IPad pre-order: An engaging prospect

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Apple is well known for its progressive digital marketing approach, and it is a no-brainer to market pre-orders to the faithful Apple audience. It's not that different than the iPhone launch, with its sensationalized TV spots and unparalleled pre-buzz. Some would say it's not hard to market such an innovative product, but the synchronization of marketing activities to fulfillment that sustains itself for months is what I admire most. Apple has applied its messaging and brand positioning to this launch. That simple message, consistent across media, did not waver as the skeptics and loyalists battled it out.

Taking advantage of a pre-launch is the primer to trending anticipated sales. This campaign is important not for its promotional or direct response timing, but for its alignment with the cadence of customer communications to iTunes, iPod and iPhone users. Apple has created brand connections with each product and leveraged many forms of media and direct response to build consistent messaging and value that support each other. The iPad campaign created such market buzz and millions in free advertising from partners and publishers that it can easily be seen as one of the most effective, talked about campaigns of 2010.

The e-mail program may be the prompt to urgency and the reminder to buy, viewed both in the in-box and on the mobile device, but these types of promotions are only as successful as the supporting media and engagement vehicles. Countless publications were talking about this product and its implications. Apple is not a follower by nature, so you won't see a fan page dedicated to the pure Apple brand; you'll see social media at its best, contextual to the product. Apple makes fans segment themselves, self-selecting based on product interest. It's a novel concept I'm sure many brands will follow. With more than 3.5 million fans on the iTunes Facebook fan page, this is a perfect platform to release and pre-release products to these dedicated and sometimes fanatical audiences. To do so, you must have good coordination with other channels to deliver on the brand promise. Apple used its digital and offline outlets to make this launch amazingly effective.

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