What Can SMBs Learn from Apple’s Advertising Strategy?


6 min read

What Can SMBs Learn from Apple's Advertising Strategy?

Table of Contents

What Can SMBs Learn from Apple’s Advertising Strategy?

From selling what you want your company and customers to be to keeping in mind how visuals impress audiences, here are 11 answers to the question, “What are things you can learn from Apple’s advertising strategy that can apply to a small business?”

  • Keeping the Right Attitude Matters
  • Storytelling and Building Relationships
  • Building a Community Around Your Brand
  • Choosing Product Placement
  • Advertising an Ecosystem
  • Strong Branding is Important
  • Staying Consistent and Paying Attention to Detail
  • Having Discipline in Marketing Messaging
  • Using the Fear of Missing Out
  • Keeping It Simple
  • Perceiving Through Visuals

Keeping the Right Attitude Matters

If there’s one thing you can say about Apple, it is that they’re consistent. From their inception, they’ve been all about doing things that their competitors aren’t, most of the time, for the good and occasionally for the bad, but it sets them apart.

This attitude also transferred to those buying their products and is still something that they market today, despite being one of the biggest brands in the world. The key takeaway is that attitude will take you a long way. Know what you want your business to be and the type of people your customers will want to be, and then sell that.

Dragos BadeaDragos Badea
CEO, Yarooms

Storytelling and Building Relationships

Apple’s first marketing ads were all about what the consumer was most concerned about themselves. What their frustrations were, what problems they were experiencing—and Apple straight up answered them in simplified terms. They have marketed their brand through storytelling and strengthening relationships, like the teacher and student commercial in the 80s.

Their “simple is better” philosophy extends to their customer service, where their employees answer customer concerns themselves. When you treat users like family, brand loyalty begins.

Tristan HarrisTristan Harris
Demand Generation Senior Marketing Manager, Thrive Agency

Building a Community Around Your Brand

Apple’s success with advertising has led to the company becoming one of the most successful brands in the world. One thing small businesses can learn from Apple’s strategy is that creating a community around your brand is essential for long-term success.

Building solid relationships with customers and engaging them regularly keeps them interested in what you offer and creates loyalty. Apple does this by communicating with its customers directly and frequently through social media, newsletters, or other forms of marketing.

By engaging your customers in meaningful conversations, you can create a strong relationship with them, increasing brand loyalty.

Kate Wojewoda-CelinskaKate Wojewoda-Celinska
Marketing Manager, Spacelift

Choosing Product Placement

Take any Apple advertisement or put their marketing strategy to task, and the few things you’ll never see in them are over-the-top promises, unnecessary propaganda, and overwhelming stories.

When it’s Apple, it’s all about product placement. They talk about the product and what it delivers; these are the only things people take away from their campaigns. And that’s what makes them winners.

This strategy is a perfect fit for a small business with a meager budget—talk about the product and services on offer and tell the customer exactly what they get for their money. This way, you appear sophisticated and keep yourself from going overboard with promises.

Neil PlattNeil Platt
Director, Emerald Home Improvements

Advertising an Ecosystem

With Apple, the winning element is the product and service ecosystem it creates for its users. When you buy a single Apple product, you’re invited to join this ecosystem that has everything lined up for you. From cloud storage and dedicated email to user experience and customer care, you now have access to the entire Apple environment.

When a small business can create such an environment for its customers and advertise the complete experience, it will find the market much easier to capture and control. It’s not even about offering sophistication; all it takes is seamlessness, and your advertising will surely hit the mark.

Brendan McGreevyBrendan McGreevy
Head of Strategy, Affinda

Strong Branding is Important

One thing that small businesses can learn from Apple’s advertising strategy is the importance of creating a strong brand identity and message. Apple has successfully established itself as an innovative and trend-setting company that keeps its customers feeling modern, connected, and empowered.

By crafting a powerful visual language through their advertising campaigns and designs, they have made it clear to consumers that their products are all about the latest technology combined with beautiful design.

To truly stand out, you must create a brand identity that customers remember. Apple has done this through its heavily branded advertising campaigns that showcase its innovative designs and tech-savvy products.

They show consumers what sets them apart: modernity and suave sophistication. Small businesses should strive to create a similarly identifiable brand identity that speaks to their target audience and makes them stand out from the competition.

Sarah GibsonSarah Gibson
Director, Proactive Healthcare

Staying Consistent and Paying Attention to Detail

Small businesses can learn from Apple’s approach to the power of consistency and attention to detail throughout all marketing materials. Every ad has a carefully crafted look, feel, and message that reinforces the company’s values and brand.

They are often among the first to adopt new technologies and keep their campaigns fresh, but not unrecognizable; the messaging remains the same.

This approach is something that every small business can use effectively, as they build their marketing materials as part of their overall promotional strategy. Small businesses should strive to keep their messaging consistent across all channels, including print ads, web campaigns, videos, and social media posts, to avoid confusing potential customers by sending mixed signals about what they offer or stand for.

Embracing the organization’s core values, paying careful attention to minor details, and keeping content consistent can help any business succeed and stand out from the competition.

Jamie IrwinJamie Irwin
Head of Marketing, Privasee

Having Discipline in Marketing Messaging

Apple’s advertising is a masterclass in how to be clever and clear. They don’t hide their product features; instead, they show them off with crisp visuals and direct copywriting. As a result, they make you want their products even if you don’t need them.

Apple is fearless in putting its product features on display. The company challenges the adage, “Talk about benefits, not features.” Product leaders understand users’ desires and flaunt them in every product launch. And they apply this mastery throughout their ads.

Apple can get away with more imaginative concepts. That said, begin with a website messaging audit with the goal of reduction. Can you shorten headlines and make them sharper?

Connect your product to the emotional desires of the buyer. Pair this refined verbiage with striking visuals for the person who prides themselves on product excellence and craves absolute over abstract imagery.

Joe MannaJoe Manna
Founder, Manna Digital

Using the Fear of Missing Out

Fear is one of the best examples of feelings often evoked by big brands like Apple. In this modern day, it is aptly called FOMO or Fear of Missing Out. Apple has strategically used this psychological phenomenon to attract more customers.

For example, this big brand has fairly maintained a sense of mystery whenever they’re launching a new product. Their regular bi-annual events keep customers guessing what’s in it for them.

With events more often held on invite-only, they always have something that will pique your interest and pique your curiosity. Apple has done a great job of maintaining exclusivity. As they drew consumers to exclusive offers, FOMO, being a vital part of marketing, has made Apple an unbeatable brand.

Becky MooreBecky Moore
Founder, Global Grasshopper

Keeping It Simple

For a brand that is among the most successful across markets, Apple’s advertising strategy is more about simplicity than anything else. They talk about their products and what they deliver and don’t even recreate the impact on customers; they usually leave that to the market’s imagination.

To a small business that has to work with limited resources, this is probably the easiest advertising habit to pick up from Apple. In keeping things simple, the brand can rely on its value and keep customers from straying away. After all, you want your advertising to help people remember who you are and what you must sell. Go too far, and you can lose your brand identity in the melee.

Ariav CohenAriav Cohen
VP of Marketing and Sales, Proprep

Perceiving Through Visuals

Count on not only textual but visual representation. The brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text, with 90% of information transmitted to it is visual. We see before we read.

Apple even ran ads with only 10 words because the company understands that words, especially too many words, do not appeal to customers. Visual experiences impress audiences, and startups should keep that in mind.

Marco Genaro PalmaMarco Genaro Palma
Co-founder, TechNews180

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