Business is tough, it’s nearly impossible to sustain an advantage over the competition.  

However, there is one brand that makes it look easy, year after year. 

Now, I’m not going to spoil the topic just yet. Just know with this brand, the Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. (Oops I gave it away – LOL.)
Starting with the iPod nano in 2005 and now the Airpods Max in 2023, Apple specializes in turning everyday accessories into no-hesitation must-haves. 

Now I know you’re familiar with Apple, their ecosystem, and breadth of products, but today we’re honing in on one product in particular. The Apple Airpods Max. Why?

Because this product had absolutely no reason to be as successful as it was.
For context, the Apple Airpods Max are over-the-ear headphones. 

Yes, like what you wore in high school. Priced at $549 in a market where earbuds were the overwhelming trend, the Apple Airpods Max went against conventional wisdom and sold out in 5 days. 

How tf did they do it? (Pardon my French.) Their $549 price tag.
Ok not only because of that, but hear me out. 

Apple successfully removed all competition with their pricing. 

Sitting $200 above the traditional noise canceling headphones and $200 below the high-end headphones, it’s difficult to pin a competitor.  

When looking spec for spec, it’s hard to compare with other headphones, in turn building their own niche within the over-the-ear headphone market. And we know from last week’s email, niches get riches.
But there’s something else special about the price.

The Apple Airpods Max are positioned as “attainable luxury”. Luxury products give us the feel of status, one of people’s biggest desires.
But most of the luxury products that indicate status are wayyyy out of the average consumer’s budget. 

Think Rolex, not many people can afford the luxury of a $10k watch. Now with the Apple Airpods Max, for most people the $549 price is steep, but it’s not entirely out of the question. 

It’s a luxury good consumers want and in this instance can actually afford, the best of both worlds.  Price has a MASSIVE impact in our role as Marketers, let’s use it to our advantage.
Apple knows what they’re doing, they NEVER fall into the traps that their competition does. 

While their competition focuses on features and overpromises, Apple keeps a low profile on the product and overdelivers. 

When you visit their landing page there is no focus on the price, but instead you’re shown a video that positions the product as a piece of art. Their competition sells a product, Apple sells a feeling.
Then like any great business, Apple is stellar at recognizing trends. There’s an entire generation *cough cough* Gen Z, who has grown up on earbuds, never experiencing the wonders of over-the-ear headphones. 

The chord was cut and wireless earbuds became the “it” way to listen to music. To us Millennials, chunky over-the-ear headphones instill nostalgia. 
By realizing this gap in the market, Apple introduced a familiar product that appeared novel simply because of the direction the market was headed. Gen Z saw the product as “new”, activating the dopamine system, elevating the positive perception of Apple. 

Millennials saw the product as a throwback to the good ‘ol days, reigniting fond memories, building a bond between Apple and consumer.  

A dream combo for Marketers. And always remember, an Apple (AirPods Max) a day keeps the doctor away.
Daniel Murray
Daniel Murray
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