The iPhone 5: A Victim of the Marketing Plan’s Success?


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Iphone 5On days like today, the Internet is an unusual place. My personal favorite description of the Internet, from comedian and writer Dave Gorman, is ‘everything in the history of the world, ever’. But today it doesn’t appear to be everything in the world ever. Today the Internet is just one thing, in particular, from yesterday. Today the Internet is just the iPhone 5.

The latest version of Apple’s flagship device was announced yesterday after months of hype, leaks and fanboy fever. With all that build up, it’s unsurprising that it’s on so many minds and filling so many blog pages today. The ultimate goal of most marketing plans is to generate the kind of interest the iPhone created before and after the event. The question is, was it worth it?

On the surface, that answer is a resounding yes. Apple are the most valuable company in the world and they continue to set the standard for product announcements. Yesterday’s show was typical Apple magic. They showed off the new features, the new design and the new apps with style, sparkle and finesse. And they kept reminding us just how new and sparkly these new features are.

The Newest iPhone Ever

There’s a clear theme that seems to run through the Apple marketing plan at these events, they use the word ‘ever’, a lot. Every feature is described as the first ever, or the thinnest ever, best ever; but they all have one little qualifier, the word ‘iPhone’.

The centerpiece of this marketing plan is the video that appears on the website immediately after the event and becomes the main ad for the product. Over and over, in the talking heads and the text, they talk about this new iPhone as the thinnest iPhone ever, the screen is the biggest ever iPhone screen and the features make it the best iPhone yet. They never compare to the market, just to their own work.

Apple’s constant referencing of their previous work is understandable; there was a time when the iPhone was the smartphone market. But there are rivals out there now, and those rivals won’t be too worried by yesterday’s event. There was a time when these announcements marked a change in the market, when Apple were announcing devices that were way ahead of rivals in terms of design, features or interface.

That reputation has created an expectation around these events, that things will be different when they’re over. But things don’t feel different today. The Internet is buzzing, but it’s buzzing with apathy. A quick scan through Twitter comments, finds words like boring, underwhelming and overrated. There seems to be a real feeling that expectations weren’t met.

Living Up to the Hype

The marketing plan will always be to build awareness, to get people engaged with a product so they want to make a purchase. But there needs to be follow though. The difficulty for Apple is the follow through consumers expect is totally unrealistic. The iPhone has become a victim of it’s own marketing success.

The iPhone brand is recognized by most people as the leader in beautiful, functional and innovative devices. That makes the marketing plan easy, just keep reminding people there’s a new one on the way and they’ll want to buy it. The problems come when the new one doesn’t live up to that brand expectation. As far as the Internet’s concerned, even before the new iPhone is released, it’s already failed to meet that expectation.

Of course it will still sell millions. It will still be the most popular smartphone, because people still trust the brand. But the buzz indicates that Apple may need to learn a lesson in the way they operate their marketing plan. They went big and bold on the announcement of this release with their invitation playing on the name of the new iPhone.

They hyped the event as though it would be the unveiling of the next big thing in smartphones. What they got was the most underwhelming response to an iPhone release, ever.

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Republished with author's permission from original post.

Eoin Keenan
Media and Content Manager at Silicon Cloud. We help businesses to drive leads and build customer relationships through online marketing and social media. I blog mainly about social media & marketing, with some tech thrown in for good measure. All thoughts come filtered through other lives in finance, ecommerce, customer service and journalism.


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