Underhanded Theft or Great Marketing?

“Why join the navy if you can be a pirate?” – Steve Jobs

Another iPhone 4 prototype has turned up on the Internet.  Where are these things coming from?  We know there’s been a storm around the one seen on Gizmodo’s web site. and now, the same design shows up in a Vietnamese web site.  So it seems to confirm the look of the new iPhone.

Irrespect of the legal action and complaints from Apple, you have to wonder how these kinds of things can actually happen, and that makes me wonder if it’s not part of an elaborate marketing strategy.  Steve Jobs has always been good at building consumer demand, and nothing does that better than an inside tip or two.

Don’t you wish we could create that kind of demand?

Experience Over Performance?

“If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.” –  Jeff Bezos

BMW, who has been using the slogan “The Ultimate Driving Machine” for years, has decided to shelve it, according to The Wall Street Journal.  Somehow they’ve decided that the experience of driving the BMW, in the form of “joy” will yield more results than horsepower, handling, and acceleration.  They’re going to focus on how the BMW affects the consumer instead of the attributes of the car.

What an interesting idea.  So it would be like a radio station focusing on the intangible benefits of the station instead of the amount of music or a contest.  It would be like a “family friendly” station attaching itself to the emotional aspect instead of the intellectual aspect.  They’d quit talking about their “safe music” and start talking about how that makes the listener feel.  A rock station wouldn’t talk about rocking hard, and would instead focus on the value of being a “bad boy.”

Focusing on the experience created by listening to the radio station has been a continuing refrain from Goodratings for a few years.  Someone else can be family friendly or play hard rock, but if you focus on the experience it’s unique to your station.  As BMW said in the Journal article, it’s about the “value beneath the skin.”

Radio imaging is frequently one of the worst waste of times on radio.  It’s sloganeering at its worst, and meaningless hyperbole at the best.

The political people seem to understand better than we.  They call it “messaging.”  Here’s what WikiPedia says about political messaging:

The message of the campaign is what ideas that the candidate wants to share with the voters. The message often consists of several talking points about policy issues. The points summarize the main ideas of the campaign and are repeated frequently in order to create a lasting impression with the voters.

In politics the focus is on ideas, not “facts” or features.  Compare that with what you hear on the radio.

Mistreating P1’s

”Customers don’t expect you to be perfect. They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.”
– Donald Porter V.P., British Airways

So you’ve been a loyal iPhone fan since the first one. You even went thru all that silliness when Apple dropped the price on it and sent you a $100 gift certificate for the Apple Store.

When the iPhone 3G came out you gave the first generation to your wife so you could get the new one. That means you’re paying up to twice the normal rates to Apple and AT&T, and you’re ok with it.

Now comes the 3Gs, and if you want one you have to pay $500 for it instead of the $199 people who aren’t fans of Apple and AT&T.

How do you treat your P1’s? You know, that 30% or so of the audience who produce about 70% of your AQH. Also known in some circles as your fans.

What if those high-value people in your audience felt personally connected, involved and valued? What if you called and thanked them, asked their opinion, and talked to them about their perceptions? What if you asked them to help your new listeners? What if you made them a part of your efforts?

You know what, those people would value personal involvement a lot more than concert tickets or a CD. They don’t need to be bribed, they need to be involved.

So what’s your plan for involvement? Are the people who provide most of your listening worth your attention?

It’s something Apple needs to think about too. They can always say the slow system, spotty signal and outlandish P1 price aren’t their fault, because it’s AT&T, but that doesn’t solve the problem, and we still all know we’re on this system because of a choice Apple made. I’m an iPhone fan and a MAC fan, but I don’t feel very special right now.