APPLEApple has the hottest product in the land with the iPhone, posted a record quarter for both revenue and profits, and its "I'm a Mac" effort is the most durable campaign around, with many devoted fans. One of those fans asked why we didn't look at Apple as Marketer of the Year in a comment on AdAge.com. "I actually watch their commercials," wrote The Scoopz of Raleigh, N.C. "I do not watch any TV in real time."
Just try to find a brand with a bigger mass of loyal followers. That fervency has led to a soaring share in the smartphone category, and even the Mac line of laptops and desktops is making some headway in a competitive set where Apple stands as the pricier offering -- not too shabby given the current focus on value. But when you boil it down, Apple's story in 2009 is one of continued excellence. While it managed to gin up hype around a new version of the iPhone and communicated the non-musical capabilities of the iPod, there were no new breakthroughs. 2010, however, could be a different story, as Steve Jobs and company are likely to unveil a new tablet computer that could change how people communicate, just as the iPhone did.
FORD"What about Ford?" wrote Cdwriter, of Owings Mills, Md. "Not accepting the government bailout was smart marketing. These days, getting back to fundamentals like improving the product line, which they did and are doing -- that's smart marketing. Developing a strategy that'll withstand market cycles -- that's smart marketing." As we near the end of 2009, it's clear Ford is the best positioned of what's left of Detroit's Big Three. Not taking Uncle Sam's money kept Ford from getting a big black mark with consumers and allowed it to keep its independence.
With that freedom, Ford has concentrated on building its brand, in sharp contrast to most other carmakers now focused almost entirely on retail pushes. Ford has also been smart about using digital, especially social media, as with the launch of the Fiesta in the U.S. Budgets have kept up, with Ford expected to spend big for the remainder of this year and the first quarter of 2010. All in all, there's plenty of reason Ford has a long-term marketing strategy that could help lead the company to continue to grab share from Chrysler and General Motors and out of the auto mess. Last week, Ford said it had snapped 17 consecutive quarters of losses, announcing nearly a $1 billion profit.