Good marketing takes guts

Good marketing takes guts.  Sure, analytics are important and you need to have them if you want to avoid blowing both halves of your promotional budget on negative NPV efforts.  But analytics aren’t sufficient.  Good marketing means taking unquantifiable risks once in a while.  Really, what do you have to lose?

That’s why I was thrilled last week to see that Footnote No. 2 on the iPod Shuffle product page said "Do not eat iPod Shuffle".  Even with the lowliest footnote, here was Apple being Apple, thinking different, not afraid to poke fun at uptight lawyers and all the CYA footnoting typical of consumer product marketing.  This was about being fractal, being willing to be as hip and daring in something as trivial as a footnote as Apple is with big things like messaging, industrial design, and channel strategy.  Somewhere in Cupertino sat a brilliant, grinning brand manager, and I wanted to hire them on the spot. 

So imagine my dismay today when I went back to the Apple site to write a post about that brilliant brand manager and found that their cheeky disclaimer has been replaced by this piece of paralegal drivel:

Music capacity is based on 4 minutes per song and 128Kbps AAC encoding

Perhaps the other thing was just a joke.  Or perhaps some gutsy brand manager or web developer got their wee wee hit by the hard hammer of the CMO.  In the end, boring won out over brilliant.

Bummer.  Good marketing takes guts.

Feb 4 updateI ate iPod Shuffle

4 thoughts on “Good marketing takes guts

  1. Apple’s cheeky marketing can also serve as a distraction from an examination of the features that are sometimes lacking in their products. Turning a bug into a feature as it were. The whole shuffle thing is a cover for their choice not to include a navigation screen in the product. They have successfully distracted you from talking about that with a simple and short lived maneuver of a footnote. Still interesting though.

  2. Hi Peter,
    Thanks for your comment. I see your point, but I think it misses the point of what an Apple product is about how their approach differs from most “mainstream” efforts.
    It’s not about features. It’s about have an interesting point of view that’s compelling to users, and then building the product that fits the vision. From that perspective, NOT having the screen is the entire point of the iPod Shuffle. It’s about being the extreme low mass, small footprint, low cost player.
    Anyhow, that’s my point of view. I’m just glad to hear your thinking! Welcome to metacool!

  3. This reminds me of Office 95 (I think, it’s so long ago now) when the second tip-of-the-day was ‘Don’t run with scissors’.

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