Advertising crucial to Apple

07 August 2012

NEW YORK: Apple, the consumer electronics giant, believes advertising is "one of the most important tools" available to build demand for pioneering gadgets like the iPhone and iPad.

During an on-going court case accusing Samsung of patent infringement, it was revealed Apple had spent $1.1bn on marketing the iPhone and iPad for the fiscal years from 2007 to 2011.

"Advertising is one of the most important tools we have," Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said, The Verge reported. "We create an ad, and reach millions of customers, and speak directly to them from our company."

More specifically, Schiller defined Apple's tactics in this area as the "product as hero" approach. "We market our product as the hero and how distinctive it is, how consistent we've kept it over time," he said.

This was particularly vital for the iPhone and iPad, where ads had to educate shoppers about how they worked and show why they were useful, alongside demonstrating their design credentials and fuelling what Apple describes as a "lust factor".

"This was a new category of devices," Schiller said. "People were already buying phones. And companies had tried to make tablets before, and failed miserably."

In discussing how its communications budgets are allocated, Schiller stated that the firm takes an extremely selective approach when choosing which media outlets it partners with.

"We try to pick publications that fit well with Apple's image.... We also try to pick nationwide, largest-reach publications," he said.

Product placement is also a key element of the model employed by Apple. "We would love to see our products used by stars in movies, TV shows, and we have a person who helps provide products to people that want to do that," said Schiller.

While Steve Jobs, Apple's co-founder, once argued it did not rely on market research, instead anticipating future needs, Schiller reported that the company bought third party data and conducted surveys.

"Periodically my market research team will do surveys of customers who have already purchased our products to ask them questions we're curious about," he said. "They're usually done by gathering answers from web surveys, sometime phone surveys."

As an example, a poll undertaken in 2011 found that 85% of people agreed design and appearance were important in shaping their purchases of the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4.

Data sourced from The Verge, AllThingsD, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal; additional content by Warc staff