Apple’s Back to School Marketing

There’s very little that Apple does which does not ‘scream’ Marketing in 360 degrees manner.  It is not just the innovative adverts that have been synonymous with the company and the products that are a hallmark in their respective fields.

A simple look at their ‘Back to School’ enewsletter  resounds of solid marketing principles like the selling of accessories that goes hand in hand with their main products  – the ipad, ipod, iphone and the MacBook.  The whole thing has been developed with the real consumer in mind, the student who is going back to college and nothing has been left to chance and this student has 3 specific needs:  stuff needed at the desk (like printers, docking stations and laptop stands); stuff needed on the go (like bags, cases and even locks!!) and stuff needed for fun (like headphones, speakers, and the like).

Back to School eNewsletter by Apple (Source of the above screenshot: Email by Apple, August 2011) 

This is the bit I admire most – Apple leaves nothing to chance.   It is not just a matter of an after-thought but everything from the quality of the backpacks (Hurley Barra exclusive to Apple store)  to the fashion colours of the watchbands and headphones everything  seems to have been perfectly chosen or designed.

And this is only the bit about the actual products that are available on sale. The newsletter  itself has a very attractive layout with different sections for different needs that the student might have.  It gives prominence to the offer that Apple is running, and ensures that this offer gets the most out of social media by offering quick links for the reader to share on Facebook and Twitter.

eNewsletter showing different sections aimed at different needs (Source of the above screenshot: Email by Apple, August 2011)



Of the PC and its lifecycle

Over the past few days many have blogged about the era of the PC, an era that started 30 years ago with the launch of IBM’s 5150 back in August 1981, and during which we have seen many advances.

Some speak of the PC as a product that is on its last legs, others see its extension in the new tablets, smart phones and the new gadgets which keep us hooked, while some others hanker after their first PC and remember it with nostalgia.

Those of us, who are in their thirties, saw the introduction of the PC when we were children and today we find our lives entwined with laptops, tablets, SMART phones and the like.  Subsequent generations were born in a time where personal computers were already of age (if not the rage!) and thus do not have any recollection when the PC was still a rarity in homes.

From the point of view of a marketer, the personal computer has an interesting product lifecycle.  It started out as a speciality product, something for the geeks, eventually becoming a machine with games, which was what started drawing mass appeal.  With the advent of Microsoft in the scene, the PC became that as we know it today and with the increasing software and associated functionality it became a standardInternet made everything practically a ‘click away’ and once again this lead to a bigger PC boom. More and more households became connected, and nowadays the PC in the home is a must.

Over the years the product has changed its technology, style, shape and dimensions. Starting out as huge towers or boxes, bulky monitors and a whole cobweb of wires for input/output devices, the personal computer is now sleeker, stronger and more stylish too.

Until a particular point in time, all computer-related devices came in a tonality of grey or beige (all in all, very masculine-oriented) and it is only in the last decade that we have seen devices in black and other colours. This kind of brings to mind when Ford’s model T car came out only in black – the exceptions in this case being that there were many different PC models from different manufacturers but only in one colour!

Likewise the web of wires that connected the various parts of the PC together has been partially dismantled as the world gets more and more wireless.  Technology has changed too.  As microchips became smaller and tinier, the CPU got sleeker. The storage capacity shot up with every new breakthrough in storage saving devices. It seems quite incredible that fifteen years ago, I installed Microsoft Office from a hefty number of 3.5 inch floppies, a process that was long and tedious and stressful especially when one of the floppies turned out to be corrupted!

In this story, some of the most noteworthy players in this product lifecycle so far included:

  • IBM which launched the first PC (IBM 5150) 30 years ago;
  • The first PC and console manufacturers like Atari and Commodore, Compaq, Hewlett Packard (there were many others but these are amongst the most notorious);
  • Microsoft which was to dominate the Personal Computer world through Windows as an Operating System along with a plethora of other software foremost of which is Microsoft Office.
  • Apple which started off as the innovative and different company with a smaller but more specific client base, and which has now become a very important player in this arena.

At the end of the day, whether one considers the PC lifecycle at the end or not is merely dependent on how he or she defines the PC.

The size, shape and functionality of the PC will change continuously but the relevant issues here are two:

  • Personal – something which is inherently of a singular individual/s (not a business) and
  • Computing – something technological that provides particular functionality whether that is saving, retrieving, capturing or manipulating data (not just pictures and words but also appointments, music and videos).

I have lost count of the number of PC and laptops that I have changed over the years. At this point in time I cannot refrain from considering my iPhone as my PC defacto. If I’m carrying it everywhere I go, how much more personal than that can computing get?

Advertising Regulation

Sometimes marketers go overboard with the message. Too much enthusiasm, too much imagination and too much stretching of the ideas and concepts can result in a misleading advert that then falls under the scrutiny of the Advertising Standards Authority.

Today Marketing Week, carries an article about Birds Eye’s frozen food ads, which compares frozen and fresh vegetables and states that frozen vegetables have more vitamins than the fresh ones. The advert had to be pulled in after the rebuke by the Advertising Standards Authority.

Read the full article from here:


Marketing Case Studies

Over the years we have met several students who face the Case Study question in the exam in the wrong manner. So what is actually a case study in the Marketing Exam?

It is simply a story – an everyday story about a company or an organisation, providing some kind of product or service.

There’s no particular catch because marketing is really about everyday life, about the consumer, the product, the service, the company…

The questions asked by the examiner are usually questions that even the man in the street can answer. The trick is therefor to remember the concepts and principles that one has covered in Marketing and apply them!

At Marketing Malta we give special importance to Case Studies. During our Marketing Private Lessons, we go through case studies about a variety of topics and show the student how to tackle these questions to ensure that the student is well equipped and prepared for the examination paper in this regard too.

Marketing by the Hour

As the London riots disrupt the standard pace of London life, tourism bodies and marketing organisations are keeping a watchful eye especially because  they know that such activities can effect the perception of potential visitors for the London Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (approximately a year away).

VisitBritain has just pulled out the video that was part of the campaign preparing the way for these important events, which in themselves are a tourist attraction. reported that “Head of marketing Joss Croft said that it was not appropriate to run the campaign ahead of the news on showing images of rioting and looting in the UK.”

In such circumstances, is not just a matter of sticking to strategy that was planned months ago, but also a matter of keeping watch to ensure that the public out there is not getting two conflicting  message, one from the adverts and one from the news.

Read the full article from here:

Essay Writing and Sample A Level Marketing Essays

Essay writing is a very important skill for the Marketing Exams at any level.  If the student is not capable of expressing himself or herself in the right manner within a certain timeframe this will be a big disadvantage in the examination hall, even if he or she knows the answer.

Studying the topics is only part of ensuring success in the exam.  As part of our marketing private lessons coursework, Marketing Malta covers essay writing skills to ensure that students tackle the exam questions in the best possible way.

Marketing Malta also provide sample marketing essays that apart from being rightful answers to questions,  serve as a guidance for the students when they are answering questions on their own.

The World This Year

2011 is quite a year for the marketing environment. It started off with the unrest in the North African coast.  The destabilization  has changed the scenes thoroughly and even though the Gaddafi Regime is not yet gone, the scenario in North Africa can never return to what it was before.

In the middle of the political crisis, the world had another blow – the natural disaster striking Japan culminating with the Fukushima story.  And now, when we are barely half way through the year, it’s the turn of the money markets to rock the world again. The markets are highly volatile and to top it all, London faces riots too!

Surely it’s not exactly easy for a marketer to drum up plans for the next season. At this point it is not just a matter of forecasting sales but more a matter of devising tactics and strategies to be able to face anything that the macro environment throws be it political and social unrest or unstable economies.

Will the world be recuperating or do we experience more doom, gloom and uncertainty before that?



Money, affluence and ethics!

Ethical considerations in marketing are important for brand image. New studies indicate that well-off customers consider the ”ethical” behavior of companies in the purchasing decision so by being more ethical, companies are bound to attract a very interesting segment of the market.

Read the full article from here: