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Marketer: Apple Needs Better Social Skills

Marketer: Apple Needs Better Social Skills

by , 12:30 PM EST, November 16th, 2007

Apple, which is renown for its marketing, has failed to engage its customers on a more personal level, doesn't have a blog and tries to sue its bloggers, according to Andy Beal at Marketing Pilgrim on Friday. Nike and Dell do a much better job of social networking with customers.

In a nutshell, Apple doesn't "get" social media. That's because Apple doesn't have to. In any Internet situation in which there's a support issue or problem, Apple can sit back and let its minions, surfeit with passion, do the job for them.

"At the recent BlogWorld Expo, I discussed two companies that 'get' social media and one that doesn’t. The two that get it were Nike and Dell," Mr. Beal wrote. "Nike’s excellent community efforts – especially Nike+ – and Dell’s efforts with forums and blogs are helping both companies join online conversations. Both companies are benefiting from ... higher sales ... and better stakeholder relations..."

On the other hand, the one that doesn't get it is Apple. Apple's supporters are left to engage each other and maybe a few non-believers on the Internet, and Apple is seen as distant and detached by both camps.

However, Mr. Beal submits that this must change now that Apple has reached out to become a consumer electronics company with broader appeal. He cited another author, Mark Evans, who explained it as follows:

"...Apple/Mac market has changed dramatically in recent years. It’s no longer just a relatively small group of rabid (avid?) Mac users who were more than willing to give Apple the benefit of the doubt because it was trying to be better and push the envelope. If things went wrong, the Mac Nation not only carried on but happily pitched in to help."

According to Mr. Beal, two things will happen to force Apple out of its hiding. First, Apple will start reaching many more customers who aren't so technically savvy. Apple will be seen as uncaring. Second, the legacy Mac evangelists will be stretched too thin to help. They just won't be there in every forum to come to Apple's aid.

"So, how long will it take Apple to wake-up and realize that it needs to embrace blogs, forums, social networks, Twitter, et al? They’re not ready yet," the author observed.

In other words, TMO notes, Apple needs to get on the Cluetrain.

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