I realize some people find issues with Apple, but let’s face it, buying an Apple is an awesome experience.
I bought my 3rd Mac last week and I swear the feeling never gets old. The packaging is beautiful. Everything is laid out perfectly. All you need to do is plug it in and turn it on. Suddenly you are flying through space and time, grooving along to the funky Mac beat as your new computer greets you in a multitude of languages. A couple simple forms and literally 2 minutes later you’re doing whatever it is that you love to do. For anyone that is subscribed to MobileMe it will automatically fill out the forms for you.
I want to contrast my experience with my friend’s recent experience with Dell. He’s an IT manager at a major Edmonton-based software company so they purchase hundreds of PC’s a year, and while he always downplays the awesomeness of Apple, I know he secretly wants one.
A few weeks ago they received their latest shipment of computers. He starts by opening the boring brown box with a blue D. It sure isn’t enticing and it sure isn’t Apple. After unboxing the first computer he plugs it in and hits the power button. Nothing. It’s completely dead. He then moves to the 2nd computer and hits the power button. This one responds by putting form after form in front of him. He was forced to install a ridiculous amount of applications and tools, and after 3 restarts and 29 minutes of staring at progress bars, the computer was finally ready to be used. Thinking about an experience like that brings back horrible memories and makes me remember why I originally purchased my first Mac.
So what is Apple selling?
Are they selling computers and smartphones or are they selling a lifestyle? Look at all the apps you can download to your phone to make it so much more than what it actually is. There truly is “an app for everything.”
Every single one of these apps represents a story, and as I have said many times before, stories are what sell people, not information. I dare you to find one person who hates their iPhone. In fact, I think that you’ll find those who have an iPhone are Apple’s biggest evangelists. These customers are more powerful than any ad. Apple has taken Word Of Mouth Marketing (which is undoubtedly the most powerful form of advertising) to a whole new level. Those that have an iPhone and those that have a Mac will tell everyone about how awesome the product is. I am a prime example of that and I’m not alone.
How many people do you know who go above and beyond what is considered rational to their friends about their Blackberry? How about their Dell? Of course people like their Blackberries and their Dells—they are great products; but I’d be willing to bet Blackberry or Dell owners don’t go to the same level of ‘selling’ their family & friends like an Apple owner will.
Apple gets it.
They make buying easy, and owning fun. And when buying is easy and owning is fun it’s usually means you’ve had a pretty rewarding experience. It actually makes you feel like you’re investing as opposed to buying.
While so many companies are focused on making the sale, they end up forgetting about making the person happy once they have purchased their product. Apple understands that it’s far more expensive to reach new consumers with marketing dollars then it is to keep existing repeat consumers. When you see a message with the product thanking you for the purchase or calling you a loyal customer, this is the company trying to overcome your feelings of anxiety and that’s how repeat business is made.