In Q4 of 2014 Apple posted a revenue of $42.1 billion. Although this was largely attributed to iPhone 6 sales, based on these numbers there’s no denying that consumers love Apple.
What is it about their marketing that makes Apple so popular? We are neither constantly bombarded with Apple spam every time we go to our inbox nor is every other billboard on the block an Apple product. Yet mention ‘apple’ in a sentence and most people will assume you’re referring to the brand and not the fruit. The answer is that Apple with its innovation and constantly evolving technology has demonstrated to us that their products hold value. When they announce their newest product release, we as consumers believe that it is going to somehow make our lives better, so we rush out in droves to buy it.
Apple has become the poster child for meaningful marketing. They know the key to marketing success is providing a product that’s valuable to customers rather than solely focusing on increasing sales and profits.
The same principles apply to content marketing. What is content marketing? The Content Marketing Institute defines it as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
How can you incorporate this marketing method into your business and make your product or service valuable? According to past “chief evangelist” for Apple, Guy Kawasaki, to be valuable a product must have meaning. Creating a meaningful product or service might seem like a daunting task however as he states in the following video and on his blog*, it can be done in two simple ways.
- Create, enable or increase something that is good eg. Macintosh increased productivity and creativity.
- Prevent, eliminate or decrease something that is bad eg. Tesla decreasing air pollution and reliance on oil.
This is something that takes time and is best integrated into your overall marketing strategy. It involves taking a customer-centric stance rather than one focused on profits and sales. If done right you will find yourself communicating information about your product/service to customers rather than selling. Instead of being viewed as a salesperson trying to sell a product, your customers and prospects will start to see you as an informative partner who can help make their business better.
The next time you have a new product or service to sell don’t ask yourself what the position or angle is, ask yourself what gives the product purpose? How is it valuable? How will it make lives better? Once you have these answers then determine how to convey this value statement in an informative yet non sales pitch way.
If your message is best conveyed through something fun but informative you might want to consider a tactic such as Google’s Doodles. Or perhaps your message is best conveyed through visuals. In which case it may be better suited to a content marketing strategy on Instagram. General Electric and their use of stunning imagery to display elaborate equipment and their methods is a perfect example of this. Content marketing can even be as simple as a blog based on relevant information generated by employees such as Intel’s IQ blog. The possibilities are endless and the rules are simple, stop thinking about ROI and instead think about your audience.
It may take a bit to find your content marketing groove and even feel counter-productive at first. However, through continued use of content marketing your sales process will become easier and feel more genuine. You may even find it provides you with that extra bit of inspiration when you put your feet on the floor each morning.