August 13, 2013
How to Drip like Apple: A Guide to Anticipation Marketing
“They’re making another one already?”
That’s what people say when rumors of the next iPhone first begin to surface. But what do they say when it’s finally out?
“Oh you got the new one!? I’m picking mine up next week.”
How in the world does Apple get people to this point? From “I’ll wait till the next one” to “Backorder!? Why didn’t they make more?‚”
It’s simple really. They drip like Chinese water torture. Even if you’re not familiar with the term “drip” I guarantee you’ve experienced it. It’s when companies release bits of information about their product to customers slowly. Always enough to peak their appetite, but never enough to satisfy. It leaves them starved for the next morsel of information.
It’s how Apple gets people eating out of their hands and forming lines days in advance of release dates. It starts with a rumor. Then a few more rumors. Followed by a semi-official announcement. Then a series of building announcements, blog posts and speculation from Apple enthusiasts. Suddenly you’ve consumed tons of content, but you don’t have the slightest idea what’s actually in store for the new iPhone.
But you are getting excited.
Then the good stuff starts coming in. Finally some actual details. Apple releases some information. Some specs. Screen sizes, updated navigation, and so on and so forth.
Then more rumors:
“Did you hear they overhauled the design?”
“It’s gonna be like ten times faster!”
“I heard Siri can tie your shoes now.”
Then more and more details, followed by more and more anticipation. Drip, drip, drip. And finally the big event. THE ANNOUNCEMENT. Apple holds a live event that people all over the world stream through their work computers. But nobody’s getting fired, because their bosses are doing the same thing.
And that’s when they drop the bomb‚ sort of. Sure they give you a big chunk of information. They tell you all about the new features and design. They confirm some rumors and give you a lot more than you’ve had before. It tastes great, but you’re still left hungry. What about all the features they didn’t discuss? They forgot to mention this, or what about that?
You never know all you get until you buy it yourself. It makes things exciting. Now you’re not just buying a phone. You’re buying an experience. You’re buying a scratch for an itch. It’s the power of anticipation. The power of the drip.
That’s the problem with all the competitors out there. Their strategy is just the opposite. They stand on a soapbox and shout out “Hey! Look at all the new stuff our phone does!” They try to get unsuspecting people to hear them while Apple is attracting followers who beg, pry and wait impatiently for more information.