Most organizations that find themselves on the move, growing and in the news, leverage tried-and-true strategic marketing practices. One of my more favorite case studies is Apple, Inc. For years, the company has focused on having “cool” and “insanely great products” to offer its customers with every new product launch. Apple’s campaigns are arguably some of the most successful strategic marketing programs of the past 20 years.
How did the company do it?
First and foremost, Apple had insanely great products, which I believe in turn allowed it to discover insanely great ways to market them. In addition, the company has a long list of firsts to its credit. Here are some of the more notables:
- First to really make the computer “mouse” a must have in the computing industry.
- First to put music into the hands—and pockets—of people of all ages around the world with the iPod.
- First to offer an easy-to-use graphical user interface for its computers.
- First to package music, videos, podcasts, movies, books and a host of other digital content in a Web interface—iTunes.
- First to make mobile phones cool and user-friendly—iPhone.
- First to make tablets the next “must have” product before anyone realized their true value—iPad.
- First to make product announcements cool by having Steve Jobs, who developed Apple’s own software, put them on—Apple Keynote.
So what can we learn from these firsts and product launches?1) Create marketing as a team effort. Don’t fly solo.
The old adage “two heads are better then one” certainly applies to marketing development work. Strong companies with strong marketing campaigns understand that in order to create truly great marketing, everyone in the organization should be encouraged to participate both in its development and expression.2) Test your marketing ideas throughout your organization first, and then test your ideas with trusted external users and customers, before launching to your total market influence.
3) Formalize a project runway that outlines the essential steps your organization will take throughout the launch.
Critical elements to include are the identification of key needs that produce the highest interest among your target market, setting specific marketing goals, and establishing benchmarks for the beginning, middle and ending phases of your campaign.
In summary: To lead, you must be willing to take some risks and rebrand your efforts with some new ideas that may have never been done before. Following these simple steps can easily and effectively move your strategy out of the theoretical stage into action.
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