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Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Does Apple actually spend money on marketing?

Listening to our friends on Dubai Eye's Business Breakfast this morning, we were bemused and amused by the controversy that was created by studio guest, John Hobday, MD of FD Gulf, a communications company, had created this morning.  While talking about marketing / communication trends that we can expect in 2011, Hobday predicted that Apple would be exposed in 2011 for running a "marketing scam" (listen to the interview of John Hobday on Dubai Eye's Business Breakfast and scroll forward 6:25 minutes into the second interview on the webpage).

Interestingly, with Hobday saying that Apple products like the iPad were all marketing scams, led to all sorts of outrage and loads of SMS messages went flying into Dubai Eye, including a few from us at Jacky's.

This then bring about another discussion as to how much does Apple themselves actually spend on marketing in this region?

Think about it.

Have you seen any advertising directly by Apple in the UAE for Macbooks, iPod's, Apple TV or iPad's (which actually has not been officially launched by Apple in the UAE).  The only product you actually see marketed by Apple is the iPhone which by virtue of the fact that it is operator-driven, is seeing it's marketing channelled through du and Etisalat (which no doubt is somewhat subsidized by Apple).

Most of the marketing or advertising done by Apple in the UAE is in fact funded and done by most retailers themselves, with barely any subsidies from Apple.  Apple's marketing has been viral and it is word-of-mouth experiences that have helped it thrive.  The press also loves talking about Apple, though there isn't much press or PR support from Apple in this region.  As retailers, we talk about Apple and advertise it at our own cost in most cases because of the unprecedented demand that Apple has created for themselves.

Considering the amount so many other brands probably spend on marketing, communications and PR, Apple's spend is negligible in fact.  Apple's best marketing tools have been people like you and us who talk about it constantly.  How much does that cost Apple?  Not very much.

It's food for thought and a little something to think about the next time someone says Apple does a great job with their marketing.  Rather, you need to think, how much of your time have you spent marketing for Apple instead?

Posted by: Ashish Panjabi, Chief Operating Officer, Jacky's Electronics LLC