What marketing can do … and what it can’t


I want an iPhone. I want an iPhone in a way that’s probably not healthy. I want it because it’s beautiful, it’s the gateway to the future and it will make me happier, smarter, taller and generally better.

I want an iPhone the way Nicole Ritchie wants skinny.

But I’m not going to get one. First, I live in the country where only one mobile phone provider has reliable service, and it ain’t AT&T.

Secondly … actually, there is no secondly. No matter how miraculous and beautiful and perfect the iPhone is, it wouldn’t do me one bit of good to have one, because all I would be able to do is hold it to my ear and pretend to call my daughter on her blue plastic Little Mermaid phone. (Which, by the way, does not feature an optical-grade glass facade and elegant, gesture-based interface.)

But the holidays are coming up, and since my iPod was stolen earlier this year, I began crafting my letter to Santa asking that he replace the stolen Nano with a shiny new iPod Touch. Have you watched the video demonstration of how it’s used?


Plus, I need an iPod, right? Everyone needs an iPod. And I do not mean an MP3 player.

So I researched the iPod Touch – iPT – and found that, while it has wi-fi capabilities, it doesn’t have POP mail. And while you can look at your calendar, you can’t edit it or add anything to it.

Dear Santa,
When Apple decides to offer me a truly useful product, I want one.
Love, Me

So what are the branding and marketing lessons to be learned?

  • It’s possible to make a grown, rational woman froth like a rabid dog over a phone, even though she has never actually held one in her hand. That’s the power of marketing.
  • When I replace my old iPod, it will be with a new iPod – not an MP3 player made by another manufacturer. Why? Because the iPod designs are beautiful, and I just feel good about Apple. That’s the power of branding.
  • No amount of marketing and branding can sell something that doesn’t meet a need, whether it’s a phone with too-limited service or an iPod with too few features.
  • But – and this is a big point – all the positive marketing and branding means that I am not going to buy a competitor’s product, because I trust that Apple will rectify the problems sooner rather than later, and I’ll either be able to get an iPhone compatible with my service or an iPod with the features befitting the technology.

One Response to “What marketing can do … and what it can’t”

  1. Christopher Says:

    Turns out as of recently – you can get one in our region – (lucky for us all at GrafiQa) – and it is probably the coolest device ever – for business and personal use – I use it to make calls, check emails and run my calendar – however – I also use it to put our baby daughter to sleep every night – not to mention about 1000 other uses I have found for it. – Go get one – the apple marketing is accurate – it actually does make you slightly cooler.

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