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Apple is stuck marketing the Apple Vision Pro, and it may not return to form until one specific, compelling use emerges The headset appears.
What's going on with Apple Vision Pro marketing?
The theory I learned when I took a marketing class in a computer course in college was that marketing is not advertising. With advertising, you promote your products, and with marketing, you find the best audience for your products and then target them with advertising.
But I remember one more practical thing: the best results can be achieved by choosing the so-called “rifle shot” approach or the “spray and pray” method. Apple chose neither for the Apple Vision Pro.
With rifle shot, you're targeting a really specific audience that you know likes what you do. For example, Nike targets runners with its shoes.
Whereas with spray and pray you throw whatever comes to mind, you throw it at anyone passing by and hope something sticks. Or that enough of it will stick to enough people that you'll be able to sell enough.
Apple can't spray and pray because Apple Vision Pro is so expensive that its audience is limited. Before this audience even considers whether purchasing a headset makes sense for them, this audience needs to be one that can afford $3,499 or more.
But Apple also can't shoot a rifle, or at least not very well, because there isn't one specific audience for the Apple Vision Pro. Today, for example, the Apple Watch is actually advertised specifically for its health benefits.
The iPhone doesn't sell that specifically, but the iPhone has been selling for 17 years, so its audience is pretty much self-selecting. If you need a smartphone today, you've at least already heard of the iPhone.
What Apple did with the Apple Vision Pro
Perhaps the main use, the killer application, for the Apple Vision Pro will come when people get their hands on it. That's exactly what happened with the Apple Watch, but Apple still had a plan when they released the watch in 2015.
Apple is targeting them, at least largely, at the fashion market. The company had a gold version, it sold watches in fashion stores in Paris, it did more, but fashion was a clear and distinct goal.
Perhaps this was the wrong goal and the Apple Watch only became popular after the health benefits became dominant and Apple's marketing could focus on that.
But in the case of the Apple Vision Pro, Apple isn't even targeting the wrong market. He does it half-heartedly, spraying and praying, and even then he does it in a peculiar way.
Apple Vision Pro Advertising
The obvious thing marketing should do is do , is to get sales. But it does more, and when done well, it ensures the success of the product both now and in the future.
The real task of marketing is to make us think about the product — and not then reject it.
It's similar to how a resume is designed to get you an interview. It is not intended to provide companies with enough information to cause them to decide not to contact you.
A resume will get you through the door, and then it's up to you. Marketing gets the Apple Vision Pro or any other product into our heads and then the device has to demonstrate its value.
Apple has taken five steps to popularize Apple Vision Pro. Firstly, the company presented it at WWDC 2023, where, apart from the iPhone releases, Apple is getting the most attention.
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At least this option was on the verge , other firms could be seen scrambling to do anything to prevent consumers from equating Apple with headsets, such as Meta “accidentally” releasing a four-year roadmap for its AR headset shortly before WWDC.
Apple also released a typically well-done video for the time, a nine-minute introduction to the Apple Vision Pro. It may have been the first public presentation, but Apple didn't promote it or produce any TV spots for it.
Instead, Apple spent the next few months very carefully, showing select journalists and other influencers a well-made, well-designed, and well-executed personal demo of the headset. It is significant that AppleInsider, who organized the use of Apple Vision Pro without the participation of Apple marketers, had a more negative practical function than others.
This personal demo business continued for several months, until the day Apple announced the date for pre-orders. Apple announced that on January 8, 2024, the first day of the Consumer Electronics Show, which it never attended, — but he knew the announcement would have an impact.
Apple has picked a key time when early adopters, existing headset users and tech fans will be looking for news. This also happened when it was announced that this product would be included in every CES news story, but it also drowned out some of the devices that were actually featured there.
Finally, Apple goes public
Then the day after CES – With this attention-grabbing announcement, Apple is finally reaching out to a non-tech audience. It featured a 30-second commercial called “Get Ready.”
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This is a well-made advertisement that not only tries to attract the attention of new people, but also gives something in return to existing users. The commercial features numerous clips from famous films, subtly mimicking similar ads Apple made for the original iPhone.
If you remember the addition of the iPhone, it was nice. But if you didn't, it didn't matter — The ad worked no matter what.
It worked in the sense that people started talking and the name “Vision Pro” appeared in front of them. Not that the name means anything, unlike the iPhone or Apple Watch.
The advertisement told no one anything at all about what the Apple Vision Pro does. Just as the 2007 iPhone ad ended with the iPhone ringing, this one showed a woman putting on a headset and seeing the Apple Vision Pro home screen.
It is clear that this is the home screen, it is clear that there are applications on the screen, it is not remotely specified what can be done with them — or how.
Apple has released a new tour video, which is, however, again well done, and it shows some of the details of the Apple Vision Pro for the first time.
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But Apple only released this video on the day of pre-order. If you didn't know about the headset until you watched the promo video, by the time you got to the end of it, the Apple Vision Pro was already sold out.
This is a poorly timed marketing campaign. If only Apple didn't really want to capitalize on the attention it got from pre-orders and start embedding the Apple Vision Pro in the minds of people who would buy later.
Maybe we'll look back on this launch and see that it was a long game well played. And showing this tour video to people who knew nothing about the headset made an impression on them.
But it also forced them to ask questions to which the only answer was “we don’t know yet.”
This isn't the iPhone, where everyone already knows what it does and just wants to know how it does it. You can leave the iPhone audience wanting more because you showed them a compelling taste of what it does, and in a way that you knew you'd use it.
Until now, the marketing company Apple Vision Pro tried to do the same, but the problem is that few people already understand what the headset is capable of. Those who know are people who are already interested, perhaps have already invested — and may be the only people to pre-order the Apple version.
In other words, Apple was selling the Apple Vision Pro to people they didn't need to sell it to. This is an existing audience that, despite years of using headsets, is still actively adopting new technologies and actively seeking out better devices.
What Apple hasn't done is market anyone — The Apple Vision Pro isn't pitched as the headset for the rest of us.
Given that Apple may have only released a few devices compared to the iPhone, this may be intentional despite the more public tour video.
However, even among the tech audience who are looking for what Apple will do in this area, Apple's marketing hasn't told them anything.
Apple Vision Pro can be used for so many purposes that it is not yet possible to determine which one will dominate. And perhaps neither of them works well enough to make one of them dominate.
Until the Apple Vision Pro is impressive in one thing, or until Apple Vision Pro buyers are committed to one use, Apple's great marketing teams typically fail.