You’ve probably seen much written about the iPod “halo effect” and how the new Mac Mini will help it spread. (Just in case you haven’t: the halo effect says Windows users who love the iPod will be more receptive to give the Mac a try because of their experience with the iPod.)
You’ll get no argument from me.
Retail Apple Stores are packed with walk-in traffic around the globe. Much of it due to the iPod. So the logical question for Apple (and one I was asked yesterday) … is, “how can you increase the conversion of walk-in Windows users to first-time Mac users?”
In May I switched from Windows to a Mac, and I’ll never go back.
I truly believe the Mac is the “ultimate entrepreneur machine.” As you’ll no doubt hear from any Mac user, “it just flat-out works.” That translates to productivity boosts for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
In fact, if Forbes is “the Capitalist Tool” … then the Mac should be “the Capitalist Machine.” (That should really get some Mac-heads, tee-hee.)
So… what would I do to get more walk-in-Windows-sufferers to convert to drink-the-Kool-Aid Mac nuts?
I’d start by flagging them down.
Though the idea hasn’t seeped into most small businesses, marketers have long understood the value of market segmentation.
Nice and simple, segmentation is the art of breaking a big pile of prospects down into small groups of prospects that share identifiable and marketable characteristics. Then, you create special marketing messages for each group. Done right, it costs less money to generate much higher response rates.
If you have a car dealership that stocks minivans and high-end sports cars, it’s valuable to segment families with children from recently divorced, high-income males ripe-and-ready for a mid-life crisis (and the bright red car that comes with it).
It should be obvious they’ll respond differently to different marketing messages.
This can work real-time in a retail environment too.
If I were working with an Apple retail store, the first thing a Windows user would see when they walked in the door is a big-ass sign saying:
Dear Windows User,
17 of you switch to Mac OS X every minute. Wonder why?
And a big, red arrow pointing to a special area of the store.
Now, lemme back up for a second. Some of you might be saying, “why acknowledge the competition? There shouldn’t be anything even mentioning Windows in an Apple store.”
In this case, that’s just plain silly.
There is no one walking into an Apple store who isn’t at least aware of Microsoft. It’s David and Goliath, and everyone knows who’s who. There is no reason to hide the 800 pound gorilla in the room, and every reason to leverage it into money and marketing effectiveness. (The reverse is NOT true: it’d be dumb for MS to acknowledge Apple.)
When they self-segmented — curious Windows users went over to the special section — there’d be information about how different classes of users (business, educational, etc.) make the switch and are happier and more productive doing things on the Mac. There’d also be a “conversion specialist” whose had the job of a) keeping up on all the latest Windows uses, b) keeping up on the Mac (superior) alternatives, and c) were trained in answering the questions of a soon-to-be-cheating, then-divorced Windows user.
This would bump conversions without much additional cost.
In fact, I mentioned earlier that I converted to a Mac in May of 04. I would have converted much, much sooner if I knew about just a few of the “killer entrepreneur apps” on the Mac. (Things like OmniOutliner, Hog Bay Notebook, VoodooPad, and DevonThink.)
Awareness was never the problem. I’d stopped in the Apple Store in Tysons Corner Center (Virginia) many times. The problem was a lack of actionable information available without my working hard to get it!
Anyway, so far, so good on the first step of the plan.
The next step would be to kick-off satifsfied converts with a bang. A bang that’ll get them talking to their friends, and frame anything and everything that happens from the moment they leave the store with a Mac in the very best possible light…
…that step will be in a post later this week. Leave your comments. And stay tuned.