Silverpop - Why You Shouldn't Do What Apple Does (Just This Once)
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Why You Shouldn't Do What Apple Does (Just This Once)

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by: John Watton (@jwatton)
17 April 2013

I’m a big fan of Apple. I first used its products in 1989 (an Apple Macintosh SE) and never looked back. I got my first iPod in 2003, and since then I’ve probably purchased every Apple “form factor.”

I now own, on behalf of me and my family, 13 (!) Apple devices: MacBook Air, MacPro, Apple TV (two), iPod Touch, iPod Classic, iPod Shuffle v1, iPod Shuffle v2, iPod Shuffle v3, iPhone 4, iPhone 5, iPad2 and iPad Mini. It’s fair to say I’m a fan.

But Apple doesn’t know that. In fact, it probably doesn’t care. In another world I would be a Platinum customer — loved, cherished and nurtured. But not in Apple’s. Despite controlling my entire (fabulous) experience and having insight into everything I’m doing, it appears to know nothing about me.

Never is that more obvious than in the communications I receive for Apple. On a regular basis I get “Buy an iPad for your loved one for Valentine’s Day” or “It’s Mother’s Day. Buy an iPad for your Mum” emails.

No recognition of any loyalty. No offer or discount. In fact, these promotional messages don’t even convey a new idea — I get the same email every holiday/seasonal event saying much the same thing, the same as everyone else, with no personalization or targeting. I even get “Back to College” emails (my kids are 7 and 9).

It’s the total opposite of what most marketers are trying to do. That’s because a one-size-fits-all approach may work for Apple, but it’s a road to disaster for the rest of us.

Tailoring communications based on behaviors has been proven to increase conversions and maximize retention rates. In Apple’s case, there’s should be plenty of data to choose from: who I am (I’ve been registered on iTunes for nearly 10 years), what products I’ve owned (I register them all AND I buy everything in Apple stores), what apps I download, what music I like (I have all my 13,253 songs in iCloud), which emails I’ve opened, what I’ve clicked on and what Web pages I’ve browsed.

You likely have a similar wealth of information on your customers. This demographic plus behavioral information is a goldmine for all of us that don’t have the brand equity of Apple. How about using dynamic content in emails that reflects what the individual browsed on your site? Or delivering a customized Web experience based on what messages the visitor opened? Or scoring interactions to help determine whether consumers are in active buying mode, so you can then send offers at the right time, tailored to their profile?

This is the world of behavioral marketing, and it’s the end of “spray and pray” marketing. Brands that ignore the actions of their customers do so at their peril. So for once, don’t try and emulate Apple.

Related Resources:
1) Blog: “Make Your Marketing More ‘Bobular’!
2) White Paper: “7 Digital Marketing Strategies Made Better Through an Integrated Marketing Platform
3) Blog: “Behavioral Email Done Right: Big Ups to Foursquare and Sephora


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