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apple’s secret approach

One of my team send me this piece on Apple’s “secret” approach to launches and their effectiveness.  The naivety of Journalists with regard to how a business works is at times, beyond compare.

As a consumer company, surprises work for Apple.  Shock and awe offsets the need for Proctor and Gamble-like media buys,  Use that approach where your customers are businesses of any size and you are likely to get slapped around.  First, they actually plan technology deployments.  Second, they look to a broad range of influencers throughout the purchase cycle – if you don’t have them lined-up, you don’t sell.

There is a third and more important point that applies to all markets.  Apple’s approach works only if you aren’t interested in any kind of conversation with the market.  I’d rather see a conversation with the market take place at every stage of a product’s evolution.

I’d take issue with the use of research looking at ketchup as a foundation for any good strategy for launching a $1,000+ device. The reporter actually recognizes this and then suggests the research was referencing Apple all along.  What crap.  At the end of the day, we know the average consumer will look and learn a multitude of times before buying – and consult a variety of sources.  Don’t think I’ve ever done that for ketchup.  Have done it for computers and nearly every other major purchase I’ve made.

At the end of the day, Apple’s approach works because they are the only player in their hyper-proprietary market.  They, well, surprise their fan base much in the same way that a rock band surprises its fans.  The echo and resonance occurs within that chamber.  For iPhone and iPod, it’s a good sized chamber – we know that drove Motorola nuts.  I’m guessing its the same for Nokia.  For the rest of it though, is it really working?

The rest of the technology sector is so hyper competitive and multi-market, other approaches are needed.  And, oh yeah, we’re increasingly looking beyond traditional media as a distribution vehicle for those announcements…

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