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Apple’s Marketing Playbook

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Lessons Learned from the World’s First Trillion Dollar Corporation

This week, Apple revealed its 2018 line of iPhones and as expected, the new phones don’t disappoint. The super retina iPhone XS comes in two sizes, one of which is the largest display ever on an iPhone. The more affordable iPhone XR bears many of the same features as the more expensive model, save the updated dual-camera systems. All models come with what has been the cornerstone of Apple’s next-generation iPhones: the notched, edge to edge display.

The new series is expected to bring additional growth to what was already the world’s first $1 trillion-dollar corporation. A look into the marketing playbook of the tech giant would be invaluable. Sadly, we have no such access, but we can begin to understand what is behind Apple’s success by making the following observations:


Being consistent can border on redundancy but striking a balance between stagnation and innovation is the key to staying relevant. The iPhone evolves. It supplies cutting-edge technology without totally overhauling its appearance. While still advancing their phones’ capabilities, Apple manages to keep its interface familiar and their customers comfortable.


When it comes to design, Apple keeps it simple. Its clean and friendly design has been one of the hallmarks of Apple products due to co-founder Steve Jobs’ firm belief of a one button concept.  The sleek body lends the phone its modern quality. It’s easy on the eye and effortless to navigate.

In terms of marketing, Apple commercials are few and far apart. But when they air, they rarely refer to features and specifications but rather hint at how it can make your life better.

Shopping Experience

Perhaps the most important part of Apple Operations takes place in the storefronts. The inventory is on display and available for use instead of hidden behind boxes. Being able to physically grasp the phone significantly enhances the shopping experience.

Unique Value Pricing

Apple products are often criticized for their high price. That being said, Apple never involves itself in pricing wars. In fact, you will almost certainly pay more for an Apple product than you would for a competing version. That is because they adhere to their unique value pricing. Cutting prices can bring in low-budget consumers but it may also compromise the integrity of the product. Don’t be afraid to price your item appropriately.

Social Promotion

Despite never sending out a single tweet since creating a Twitter account in 2011, Apple dominated the Twitterverse on September 12th for their #AppleEvent announcing their new products. Their plan was two-fold:

  1. They hosted an iPhone press event in the Steve Jobs Theater to share the details on the latest iPhones and Apple Watch. The result was a flurry of tweets from journalists, building anticipation for the new products. A great way to get the word out through digital word of mouth.

  2. Instead of tweeting organically from their account, Apple purchased Twitter ads to tease Twitter users. The ad product, called “Like for reminder,” promotes a tweet to users’ timelines and prompts them to ‘like’ their post – then, the account will tweet at the user reminding them of the launch event, which for the first time ever, was live streamed on Twitter. The reminder tweet included a link to the livestream enabling users a live look into the #AppleEvent.

Apple, notably, distances itself from social media. So, its recent play on Twitter over other social media outlets, like Facebook, is very telling. According to Digiday reporter Kerry Flynn, “Apple’s early adopters, including journalists, are perhaps more commonly found on there than on Facebook, where it’s currently not running any ads.”


Finally, and this goes without saying, you must have a quality product. No amount of marketing strategy will help you sell an item that is truly worthless. Even Steve Jobs had some duds.