When you mention MP3 Player, the first thing that comes to most people’s minds is iPod. The words MP3 Player and iPod are almost synonymous in today’s society. The iPod has revolutionized the MP3 Player market since its initial release and has continued to do so in following releases. So what is it about the iPod that has captured this market? Perhaps it’s the stylish look or its features or even the way it’s advertised. Whether it is one of those or all of those things that help sell the product to the masses – it’s definitely working.
October 23rd 2001 – a day that revolutionized the digital music world, Apple Computer now known as Apple Inc. released their first MP3 Player, the iPod. So what exactly did Apple do with the iPod that was so revolutionary? Well, the marketing techniques and tactics they used are what made it so successful. “While everyone else was making an MP3 player that was better/cheaper/faster, Apple was making electronic jewelry that also played MP3’s. Never focusing on price, they brought to market more value, more style, and new ways of interacting with digital media.” says David Taber a marketing consultant who then goes on to explain that strategy really does matter. Apple knew what they were doing when they designed the iPod; they made it work better on the Mac than on a PC for obvious reasons – to get people to buy more Apple computers, both iPod and Mac sales benefited from this strategy.
Apple did not stop there, they continued to be that much better, they used better hardware, software, packaging, and marketing techniques than anyone else. The iPod was also more durable than its competing products due to Apple’s use of better parts which, in return made it more reliable.
Another thing Apple did well was to make sure they always stayed ahead of the game by releasing new hardware, software, or better and newer applications for the iPod. People love new and flashy products so this was a great way to sell a product. The iPod became a fashion accessory and a must have. It almost was as if you did not own an iPod you were considered not cool. In order to achieve this status of a fashion accessory and must have item, Apple teamed up with numerous companies to promote it excessively – they would partner with cell phone vendors, rock bands, radio broadcasters, Myspace, and Facebook, to name a few. However, that small list was definitely a good place to start. With the growing popularity of Myspace, Apple set up profiles for the iPod where people could download free desktop backgrounds, screen savers, custom playlists which worked with iTunes Apple’s audio software that integrates with the iPod.
When you watch the iPod commercials on television – what do you see? You see a bunch of people dancing on a colored background. There are women and men, but you don’t know anything else about them. This advertisement is ingenious for many reasons. For one, you don’t know where these people are. They could be anywhere in the world. Secondly, you don’t know who they are or what they do for a living. They can be anyone. All you know is that they are enjoying the music and rocking out. This is what makes that commercial so great and such an excellent idea. It allows anyone in the world to be that person.
Another thing Apple did right when marketing the iPod was keeping its exterior design almost exactly the same for many years. This made the iPod instantly recognizable to anyone who saw it. While Apple never gave discounts on iPod’s, they did however, offer different bundles so you could buy an iPod and something else. In fact, this summer, they were giving away a free iPod Nano with the purchase of any new Mac. Of course, even with excellent marketing you need still the product to be bought, so Apple along with all of their other brilliant marketing techniques made the iPod extremely easy to purchase. You could buy it through numerous web sites, online shops, their own stores, other stores such as Best Buy, CompUSA, Circuit City, and Fry’s to name a few.
Apple made the iPod huge because of its marketing techniques; however, it was also a success because it was their main focus for many years. They made people feel as if the iPod was a perfect piece of machinery through how much time they spent on it and through the customer service they provided for it. In essence Apple created a market environment where it is almost impossible to beat or catch up to the iPod. The iPod is the MP3 player market. If you compare the iPod to Creative’s version of it, which is called the Zen or Microsoft’s version, which is called the Zune, the number of units sold just don’t compare, nor do features, nor does support, or style, or even ease of use.
Due to the iPod’s mass success and dominance in the market with nearly 100 million sold, iTunes (the software that integrates with the iPod) has become a extremely popular piece of music software for many users as it manages their music collections, allows them to purchase music, and transfer it to their iPod as well. When Microsoft released Windows Vista there were serious compatibility issues with iTunes. It caused tens of millions of people who own iPod’s to wait out upgrading (or at least consider the possibility) to Vista so their iPod’s would work without any problems. “If five years ago, Apple had advised PC users not to upgrade from Windows 2000 to XP, most users would probably have smirked, shrugged their shoulders, and wondered why Apple thought it had the right to proffer advice on the subject.” says Stan Beer of iTWire.com. Most average computer users would not get rid of or replace their iPod just to upgrade to a new operating system right away. The average user would wait for all the bugs and fixes to be taken care of before upgrading. Apple knew this and used it to their advantage, knowing that because Apple computers can now run both OS X (the Mac operating system) and Microsoft Windows users could now experience the best of both worlds, and perhaps more users, would make the switch over to the Mac.