4 lessons you should learn to sell like apple and other tech giants
George Rowlands, Marketing Journalist
After all, your business could become a real "tech giant". No really, it could. Maybe your business is already a "tech giant", in which case… give me some money.
I'm joking. But to be clear, I'm joking about the second statement rather than the first. Elon Musk was a "normo" at some point in the past. Tim Cook eats his cornflakes in the morning just like the rest of us. The difference is that they figured out how to make and market expensive things.
Welcome to our "Becoming a Tech Giant" 101 — how tech giants sell their products effectively.
Lesson #1: Make it look good
I walk to work. Every day I go the same way, right past Mama Clare's Cheesecake Factory. It's only small, but I've never been in… my girlfriend doesn't let me eat cheesecake. Anyway, every day there's a fresh little lemon and raspberry number sitting right there in the window. All delicious and creamy; tangy yet sweet.
I've never had one, but I know I want one. I even know what it tastes like. Why? Well, obviously because I can see it. Our eyes taste everything first. Big tech companies use visualisation of their products in the same way Mama Clare does to entice potential customers.
Tesla are selling a fast car, so they decided to take a picture of… a fast car. The Roadster in the foreground appears to be hurtling forward because of the blurred background. The deep red colour is alluring and provocative.
Samsung's SmartThings is at the cutting edge of Smart Home technology. It is an uber modern product range and so they are pictured here in an uber modern home. The simple design of the products matches the pure, polished design of the kitchen. It's cool, distinct, and everything fits together.
When something can do so much, it's important to show how it works and what it can do. Huawei's new P30 smartphone is effectively a camera, so there is a vast collection of P30-related photography on their website.
Showing the complexity of technology in a product exhibits the knowledge and workmanship that has gone into designing it. It might not even make sense to a normal smartphone buyer like me, but it still looks good. If you are more interested in the results of this technology, then they are on display as well.
These pictures showcase 3 different camera modes. The variation in landscapes proves the versatility of the camera. The amateur nature of these photographs is a nod of "you could do this too". It was probably cheap, easy, and quick to put this gallery together, but the result is a more informed consumer experience. Who knows, maybe even I could be a little bit more beautiful in portrait mode…
Videos are equally important. In a sector like gaming, people aren't so much interested in how something looks than how something does. Sony use videos for their PlayStation 4 products.
We can see that our guy is loving it. The video is autoplayed as consumers scroll to it, so they don't get a choice on whether to watch it or not. The short, quick shots are action-packed with in-game footage. So, how do I have the time of my life like this guy? Ah yes, must be by that huge VR Headset plonked front and centre of the shot.
We live in a visual world. Apps like Instagram mean everything we have is on show and this effectively makes everything a fashion accessory. Nowadays, how something looks is just as important as what it does. Good photography is a significant string in big tech's bow to exhibit both of these qualities.
Lesson #2: Keep it moving
In recent years, the giants have started incorporating interactivity into their websites. Interactivity gives customers a satisfying experience whilst unshackling the constraints of time and space. Imagine it like a real life showroom, but everybody in the world is invited.
In this example for the iPhone XR, Apple have managed to reinvent the scroll.
The result is a visual orgy of picture and text dancing together in perfectly choreographed unison. It"s extremely satisfying, and it"s impossible for consumer minds to wander because the page is already wandering for them. The effect is a perceived sense of response, control, and trust for the consumer who always has somewhere to go next. The top menu bar is also important, as a consumer might be looking for something specific before they get lost in a maze of motion and colour.
Apart from being beautiful, interactivity can also make ecommerce pages a lot more functional. With better interactivity, websites can provide a cyber hands-on experience. Amazon have a 360° view feature on their website to help consumers look at a product from every angle.
Similarly, Motorola have a feature on their website where consumers can see the different filters and settings that can be used on the Motorola Z-Force² smartphone.
Remember the dial-up days of the early noughties when everything was static even though it took 5 minutes to load? Well, things have changed. Welcome to 2019, the tech giants are moving fast, and it"s down to your business to keep up.
Lesson #3: Say it right
Even as visuals take centre stage in big tech marketing, the ways in which the giants use their words is as equally spellbinding. Still, there are different ways to say it right and each giant uses their own technique to sell.
Apple, for example, bombard consumers with superlatives in their iPhone XR campaign.
As humans, we are naturally perfectionists. The way Apple use superlatives positions the iPhone above every other rival smartphone on the market; the best in the world. Consumers are looking for the best thing on the market, and Apple have positioned themselves as the treasure at the end of the hunt.
Huawei, on the other hand, are dab hands at creating engaging calls to action (CTA)s to stir a consumer into doing something.
People respond to urgency, and a CTA creates a strong sense of urgency. Good CTAs map out a smooth and logical path to conversion. Without a CTA tell them what to do at the end of it all, consumers are met with a dead end and are more likely to look elsewhere.
Samsung are much less direct in their copy, instead they focus on why different features are on the Galaxy S10 smartphone.
This is a creative technique to sneak boring product specs into a more readable, informative format. Lots of brands tell us what a product does, but not enough of them tell us why they do it. Samsung are giving their consumers a more complete picture of the product before they decide to buy. The more a consumer knows about a product, the easier it is for them to decide to buy it.
All 3 of these giants are speaking directly to consumers, making it a more personal experience. Furthermore, they all use the interactive scroll feature that I mentioned before. The texts and the pictures are seamlessly put together to help explain each other. Likewise, they gyrate up the page together to give a more satisfying viewer experience.
Lesson #4: Keep a human touch
No matter how giant the giants become, they need to remember who they are selling to. Putting real-life human experiences online can help bring a product back down to earth.
Readily available contact information keeps giants in touch with their consumer base. It gives consumers the chance to air their questions or gripes that they may have with a product. It"s also a good way of building up a better system of feedback, so the giants know exactly what they can do better. After all, nobody is perfect.
Having a problem with a new product and having to search high and low for contact information can be infuriating. Beats are quite clearly in touch with their consumer base as this product support feature is slap-bang in the middle of their homepage.
It can even be as simple as including humans in the pictures to make a product more relatable. This is especially prevalent in wearable tech listings.
Fair enough, she looks cool in her brand new white and gold Beats headphones. She"s also clearly deeply immersed in the music she"s listening to… or maybe she just contemplating the $349.95 she just spent on a pair of headphones. Who knows? Either way, pictures of real people are a great way of showing exactly how a product looks in real-life context.
It"s not only pictures, but real human words also help to build more trust in a product. Reading the reviews of a product that somebody else has written can be a dealbreaker for consumers.
Not surprisingly, featured reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Even with the bias, this gives a further positive spin on the P30 smartphone. It"s easy for giants to keep professional reviews under control, but user reviews can be a little bit more unpredictable.
User reviews are so helpful that Amazon pretty much bases their whole buying experience on them. For better or for worse, you can"t fault their honesty.
Let's face it, you don't have the advertising budget of Apple, or an enormous team of world-class professionals like Tesla. This rigid list is not to be followed exactly. This list isn't even complete, when we take into account other techniques to increase conversion rates by knowing how to eliminate shopping cart abandonment or by including storytelling in product descriptions.
No, this list is for inspiration. It's a success story of different success stories. As your business grows, it will start to collect the resources it needs to look more like a giant.
But for now, wake up tomorrow, eat your cornflakes, and get creative with your next marketing campaign.