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Apple iPad – marketing genius

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Sunday April 4, 2010 )

The iPad went on sale yesterday in the USA and while the iPad looks impressive, the launch of the device showed again something even more impressive about Apple – their marketing.

Every brand has its fanboys, but Apple’s are in a class of their own. When someone buys a product and says this:

“I don’t know what it is – I just think it’s going to be something that’s really cool,” and “I can’t figure out how to use it if I don’t have one.”

.. that’s saying something. It’s a little frightening actually. I didn’t make that up, that’s what one iPad buyer had to say yesterday after picking up one according to CNN.

Of course, that curious fellow is not representative of Apple’s fans; but they are certainly among them.

Apple supposedly sold out of its first-week allocation of the iPad, so it was only available to those who had pre-ordered. It makes you wonder how a company so experienced in headline grabbing product launches would have underestimated what it could move in the first week.

Maybe it was on purpose? Using scarcity in marketing is a well known strategy. It causes an initial rush and then the lucky few who have them wield great influence over their peers who become eager to not miss the boat on the next run.

Spiels like this from Apple also help to attract early adopters:

“It’s going to change the way we do the things we do every day.”

“When something exceeds your ability to understand how it works, it sort of becomes magical. And that’s what the iPad is”

Of course, it certainly helps when a company’s track record backs those sorts of claims.

Apple are also the masters of the “controlled leak“.

A quick check of Google shows 133 million results for the term: Apple iPad. That’s how effective the lead-up to the launch has been.

Love Apple or hate them, it doesn’t hurt to get to know how they market their products. While a small online business doesn’t have the cash to carry out Apple iPad style campaigns at the same level, many of the concepts can be applied on a smaller scale.

Update April 5: Apple said it sold over 300,000 iPads in the US as of midnight Saturday, April 3. Apple also announced that iPad users downloaded over one million apps from Apple’s App Store and over 250,000 ebooks from its iBookstore during the first day.


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