device without any further details. The event was anti-climatic. Giving the consumer the information required to make an educated decision is one of the first things they should have considered. The release date or approximate release date of the device is certainly one of those.
What were the consequences? Rather than competing with Apple, they let those with expiring cell phone contracts buy Apple first and left their device to be an after-thought. Nearly 4 weeks after the announcement, Motorola has yet to make the official announcement on its availability. To no one’s surprise, users are getting sick of waiting and are left out in the dark. With no timeline to adhere to, users have continued to buy Apple’s new device and not wait for Motorola to come through.
Weeks after its release, the Apple device is still very popular and still selling out at retail outlets across the country. On the other side, Motorola is now rumored to be dealing with an antenna issue on their new device that can delay the launch even further. The issue is similar to that of the one faced on the iPhone 4, dubbed ‘Antenna Gate’.
After the much publicized issue with the iPhone 4, surely Motorola should have known about this design probability and should have accounted for it prior to the announcement. This is a huge oversight and one that may delay the release of the product for a significant amount of time. The device was clearly not ready to be released when Motorola had their press event.
They chose to rush the conference to beat out Apple for press coverage and instead showed up to the game too early without something fit for market release. Even worse, Motorola has not displayed a strong strategy for keeping users engaged or interested in their products since its announcement. Seems like Motorola should look at Apple or Samsung to see how it’s done.
Up until recently, the most valuable company in the history of modern business was Microsoft, with market valuation at $620.58 billion back in the 1999 – when they were doing things the right way… but since the evolution of the iPhone, the iPad and now possibly the Apple TV, the “most valuable company in history” throne has been taken by Apple, valued at approximately $623 billion.
Valued at this amount, Apple is worth more than Google, Amazon, Ebay and Facebook combined! Below are their market evaluations taken from Yahoo! Finance and visualized by the statistics portal Statista:
Even if the numbers are not the exact match to the real world situation and might not be properly adjusted for inflation, they are pretty close to the real value of the companies…
Why is Apple so different and what is the company doing right?
Here are few things out of many that I think Apple is doing JUST right:
1) They do a great market research and know what customers really want – and they know how to present it!
- When Bill Gates introduced the tablet PC, the world didn’t really care, but when Jobs re-introduced the improved “tablet PC” iPad the world went crazy…
2) Understanding marketing and NOT cutting-out of marketing budgets when market goes in downturn
- Apple understands the marketing industry very good, from guerrilla marketing to social media, they are staying on top of things. They are even controlling brand exposure and marketing efforts internationally – every campaign that goes must follow strict brand standards (like for example> No Flash banners) and must be approved by the corresponding marketing department.
3) Investing into R&D
- Apple set the standards for many things, they created modern products that people adore… in order to do this, a lot of hrs need to go into research and product development and Apple makes sure of that.
4) Pushing the limits and don’t applying the “regular rules”
- Like Steve Jobs, many people in Apple are visionaries that don’t believe in the regular set of rules and are prepared to shift the market and consumer’s perceptions.
5) Believing in quality over quantity
- Apple believes in quality over quantity, even though they do have huge factories in China and all around the world, they would rather make people wait for their desired Apple product then to go with higher supply.
Ofc, no need to say that many other things make Apple such a great company – from trade operations to what not… but I outlined my personal favs above.
Last night, the former CEO and co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, died. Not only that Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, but also the world has lost an amazing human being.
In moments like these there is no much to say… so I’ll just quote one of the old Apple ads:
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The rebels. The troublemakers. The ones who see things differently. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
The newer version of iPhone is expected to be thinner and lighter than the iPhone 4 and said to have an 8-mega pixel camer. The iPhone will operate with Qualcomm Inc.’s wireless baseband chips, a person familiar with the matter tells the Wall Street Journal.
A source at one of Apple’s suppliers says the company is looking to meet its goal of 25M units by the end of this year-2011. Apple said it sold 18.65 million iPhones in the fiscal second quarter, which ended March 26. Last month after returning from a trip to Taiwan, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty said Apple will commence production on the next version of the iPhone this August.
Shipments of the new iPhone could be delayed if Hon Hai can’t improve its yield rate as the new iPhone is “complicated and difficult to assemble, the WSJ says.
This is big news for the United States, where unlocked phones aren’t always readily available in stores for purchase and we get locked into a carrier.
Apple updated their US online store on Tuesday offering carrier unlocked models of the GSM iphone 4 – starting from $649.
Both white and black versions are available, with the 16GB and 32GB models priced at $649 and $749.
The black models are shipping in 1-3 business days while a white model will take 3-5 days. US customers can choose from AT&T and T-Mobile Networks, though data speeds will be slower on EDGE Protocol and Verizon’s CDMA Model is not available at this time.
When travelling abroad, US iPhone users who don’t want to be locked with AT&T contract, freedom from contracts and free with international roaming charges get a Prepaid SIM card from local corner store.
Over the past decade, nobody has made a bigger impact on technology consumer products than the makers at Apple. They have created iconic products across several channels and are now looking to set the consumer marketplace for mobile technology with the iAd.
The iAd, like mobile advertising, is at an embryonic stage. Media professionals want to see if the iAd can lead the way in optimizing the mobile experience. The iAd debuted earlier this summer in July, promising a new wave. Apple CEO Steve Jobs claims that the “iAd offers advertisers the emotion of TV with the interactivity of the web, and offers a new way to explore ads without being hijacked out of their favorite apps.” Apple has engaged partnerships with several leading corporations, including Unilever, Inc, JCPenney Co, Best Buy, Inc., and Citigroup Inc. As mentioned, the standout features of the iAd include the delivery of interactive advertising without the user leaving or closing the application being experienced. It’s far from a trend, though.
Apple likes setting a precedent. They like to start with developers who wish to work inside The App Store. One example of a recent iAd was a creation for Nissan’s Leaf automobile, where the user can shake the device to see the vehicle’s different colors. The definition of interactive technology is widening with this creation along with the Microsoft Kinect, the new video gaming console where the user must incorporate physical motion to engage with the content. Marketers must monitor these developments in the future and develop advertising for content where not only is the consumer mobile, but in motion.
Apple executives have set a campaign in motion across the pond. Last week, the iAd announced a December launch in the United Kingdom and France with several brands. Some of them include L’Oreal, Louis Vuitton, Absolute Radio, and Perrier. Since its July release, the iAd has earned a market share of 21%. These figures also ride on the emergence of iPad as another mobile device that sets a new market: the tablet. Again, Apple will handle the production of all the creative tools for European partnerships, but offer them as a free download for developers. They employed this strategy in late July with the “iAd for Developers,” where developers can create a simple static banner ad. Apple is charging developers 25¢ per click-through. A click-through is when a user clicks on a banner, causing an ad to pop up. It will be interesting to see the feedback from European brands in the near future regarding their experiences with Apple.
Apple also plans to partner with The Dentsu Group, a Japanese advertising agency based in Tokyo starting in 2011. Apple again remains heavily involved with the hosting and delivery of its own iAds, but cedes the creative and selling through the Japanese marketplace to Dentsu. This is the first known agency working with Apple, and it is interesting that they are using Japan as a test market. Japan has a longer history of mobile technology and its consumers possess a strong cache of knowledge about its development. They are a culture that responds well to creative innovation, so the developments could be noteworthy.
As the mobile advertising industry develops a standard platform for software implementation, and a scaling ladder for pay-per-click advertising budgets, Apple’s reach with the iAd across global markets is obvious. The brand oozes with credibility and edge, exemplified in its minimalist product design. They are the cool, smart kid on campus. Corporations desperately seek that glow with a more frugal consumer base.
Despite that frugality, Apple knows that consumers are willing to pay a premium for their products. Their durability and innovative techniques cannot be understated. The iAd has an opportunity to legitimize the mobile advertising industry, and its rising market share percentages are a testament. Thus, corporations are willing to use the iAd’s campaign as an unabashed press release. It remains to be seen whether they deploy the tools necessarily for innovation, but that task is left to the web developers.
In an early strike, television rivals, set with websites that spool their programming such as Hulu, are balking to offer the same liberty for Google’s nascent television module. Seeing the cannibalization of music from Google’s legendary search algorithms, networks are smart to hold onto their valued assets until an appropriate structure of online advertising can be developed. Google in turn has asked network televisions to do a quality search engine optimization to ferret out piracy sites. They have also offered to do an automatic deletion of unauthorized results. The model is still in construction, so return to your regularly scheduled program.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs ripped the tablet competition earlier this week, saying that smaller models are not capable of creating good mobile applications. In his words, the 7-inch tablet is “DOA. Dead On Arrival.” Other people aren’t so sure, thinking that everyone could find a niche for their device. It’s clear that Jobs is feeling some heat from Android’s burgeoning rise in the mobile sector for both smartphones and hardware. The MacBook Air was released this week with a new Mac App store that lists guidelines for development. Earlier this year, that move would have been unthinkable. The tablet competition is interesting right now.
After a lot of press snippets and some kinks ironed out, H-P releases its own tablet, The Slate. As mentioned earlier, the consumer demand is unclear, but HP will give it a shot. The device runs on a Windows 7 platform and has a USB Port with a megapixel camera. Here’s a longer write-up on Endgaget with a short video. Check there for a future recap.
As Google still fights for its web marketing presence in the People’s Republic, Map World was released for the populance by The State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping. The website is quite rudimentary, looking like it was created back in 1999. It promises to possess millions of topographic images taken via satellite of the global parameters. Google Earth does this scanning in milliseconds. I don’t know who is playing who here, but Google Earth is still the champion of online map surveillance.
The USPS, in response to a ruling made on September 30 by the Postal Regulatory Commission, is not leaving their demand for an exigent price increase to grow cold. After the USPS files with the Court of Appeals, then other parties can make their case for either side. Direct marketers have already sides with the Postal Regulatory Commission, claiming that the law was interpreted correctly regarding the ability to set postage pricing under extraordinary circumstances. This ruling could be crucial for philanthropic organizations that depend on direct marketing to engage loyal donorbases. A continuing shift to e-mail marketing could be in the cards if the ruling is overturned.
That’s the Blue News. Have a good weekend.
Today will be a hot one in the city. Temperatures are predicted to reach 95 degrees with a forecast of thunderstorms. It will not deter the Apple lovers from purchasing the iPhone 4 at the various locales around town. Bloggers have speculated that this version is the interactive media gem that Apple has wanted to deliver. The pixelations and camera phone claim to be vastly improved along with the overall hardware design. I still believe that iPhone needs to expand their carrier reach to deliver a better communications experience rather than interactive one. Analysts have pushed along rumors of an alliance with Verizon and T-Mobile, but it’s all been much ado about nothing so far. AT&T has just not cut it as a service provider. Peter Ha and other writers go into much more depth on their reviews at Techland. Follow them here.
Hewlett-Packard must really be tired of Apple gaining all the headlines. Yet again, the tech giant responds with a bold move. They purchased the flailing smartphone manufacturer Palm earlier this week for $1 billion in cash in order to gain traction with the consumer technology market. Apple leads the race for their strong integration of hardware, software, service, and namely, content. HP has a vision of integrating Palm’s webOS software into consumer devices such as touchscreen tablets and smartphones.
Other firms such as Cisco and Dell are making efforts to keep up, but since they rely on Microsoft and Google for mobile software, profitability is in question. If HP has any chance to catch Apple, they must get developers who are committed to developing strong content. They can create new products and market them in any way, but content is king. Apple is head and shoulders above all right now with the iPhone and iPad. For Palm, the merger is a saving grace. They made several marketing errors with the Pre and Pixi. HP’s capital prowess will allow them to regroup. Or not, according to this writer. Either way, we’ll watch this race long after the Kentucky Derby is done.
• Multitasking: It’s here, finally. It’s handled with a simple task switcher: double click your home button, and you get a list of running apps. Select, switch, done. Multitasking is limited to audio, VoIP (Skype!) and GPS apps.
• Fast app switching: With iPhone 4’s multitasking, most apps aren’t actually running in the background—just certain functions of the app, like an audio stream or a GPS lock. But! All apps can now be frozen, in full, so that when you reopen them, they’re restored to exactly the state they were in when they were closed.
•Per-app SMS and alerts: Notifications can be sent from apps on the phone, not just remote services. In other words, if something important happens in an app you’ve opened and navigated away from, a notification will pop up in whatever app you’re using at the time.
• App folders: Now you can sort your apps into folders! That’s homscreen clutter solved, then.
• A new Mail App: Unified inboxes! Multiple Exchange accounts! Fast inbox switching! Threaded messages! This is actually a huge deal, since the iPhone’s mail client has barely changed since launch in 2007.
• iBooks: Oh hey, that iBooks ebook reader app and accompanying store from the iPad has ambled on down to the iPhone. Nice, since you can now take your books with you wherever you go, as oppose to wherever you go with your iPad.
• Custom Backgrounds: Jailbreakers have them. Hell, the iPad has them. Now you can choose a persistent background for your iPhone—and not just for the lockscreen.
• 5x digital zoom: Could this hint at a higher quality camera? 3.2 megapixels seems a bit low for 5x digital zoom.
• Tap to focus video
• Bluetooth keyboards: Another carryover from the iPad, Bluetooth keyboard support will finally come to iPhone 4.0.
A recent development that will turn digital marketing heads is the iAd. The application gives developers the opportunity to merge web interaction and television’s moods with HTML5. Advertisers can easily tailor mobile applications for segmentation. A beta version can be purchased right now, but iPhone OS 4 will ship this summer for iPhone and iPod touch. The iPad will be upgraded in the fall.
(c) photo copywright, mobilecrunch.com, 2010