A friend once shared insight from his business mentor, “You want to be rich? Create and control markets!”
It seems to me one aspect of a company that creates and controls markets is it’s ability to build anticipation. Apple is a master of this, and their mastery is currently on display.
What is Apple doing now? The faithful must have skipped a beat when they read that there may not be an iPhone 5 at Apple’s launch event tomorrow, even though the same outlet shared what to expect at the Apple iPhone 5 launch just a few days earlier.
They aren’t the only media outlet hyping Apple pre-launch. As you can see here.
This is how Apple sells so much product. Loyalists are conditioned to buy, and many have already decided to buy regardless of launch details.
5 Elements of Anticipation Marketing Worth Pursuing
Keeping Apple in view here are some things worth considering in your own business to build anticipation.
- Have a world class product. This cannot be overstated. Having a product that is so good people are compelled to talk about it, even buzz about it is essential and worth aiming for. Apple took a major problem a decade ago (people sharing music illegally via P2P networks, think Napster), and made it easier to buy than steal music. To the delight of the record companies, and consumers alike.
- Innovate. Find out of the box ways to solve related problems that your current customers will respond to. Apple has done this to a degree with the iPod, then the iPhone, then inviting consumers to replace their lackluster PC experience with a Mac, followed by the iPad. It’s worth noting that Microsoft released Tablet PCs many years earlier, and they didn’t stick, there was nothing “world class” about it. Apple hasn’t always innovated perfectly either (consider the Newton).
- 3rd Party Validation. A by-product of having a world-class product, this goes beyond testimonials. Having highly visible people in your industry, even a celebrity, rave about your product not only helps build anticipation in the short term, but compels them to act. Consider what Facebook’s CEO Zuckerberg said of Spotify music service.
- The Press and Blogs. This is what Apple has been masterful in doing. With each product release there is more and more buzz, mentions, and hype. It seems a subtle hint or suggestion, or sneak photo is released with greater and greater fervor as the day draws near.
- Deliver. After the sale, helping customers make the most of their investment in your product or service is critical to building anticipation for future products. Apple focuses on the customer experience after purchase, with customer support, training, and resources. Thus, they have a loyal following.
Many of these function as good principles for any business. When it comes to building anticipation, they are without exception. There may be other elements, but from my view there are enough lessons here for any online marketer to learn from. Soon we will know what Apple’s latest and greatest is, in the meantime, let’s learn something from them about building anticipation in our own marketing.