Experts Discuss Mobile Growth, Impact Of Apple Product Marketing On Luxury Retail

Luxury and other upscale brands can learn from the Apple marketing techniques and innovative products that have impacted the retail industry significantly in recent years. In fact, Apple marketing and product ingenuity has helped expand U.S. smartphone penetration from just 3% of the population in 2007, prior to release of the pricey iPhone, to more than 47% today, according to a June 2012 comScore study.

In a recent webcast presented by Luxury Daily, a luxury marketing publication, titled: What Apple’s Offense Means To Luxury Brands, Retailers And Rivals, Scott Forshay, Mobile and Emerging Technologies Strategist at Acquity Group, discussed how Apple innovation and the way consumers use Apple products are paving the way for engagement among luxury marketers and their audiences.

In addition to Forshay, webinar panelists included: Tom O’Regan, Chief Revenue Officer for Martini Media; Patrick Frend, Managing Director of Razorfish; and Jack Philbin, President and CEO of Vibes.


The Ultimate Cross-Channel Catalyst For Innovation

Apple is positioned as the de facto device leader in luxury direct-to-consumer technologies across all mobile and portability solution enablers, noted Forshay. “It is important…to consider that undeniable truth — that technology, at its best, is merely an enabler,” he said. “The human experience with a brand is not the result of technology, but of emotion.”

The fundamental Apple approach to design is an unwavering commitment to the unification of technology and the liberal arts, Forshay remarked. He said this approach has positioned Apple as a technology catalyst for agile consumer/brand engagement.

O’Regan said the advances in technology and innovation by Apple have brands racing to catch up, and opened many opportunities not available years ago. “Consumers have a much more engaging experience with Apple products,” said O’Regan. “If marketers leverage these products correctly, they have an amazing opportunity to connect with customers like never before, and grow audiences in leaps and bounds.”

Marketers can appeal to luxury consumers by embracing the iPad as a “big canvas,” using rich media to infuse sight, sound and motion into promotions and other communication, noted O’Regan. Luxury brands initially were hesitant about using digital to reach the target of wealthy consumers “because banner ads were not successful for affluent consumers,” he added, “but [digital has] really helped promote luxury products.”  

Today Apple has gone mainstream, O’Regan said, but it was the affluent consumer that began the Apple product adoption that changed the digital world as we know it, and who influenced the market at large.

Apple definitely has raised the bar for luxury brands and retailers, according to Frend. “I intentionally say brands instead of marketers because the impact goes beyond just the way brands market their products but rather to the products themselves,” he said. “Luxury is personal and ever-ready to be at your service; these devices are incredibly powerful channels to deliver experiences that are luxurious ― rich, smart, immediate.”

How Apple Changed The Smartphone Market

Philibin credited the iPhone with the emergence of the smartphone, as well as product design: He noted that prior to the iPhone, each mobile phone generally had a unique shape, size and appearance. Today, smartphones look similar.

Apple also is redefining the mobile space, according to Frend, as follows:

1) Apple essentially created both the smartphone and tablet markets; and
2) With the combination of product diversity and iCloud simplicity, Apple is leading the way in pushing consumers towards a cloud-based future.

“The uptake of iCloud was impressive,” said Frend. “I don’t think there has been any larger-scale adaptation that demonstrates how this technology can work for us.”

The next Luxury Daily webcast, titled: Luxury Outlook 2013: Up, Down Or Flat?, takes place on Tuesday, December 4th, at 2pm ET.

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