It’s 7:00am, Do You Know Where Your iPhone Is?

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

Unless you’ve been hiding under a technological rock for the past month, you know Apple’s iPhone becomes available to the general public this morning on the Verizon Wireless CDMA network.  It’s not a new product by any means … in fact, more than 74-million iPhone units have been sold in three years (exclusively on AT&T’s GSM network in the United States).  Yet, despite market penetration as the number three mobile phone brand since its launch in 2007, there will be long lines and high demand for the iPhone again today.

Verizon Wireless began offering internet sales at 3:01am this morning.  Their retail stores will open 2-3 hours early to accommodate customers, many who have been waiting in line for hours to make sure they get to the store before supply runs out.  Think about it, people are camping outside in bitter cold to BUY SOMETHING.

With the exception of “Black Friday” holiday sales, I can’t think of anything in the past ten years which has created such buzz and consumer desire; well, except for the release dates of each of the last three iPhone models.  In high school, we used to camp overnight at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum to buy the best seats for concerts.  Even as recently as 2001, you could find lines of fans waiting to get Backstreet Boys tickets.  Of course, that all changed with the growth of Ticketmaster style services.  The only thing which comes close is the release of big name video games like Madden ’11 and Call of Duty Black Ops when gaming retail stores opened for an hour at midnight so the die-hards wouldn’t have to wait until normal hours.  There’s a lot we could debate on whether or not online ticketing contributes to the decline of excitement for the music industry, but we’ll save that for another day.

For now, let’s just look at why these nuts are standing in 2-degree weather to buy a $500 phone.  It’s all thanks to a brilliant marketing strategy from Steve Jobs‘ team at Apple.  They have created a brand image that is iconic, sexy, and now … complete with an integrated line of more than 300,000 apps (not to mention iTunes content) which dominate the mindshare for consumer time spent with media.  It also doesn’t hurt to be another product from a company with high consumer loyalty and performance expectations – Apple delivers a great product every time.  The result is a perception the iPhone is the most significant device in modern technology.

The iPhone’s marketing strategy also followed a tactical approach essential to any good radio personality or promotion:  tease, flair, and excitement.  Apple consistently sets the bar for product launches with buzzworthy teases, larger than life theatrical announcements, memorable highly visual advertising, and word of mouth from satisfied users.  Consumers and the Media begin talking about new products months in advance, create an event for the launch itself, and convert into brand advocates as soon as they get their hands on it.  What a great lesson all of us can learn for our next big concert announcement, contest, or even the way talent executes daily content!

Would your listener wait in the snow all night just to hear your morning show?  Okay, probably not, but you get my point.

PS — I’d love to hear what your morning show did this morning to capitalize on this highly topical content.  Did you send anyone to talk to people in line?  Send them food?  Giveaway first-in-line at one of the stores?  Have a party for new iPhone users at lunch?  Give away iTunes gift cards to get the proud new owners started on their first app/music purchases?  Go to a store with a karaoke machine to challenge everyone waiting to sing in “iPhone iDol”?  I sure hope you did … something.  Leave a comment below.


One Response to “It’s 7:00am, Do You Know Where Your iPhone Is?”

  1. Scott: Great points…it starts with innovation, great products and the courage to create something that the audience hasn’t identified (because they can’t) as something they want or need.

    And they connect with consumers by making it simple, easy to set up and use. IT JUST WORKS. So many radio stations and personalities miss this part. We make our content and promotions difficult to understand and even more challenging to participate. There are too many hoops to jump through and too much expectation that the audience will come to us because…well, because we’re US….instead of fitting our products (content, entertainment) into their lifestyle.

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