iPod Halo Effect: How-To Convert Walk-In Windows-Sufferers To Mac-Zealots

in On Entrepreneurship

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.

For example:

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. grin

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anonymous November 13, 2005 at 12:11 am

I switched in 1999, getting the “bubble” iMac at the time. I’m just a consumer user, not business. My software conversion needs weren’t extensive.

I think I bought… No, wait. My husband had just gotten an off-site job with a new company when we bought that iMac. He just gave them a ring when we chose the iMac and asked for a switch from PC to Mac on his order for Microsoft Office.

Peripherals?

Well, I bought a scanner that I didn’t have before. I had to buy an adapter cord for my aging printer. And… Um…

I think that was it.

I can still remember when I got that first iMac, opened the box. There was this pretty gate fold thing that said setup instructions on it, but it didn’t have any words. Just three or four big pictures. I thought, that can’t be it! My son and I looked and looked for the real setup instructions. We were fairly experienced PC users, well familiar with plug this here and that there, and connect this to that. But we weren’t seeing anything like that. We were about to despair. Then, hesitantly, we picked up that gatefold brochure. And did what the pictures said.

We were on the internet in 10 minutes. It was that damned easy!

It was the first “lesson” about switching from PC to Mac: Don’t overthink. Whip out Occam’s Razor. The simple and obvious ishow to do it on a Mac.
——-

Reply

2 Anonymous November 13, 2005 at 5:11 am

I switched in 1999, getting the “bubble” iMac at the time. I’m just a consumer user, not business. My software conversion needs weren’t extensive.
I think I bought… No, wait. My husband had just gotten an off-site job with a new company when we bought that iMac. He just gave them a ring when we chose the iMac and asked for a switch from PC to Mac on his order for Microsoft Office.
Peripherals?
Well, I bought a scanner that I didn’t have before. I had to buy an adapter cord for my aging printer. And… Um…
I think that was it.
I can still remember when I got that first iMac, opened the box. There was this pretty gate fold thing that said setup instructions on it, but it didn’t have any words. Just three or four big pictures. I thought, that can’t be it! My son and I looked and looked for the real setup instructions. We were fairly experienced PC users, well familiar with plug this here and that there, and connect this to that. But we weren’t seeing anything like that. We were about to despair. Then, hesitantly, we picked up that gatefold brochure. And did what the pictures said.
We were on the internet in 10 minutes. It was that damned easy!
It was the first “lesson” about switching from PC to Mac: Don’t overthink. Whip out Occam’s Razor. The simple and obvious ishow to do it on a Mac.——-

Reply

3 Anonymous January 25, 2005 at 4:01 pm

Michael and, um, “me” – why buy Office for Mac? Have you given NeoOffice/J a test drive yet? It’s the Cocoa port of OpenOffice, and very mature. It won’t do any scripting, but in regards to a word processor, spreasheet, and compatibility with Office documents I have found no problems yet.

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4 Anonymous January 25, 2005 at 9:01 pm

Michael and, um, “me” – why buy Office for Mac? Have you given NeoOffice/J a test drive yet? It’s the Cocoa port of OpenOffice, and very mature. It won’t do any scripting, but in regards to a word processor, spreasheet, and compatibility with Office documents I have found no problems yet.

Reply

5 Anonymous January 20, 2005 at 4:01 pm

Re: Costs of switching to a Mac

I didn’t keep a tally, so I’m not sure of the exact numbers. I can tell you the biggest waste was Virtual PC, something I used for about a week then dumped when I realized I just didn’t need it. If I were starting from scratch I’d buy a) MS Office, b) VoodooPad, c) Omni-everything, d) Hog Bay Notebook, e) DevonThink, f) NetNewsWire and MarsEdit, and g) Amadeus for audio editing. I don’t know what that adds up to, probably about $600 or so (most of which is tied into Office)? All well worth it.

Michael

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6 Anonymous January 20, 2005 at 9:01 pm

Re: Costs of switching to a Mac
I didn’t keep a tally, so I’m not sure of the exact numbers. I can tell you the biggest waste was Virtual PC, something I used for about a week then dumped when I realized I just didn’t need it. If I were starting from scratch I’d buy a) MS Office, b) VoodooPad, c) Omni-everything, d) Hog Bay Notebook, e) DevonThink, f) NetNewsWire and MarsEdit, and g) Amadeus for audio editing. I don’t know what that adds up to, probably about $600 or so (most of which is tied into Office)? All well worth it.
Michael

Reply

7 Anonymous January 20, 2005 at 2:01 pm

Thanks for all the comments, so far.

About “slapping windows users in the face” or “badgering them” … that is not what I’m suggesting. Many, not all, people will not ask questions if they think it will make them feel or look dumb. A Windows user going into an Apple store, curious about switching, will appreciate information being available to satisfy that curiosity. Getting them to voluntarily come to an information-stocked kiosk, with someone trained to answer those questions nearby; is not the equivalent of strapping them down to a bed for electro-shock therapy. grin

A very hands-off approach works great IF you have great educational/marketing material to drive the process. Apple doesn’t. Their stores definitely don’t. While the people there are great, the social dynamics of the situation means the curious but intimidate switcher (as a few of you have described) WON’T approach them due to crowds and intimidation. There has got to be something to drive the process if they are serious about getting more people to switch.

As for the sign suggestion, if it doesn’t specifically flag Windows-users, having a kiosk about switching complete with demos, educational material, and staff won’t work.

Thanks for all the comments so far—-

Michael Cage

Reply

8 Anonymous January 20, 2005 at 7:01 pm

Thanks for all the comments, so far.
About “slapping windows users in the face” or “badgering them” … that is not what I’m suggesting. Many, not all, people will not ask questions if they think it will make them feel or look dumb. A Windows user going into an Apple store, curious about switching, will appreciate information being available to satisfy that curiosity. Getting them to voluntarily come to an information-stocked kiosk, with someone trained to answer those questions nearby; is not the equivalent of strapping them down to a bed for electro-shock therapy.
A very hands-off approach works great IF you have great educational/marketing material to drive the process. Apple doesn’t. Their stores definitely don’t. While the people there are great, the social dynamics of the situation means the curious but intimidate switcher (as a few of you have described) WON’T approach them due to crowds and intimidation. There has got to be something to drive the process if they are serious about getting more people to switch.
As for the sign suggestion, if it doesn’t specifically flag Windows-users, having a kiosk about switching complete with demos, educational material, and staff won’t work.
Thanks for all the comments so far—-
Michael Cage

Reply

9 Anonymous January 20, 2005 at 6:01 am

I agree with JDB…the best way to get converts is to NOT slap them in the face with it. While I think some of my Windows user friends would switch if they made the decision themselves, I also think they would hate a sign asking them to do it in the store they already decided to go check out: the Apple store. They know what they’re getting into. And one of the best things about it is that the Apple employees WON’T badger you, or stop you from playing with things all by yourself, or shove software down your throat. They might patiently ask if you have any questions, but that is the amazing thing about their strategy: it’s hands-off.

I DO, however, think your general idea of getting the message out about great software is a good one (maybe this could be done with a small brochure next to the machines), but anything that makes a Windows user feel “targeted” or “segregated” in some way, I think, will turn them off. When I just talk to my Windows friends about what they ask ME about, they are really open and curious. Any other time, they shut down. No pun intended.

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10 Anonymous January 20, 2005 at 6:01 am

Great article.  I’m curious about your switching costs.  Not the cost of the Mac but the extras, buying compat software and peripherals.  Is that a big turnoff and often a deal breaker for switchers?

Reply

11 Anonymous January 20, 2005 at 6:01 am

The sign should perhaps read “Do you want be more productive with your computer?”

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12 Anonymous January 20, 2005 at 11:01 am

Great article.  I’m curious about your switching costs.  Not the cost of the Mac but the extras, buying compat software and peripherals.  Is that a big turnoff and often a deal breaker for switchers?

Reply

13 Anonymous January 20, 2005 at 11:01 am

The sign should perhaps read “Do you want be more productive with your computer?”

Reply

14 Anonymous January 20, 2005 at 11:01 am

Great article.  I’m curious about your switching costs.  Not the cost of the Mac but the extras, buying compat software and peripherals.  Is that a big turnoff and often a deal breaker for switchers?

Reply

15 Anonymous January 20, 2005 at 11:01 am

I agree with JDB…the best way to get converts is to NOT slap them in the face with it. While I think some of my Windows user friends would switch if they made the decision themselves, I also think they would hate a sign asking them to do it in the store they already decided to go check out: the Apple store. They know what they’re getting into. And one of the best things about it is that the Apple employees WON’T badger you, or stop you from playing with things all by yourself, or shove software down your throat. They might patiently ask if you have any questions, but that is the amazing thing about their strategy: it’s hands-off.
I DO, however, think your general idea of getting the message out about great software is a good one (maybe this could be done with a small brochure next to the machines), but anything that makes a Windows user feel “targeted” or “segregated” in some way, I think, will turn them off. When I just talk to my Windows friends about what they ask ME about, they are really open and curious. Any other time, they shut down. No pun intended.

Reply

16 Anonymous January 19, 2005 at 11:01 pm

Careful, you don’t want to become one of those “I switched to the Mac and so should you” zealots. I don’t say that lightly. I’ve been using a Mac since 1985 and I recommend them whenever reasonable but nothing is worse than over doing it. Trust me, nothing turns off the average Windows user more than having a Mac user badger them to switch. I’ve learned from long experience that you have to be understated or it backfires.

This is where the Mac mini is critical. It gives people an fun and inexpensive way to satisfy their curiosity about OS X and still keep using what they are comfortable with. It is the ultimate in stealth marketing.

Reply

17 Anonymous January 20, 2005 at 4:01 am

Careful, you don’t want to become one of those “I switched to the Mac and so should you” zealots. I don’t say that lightly. I’ve been using a Mac since 1985 and I recommend them whenever reasonable but nothing is worse than over doing it. Trust me, nothing turns off the average Windows user more than having a Mac user badger them to switch. I’ve learned from long experience that you have to be understated or it backfires.
This is where the Mac mini is critical. It gives people an fun and inexpensive way to satisfy their curiosity about OS X and still keep using what they are comfortable with. It is the ultimate in stealth marketing.

Reply

18 Anonymous January 19, 2005 at 7:02 pm

I switched from a DOS machine to a Mac almost twenty years ago and even then I knew the DOS machine was crap in comparison. It was also less than half the cost of a Mac. Now days we don’t concern ourselves with cost, but I must admit I’ve never even heard of the programs you mentioned. You’re right. Someone needs to get the word out. I guess you’re the someone.

Thanks!

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19 Anonymous January 20, 2005 at 12:02 am

I switched from a DOS machine to a Mac almost twenty years ago and even then I knew the DOS machine was crap in comparison. It was also less than half the cost of a Mac. Now days we don’t concern ourselves with cost, but I must admit I’ve never even heard of the programs you mentioned. You’re right. Someone needs to get the word out. I guess you’re the someone.
Thanks!

Reply

20 Anonymous January 19, 2005 at 4:01 pm

Ben,

Thanks—one of the projects I’m currently working on behind the scenes is a “mac for entrepreneurs” site. I want to go beyond just listing apps, and get into how they are actually used to help grow a business. (Something like 43 Folders, but with a wider scope.) Feel free to send in any suggestions, everyone will get credit and links. (michael DOT cage AT gmail DOT com)

Michael

Reply

21 Anonymous January 19, 2005 at 4:01 pm

Geez, I can’t believe I’m the first to comment on this one!  Great post.  I too switched at about the same time…  And I totally agree…  …if I had only known sooner!

Thanks for listing your favorite OSX entrepreneurial software programs…  …I’ve been searching on my own, but like you said, there really should be a better way for new windows users to know about the superior software titles.

Reply

22 Anonymous January 19, 2005 at 9:01 pm

Geez, I can’t believe I’m the first to comment on this one!  Great post.  I too switched at about the same time…  And I totally agree…  …if I had only known sooner!
Thanks for listing your favorite OSX entrepreneurial software programs…  …I’ve been searching on my own, but like you said, there really should be a better way for new windows users to know about the superior software titles.

Reply

23 Anonymous January 19, 2005 at 9:01 pm

Ben,
Thanks—one of the projects I’m currently working on behind the scenes is a “mac for entrepreneurs” site. I want to go beyond just listing apps, and get into how they are actually used to help grow a business. (Something like 43 Folders, but with a wider scope.) Feel free to send in any suggestions, everyone will get credit and links. (michael DOT cage AT gmail DOT com)
Michael

Reply

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