Tag: Apple

Why the iPad will change everything

Digital Strategy6 Comments

Despite already having twice as many computers (including smart phones) than there are people in my house, I’ve still managed to find a place for an ipad.

While it’s true that it doesn’t offer anything truly revolutionary (it is, arguably, a giant ipod touch), it is how it is packaged and the benefits of having a bigger screen that are what makes it indispensable for me.

Here’s why:

The screen is drop dead gorgeous. Nothing looks quite as good as it does on an ipad. Tweetdeck, Wired, even Keynote and Pages.

It’s a great in-between device. For those times (such as this short business trip, where I’m writing this) when you don’t necessarily need the grunt of a laptop or desktop but need something more functional than a mobile phone.

It blends the focused nature of using iphone apps with an infinitely friendlier user-interface. Anyone who’s used an iphone will feel right at home, even if you haven’t it is just so simple and intuitive to use.

Did I mention how sexy it was?

Browsing or in fact doing anything on an ipad is a more communal experience than doing it in front of a computer. Within minutes of firing up the New York Times free app, my wife and my mum were huddled around me interacting with the screen, discussing articles of interest.

The size is just right for so many occassions. On the flight back to Adelaide, for instance, it was so much easier maneuvering an ipad than a laptop with a screen large enough to properly enjoy videos and work on a couple of documents.

Transitioning from one app to another is totally seamless. Waiting at the boarding gate, I could switch from Twitter, to Safari, emailing a link to a colleague and back to watching a video someone sent me without really breaking stride.

Finally, as Craig Wilson puts it, the ipad is a total media convergence.

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Screentime

Parenthood1 Comment

A self-professed marketing and technology junkie, there’s few things I love more than the interweb. However, one of the hardest things about becoming a parent has been finding the time to indulge my various interests and habits.

Luckily my good friend Michelle Prak (@Prakky) had an awesome suggestion on her blog that we’ve since incorporated into our weekend routine.

Allocate one hour of uninterrupted ‘screentime’ where mum takes the kid and it’s just me and the iMac.

I can choose to do whatever I want with that time whether it’s blogging, researching, tweeting or just surfing. If I don’t get what I wanted to done because I was too busy screwing around, that’s my own fault, but generally it means that I’m more efficient with my time online.

For any parents struggling to find the time to blog or do anything else online, I highly encourage you to give it a go!

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Launching the iPad: A Marketing Perspective

Digital Strategy, Social Media19 Comments

apple-ipadWith the interwebs (especially Twitter) all aflutter over the launch of the Apple’s latest technological marvel, the iPad, I thought it would be timely to post my reactions. However, instead of passing judgment on a device that I am yet to get my hands on (hint, hint Apple reps), I thought it would be fun to look at the launch from an entirely different perspective.

First of all, this is not the first Apple product unveiling I have borne witness to. I was there (well, not actually there, but aware of it anyway) when Steve Jobs announced the iPod, iTunes, the switch to Intel chips and the original iPhone. Yet somehow, the hype leading up to those pales in comparison to the amount of speculation and praise that has been heaped on the iPad in the weeks and months leading up to Jan 27. It was hardly surprising that Mac Fanbois, spurred on no doubt by Steve Jobs own comments,  claimed that the then-unnamed Apple tablet was going to be a “game changer”, but then so too did the mainstream press who heralded it as ushering in a new era of computing, entertainment, media, etc.  all before the device had even be released.

While it might turn out to be a game changer, my first impressions are that it is nowhere near the giant leap forward that the iPhone, iTunes or even the iMac were. To me, those three did more to revolutionise how we think about mobile phones, music and the computers place in the home.

ipad_2

Irrespective of whether the iPad lives up to the hype, full marks must go to Apple’s marketing team for another outstanding product launch. They have leveraged the reach and power of internet (not to mention the brand’s mystique) to ramp the rumour mill into overdrive by saying, well, very little. Instead of shouting about it, they leaked snippets of information and essentially left their fans and industry analysts to let their imaginations run wild.

Next time you think about putting out another piece of collateral telling consumers how great you are, stop and ask yourself if you are saying more than you need to. Too much and you run the risk of painting yourself into a corner and alienating potential customers. Not enough and they won’t know what you’re about. While chances are you don’t have the same brand cache and fervent fan base as Apple, it is worth considering how much detail you need to put out there to tantalise your audience and to know what will get them excited.

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Sun Tzu and the forces of marketing

Marketing3 Comments

“All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.”
– Sun Tzu

The Chinese military general and author of The Art of War, Sun Tzu, says that in battle, there are only two forces at play – direct and indirect.

Direct forces, he says, are how most battles are conducted, by matching the enemy head on and slugging it out till the death.

Indirect forces, however, are about outmaneuvering the enemy and winning by targeting their weakness and turning elements such as terrain and cover to your advantage.

While it is important to use the right combination of direct and indirect forces in your strategy, it is always the indirect that wins the war.

Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat

Marketing is also made up of direct and indirect forces.

Most marketing tends to be focused on direct forces. It becomes a case of churning out one tactic after another in an effort to match your competitors. Your biggest rival starts a Facebook page, so you start one too. They drop their prices, you follow suit. They launch a new TV campaign, yours is on the air within weeks. Direct methods can be easily imitated and unless what you’re doing really strikes a chord with your audience, it will rarely lead to any real long term gain especially when you consider that once the campaign is done and dusted and the budget is blown for the year, consumers will have moved on to something else. Even product innovation is only a short term advantage unless you have the resources to keep staying one step ahead.chess_strategy

Strategising might be slow, but it works

In order to succeed, you must be relevant and engaging, and the only way to do this is by taking into consideration the indirect forces at play. What gives a brand a sustainable competitive advantage is the how they leverage the indirect forces in the marketing. Take Apple for example. The iPod wasn’t the first MP3 player or even the most innovative, but it is the one that went on to dominate the market. The reason was partly because of Apple’s innovative design but mostly because of how the Apple brand is positioned and the in-built cool imbued in all its products.

From a marketing perspective, indirect forces are the intangible elements that can’t be easily copied by your competitors. Fundamental to achieving this is a superior understanding of your customers and competitors so that you can identify where the gaps and opportunities are in the market and positioning yourself to claim this space. At the risk of oversimplifying, it is then a matter of leveraging these insights and developing an appropriate strategy to inform your tactics.

Ultimately, what this means is that if you want to succeed you need to get your brand right and not get obsessed with the tactics. While direct forces are essential to keep you in the game, it is the indirect that will win it for you.

In the words of the late Theodore Levitt, “determine a mass market, identify a small niche within that market and do it better and differently than anyone else.”

(Anyone else think the title of this post sounds like an awesome B-grade HK kung fu flick?)

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