i-want an i-pad! Or how to launch a product the Steve Jobs way!

My Tweetdeck is currently going crazy as all the “we’ve got live updates here” tweets come through for the launch of Apple’s i-Pad in one of the most spectacular product launches this decade (bearing in mind this decade is only 27 days old or minus 337 days depending on whether you think the new decade starts in 2010 or 2011!). According to Trendrr, this launch generated over 175,000 Tweets alone in the first hour.

Having been impressed by the ability to listen to a live space-walk in my previous blog, modern media continues to astound me with the speed that new information can be published as evidenced by the raft of instant photos showing Steve Jobs holding his latest creation (for example this article published immediately after the launch event).  Interestingly Apple themselves managed to keep the specific product details a secret right up to its unveiling despite the pre-launch build-up ie we could guess it was a tablet, but not know the precise specification. This says a lot for the brand loyalty of their employees and suppliers (or the fear of legal comebacks for spilling the beans!).

But as a marketer, I really admire the skill of this product launch – how to get people literally salivating at the thought of being one of the first to experience an unveiling (as per Stephen Fry’s tweets and blog).  Whilst it was going on, I tweeted a question whether Steve Jobs was the most watched man in the world at that moment.  And that is what the perfect product launch should be about – being able to capture total focus of the media on a single launch to the detriment of anything else going on at the same time.  Admittedly it takes a million dollar budget to do it on the Apple scale ie globally.  But what can smaller businesses learn from this to achieve the equivalent for themselves?

Apple know their target buyer right down to the colour of his or her eyes – and the amount of cash in their pocket… because they analyse their customer data to the nth degree.  They can also manipulate their “early adopter worshippers” by staying silent right up to the last second, so the product announcement spreads like a viral campaign – exponentially.  The sheer quantity of today’s Tweets proved that (along with a huge sigh of relief that Twitter didn’t collapse under the strain despite all the predictions!).  They are also not afraid of those who don’t like their product (such as @FlashGen’s tweet “iPad. iFad more like…” which was one of the politest I could find!).  These nay-sayers simply galvanise the product’s supporters to push the news out even harder and farther.

And the good news is…… SMEs can do this as well!

Ideally you need to invest in a market research specialist (who are worth their weight in gold, believe me!).  But if you are not yet ready, or simply don’t have the money, then use the data you already have.  How many of you use existing customer data to analyse prospective buyers of your products and services? This data is yours and should be at your fingertips (if it isn’t, you need a serious look at your sales and marketing processes!).

As a starting point, analyse your existing customer base by giving it a “character” or “personality” of your typical buyer.  What does this character like to do?  How would they want to hear about your product (eg are they social media savvy or prefer old-fashioned, tangible communications’ media like newspapers and journals?).  What would make them pay attention to what you have to say about your product?  Then use this “analysis” to guide how you will communicate to your target audience.  Yes, it is close to guesswork unless you undertake proper market research, but it’ll get you a long way on a zero money when you’ve spent all the product launch budget on a nice advert!

And don’t forget to make sure your product is available on your website the instant that you unveil it publicly…….

So having heard the “what” you want to know more about the “how” – click here where you can contact Sue at Dangerous_Marketing – the marketing specialists division of business acceleration consultants Pragmatic_Performance_Group


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