Apple and AT&T have been joined at the hip since the iPhone’s introduction in 2007. U.S. customers who wanted the device had one choice of carrier. Apple needed to drop its exclusive with AT&T for a number of reasons:
- Verizon is AT&T’s serious competition in the U.S.
- Verizon was heavily courting companies like Motorola that were building phones using Google’s Android as the operating system.
- AT&T has developed a reputation — rightly or wrongly — for bad or limited connectivity for the i Phone.
- Apple can sell only so many i Phones in the US solely through AT&T. Eventually it reaches a market saturation point with the carrier.
From a strategy standpoint, Apple recognized that to grow it needed to expand its channel of distribution; how it gets its product to market and how it reaches new customers
For the proprietor, or any one who owns a business that is dependent upon customers visits as its business model, the need to expand its base is a never ending and expensive battle. So new ways to reach a new base must be reviewed.
1. Be the builder of multiple relationships:
A “Facebook” strategy and a “Linkedin” strategy that targets your business friends, acquaintances and any other “business” friend you may have. Write to them under your company facebook page telling them what or how you are doing to market your business. Their feedback will broaden your market reach, give you information to make better decisions and get a level of involvement with your business that you never had. Benefits -95, Costs -$0. Thank them with “bowling offers.”
2. Be the merchant of “freemiums”:
Give information, ideas, and assistance to your business network(s) without asking for anything back. There will be time for asking when you build the level of trust that is needed. Here’s an example. One of our clients wanted to expand the market for its fish n chips sandwich in a predominantly “burger and chicken” facility. What happened astonished them. They offered 20 free fish sandwiches and the next week they sold 30+ sandwiches. Not bad considering that they hadn’t sold any for a month. Thank you Mr. Network.
3. Be the niche marketer:
Do you know how many ethnic newspapers, radio stations and web sites there are in your market and no one is marketing to these specific ethnic groups. In Texas, several of my clients had the opportunity to market on Hispanic stations (at extremely low rates). By creating a Hispanic facebook network, the proprietors became involved in the fabric of this community; building trust and establishing relationships. The result was more parties and special events.
Setting up your business “Facebook” page and “Linkedin” page is a snap. If you can’t figure it out, ask your teenager or any teenager.
Just promise me one thing: Please don’t use it as a billboard to constantly sell.