Tech brands wake up to the Apple way of marketing

Acer has become the latest in a raft of tech brands that appear to be finally waking up to the Apple way of marketing – but this trend may well be emerging around five years too late.

Lara O'Reilly

Acer, which is the fourth largest PC vendor, has seen its share of the market slowly decline in recent years in a sector dominated by HP and Lenovo. The sector is also feeling the impact of changing consumer trends in mobile computing and the lure of Apple devices.

To combat this, Acer has appointed a new CMO who will be employing a strategy to put marketing at the heart of the business. J.T. Wang, Acer’s chief executive, has a vision that marketing will be placed ahead of design and R&D at the earliest product development stages. Sounding familiar?

Elsewhere, brands from Philips to Samsung to BlackBerry have been rolling out campaigns that employ more emotional marketing techniques, rather than simply listing product specifications like their marketing of yesteryear.

Slowly technology brands are realising that the “technology” itself isn’t a product – devices can be aspirational lifestyle brands that are embedded into every aspect of work and play. In a world where grannies own iPads, the idea of marketing tech purely to early adopter audiences is rooted firmly in the past.

Apple was not necessarily first to create any of the verticals it excels in – such as smartphones, tablets and music devices – but the company has always been at the forefront of selling the dream to consumers, long before those people even know they wanted the product.

Steve Jobs was famed for shunning market research in favour of building out a team of visionaries who just “get” the innovator mindset – innovation that has an ideology at the core, rather than microchips.

For tech brands to build out a legion of followers that mimic Apple’s evangelist customers it is essential marketing is core to every element of their businesses. Developers, coders and even the HR department should have the brand’s vision deeply entrenched into all aspects of their work.

Having the world’s fastest processor, thinnest screen or lightest device won’t make the average consumer blink. To really make them open their eyes tech brands must communicate a purpose and why people’s lives will never be as dull, arduous or lonely without them.

Many tech brands are now starting to address their communications approach, rolling out lifestyle based campaigns and straplines – but there is still work to do. Apple sold the dream back in 2007 when it launched the first iPhone and it will take a lot of vigorous shaking before consumers wake up to a new aspiration. IOS is second to Android in terms of market share, which is largely due to devices running Google’s operating system carrying lower price points, but in terms of brand sentiment and preference, Apple dominates.

Good technology is about great design, but really great technology is powered by companies having a solid marketing ethos that makes consumers as passionate about owning the products as the developers were about creating them.

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