Last week, the first week in September, 2013, Apple debuted two new iPhones — the 5S with a 64 bit processor, and the 5C (marginally, all of $100.00, less expensive than the other iPhones in the 5 series). Despite a halted market reaction to these smart phones, Apple’s Public Relations team has, once again, done an exceptional job stimulating influential writers to render opinions on these products, which inflate the value of the features for public consumption.
The new phones have been cited as likely to succeed for as spurious a set of reasons as simply “it’s a new iPhone. I can afford one, you can’t, so turn green with envy”, all the way to the blinding speed of 64 bit processing for a smart phone. It’s actually of little consequence whether the claims of pundits make sense, or not. What’s really important is the impact of these claims on consumers, who will likely think more about these phones than would otherwise be the case if the original round of reviews had struck home.
ISVs will do well to study the effectiveness of this promotional campaign. A successful PR campaign like this one will contribute substantially to the popularity of these phones with the consumer market, not only for Apple, but for the carriers who opt to jump on the new products and pushing them out to their subscribers. What’s particularly impressive about this effort is the likely positive effect on consumer sentiment after a comparatively much less successful presentation of the features, themselves, to the technical community, investment analysts, and other commentators on Apple, the company.
Certainly a PR campaign should be a foundation plank of any launch of a new technical product. It is, nevertheless, curious for me to note the difficulty many ISVs experience when they grapple with how best to implement a PR campaign. The cost of the campaign should not be the key determiner of whether or not it makes sense to implement it, or not. The best basis to determine return on investment in this type of effort is to quantify how well the campaign performed against goals. Unfortunately, in my opinion, establishing useful goals is the really hard part.
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