Kevin Gilbert

Kevin Gilbert

Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock, you are aware that Apple has flooded the market with impressive state-of-the-art and stylish consumer electronics:  iPhone cell phones, iPod MP3 players, iPod Touch hand-held computers, and now the iPad tablet computer. Apple sold 3 million iPads in the first 80 days after launch. On the front-end of the product cycle (from a marketing point-of-view) Apple is stellar at driving demand. At the end of the product cycle, Apple produces products that customers love.  But how does Apple do in the middle of the product cycle – the acquisition process?

I recently decided to go old school and took a drive to a brick-and-mortar Apple Retail Store to purchase an iPad. It seems like an oxymoron to purchase the latest high-tech gadget in the oldest consumer way, but I’ve already experienced the pleasant purchase of an iPad online. Purchasing an iPad online had been a breeze thanks, in part, to an online customer service chat I had established. The representative on the other side of the chat stepped me through the entire online purchasing process. With a successful online purchase under my belt, I climbed into my car and headed to the Apple Store at a local mall for a new experience.

I entered the Apple Store on an average evening and was surprised how many customers were old-schooling it with me – the place reminded me of a coffee shop and was packed with people. Some were sitting around tables learning about Apple products, while others were admiring products that had been displayed around the store like museum pieces. I made my way to a salesman who stood ready with an iPod Touch in his hand.  There were no cash registers or check-out aisles because the entire exchange was done with the Touch. The salesman entered my order, connected it to my iTunes Apple Store account, and said, “would you like the receipt emailed, printed, or both?”  Having the receipt emailed in today’s digital age was certainly the way to go, but I was old-schooling it – I asked for a receipt. He approached a table, reached underneath, and magically produced a piece of paper that had my purchase information on it.

I left the Apple Store with my iPad and was as impressed with the brick-and-mortar experience as I had been with online store. I was excited to setup my new iPad. Surprisingly, the box only contained the iPad, a cord, and a power adapter – no multilingual manual or other useless material. Shortly after connecting the iPad to my iTunes Apple Store account, I received an email from Apple congratulating me on the purchase.  This welcome package became an electronic user manual that explained every aspect of my device. I was given opportunities to purchase accessories and use additional features such as ebooks and music.

Apple has done an outstanding job on multiple fronts. They have marketed their products as attractive, stylish, and state-of-the-art. The products live up to the hype and are a pleasure to work with.  Even as impressive as the marketing and the products is the acquisition process. Apple is doing an outstanding job on all fronts.

About the Author:

Kevin Gilbert is the Technology Manager at SIGMA Marketing Group.  Kevin headed the data center virtualization project for four years and is a VMWare Certified Professional (VCP).  Connect with Kevin on .


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Marketing Database Creation.

At some point in every database marketing project the ‘build vs. buy’ decision must be made. As a marketing practitioner I was tasked with building the marketing databases at two different companies. I then spent the bulk of my career on the provider side building marketing databases for clients, and I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of database marketing creation. As a Marketing Information Manager tasked with building a marketing database for a large regional bank, my first thought was to build it in house. After all, not many companies in those days had more computers or programmers than banks and I’d only need a small team to build and maintain the database. After pursuing this course for a while, I determined that the only way to get this accomplished in any sort of reasonable time frame and within budget was to contract with an outside database supplier.

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10 Marketing Trends for 2011

The meaning of marketing continues to evolve and how that changes the way we engage with our customers. Trends are emerging in customer engagement, how we integrate data, how we leverage marketing analytics. As marketers, we are also seeing social media usage mature, changes in mobile marketing and increased conversation about customer privacy. Customer touchpoint becomes a priority and understanding how all of these trends can work together will be the key to marketing success in 2011.

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Web Analytics: Understanding the Real Value of Online Conversions.

Nobody loves numbers more than your boss. Except his or her boss. Oh, and your boss’s boss too, unless you’ve already reached the top of the totem pole. Web analytics tools are at their most powerful when you can interpret and integrate the numbers they provide—the rapturous layers of percentages and pie charts—with what happens in the context of your organization’s business, outside the world of site visitor data. Did you get all that? In two recent SIGMA web analytics engagements, the key to the findings wasn’t was happening on page 27 of the site, or who was coming from Google. The key was to find the magic number—the value of what the online conversion or successful engagement meant to the company.

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Web Analytics + Customer Voice = 20/20 Vision.

In the age of tweeting of every customer’s every impulse, and the power of exquisite multivariate tests generating thousands of permutations, there is no shortage of data inputs that can drive a business’s reactions to, well, nearly everything.

Web analytics is a balance of a number of different disciplines, but unlike a #16 seed in the NCAA basketball tournament, it’s never one-and-done. A recent web analytics engagement put the spotlight on an outcome when the results of multivariate testing conflicted with what came next.

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Is RFID Getting Primed to Change Digital Marketing?

RFID, or Radio-Frequency Identification is the use of an object (typically referred to as an RFID tag) applied to or incorporated into a product for the purpose of identification and tracking using radio waves. These tags can be read from several meters away, out of the line of sight of the reader, and the reader can be linked via networks and integrated with applications.

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The Social Media Bandwagon Has Become a Supersonic Jet.

As a Social Media marketer with SIGMA Marketing Group, I am still amazed when I meet business savvy folks who have not yet adopted social media usage in any way, shape or form. There are varying degrees of usage and unique formulas for different business types and vertical markets, but I don’t care who you are… Social Media is here to stay, and will continue to evolve rapidly, so you can buy Instagram followers from I recently wrote an article on social media usage by industry, which focused primarily on B2B Social Media, but it provided some interesting insights about what industries have adopted social.

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Can Lead Generation Become More than “Frosting and Cherries?”

I recently called on a client and he described his vision of lead generation as “frosting and cherries.”  Let me explain.  His view is that the current state of lead generation is dead.  Salespeople in the “Internet world” have relied on leads from marketing which are neither good nor productive.  In his opinion, salespeople need [...]

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Is the Enterprise Ready for Cloud Marketing Services?

Is the typical Enterprise ready for marketing services from the “Cloud?” This question is one that involves more than marketing technology. As more and more services are becoming available over the internet or “the cloud,” the question will be asked, and answered, more frequently. A likely influencing factor is the maturity of the Enterprise’s Datacenter. The datacenter’s evolution may just offer Marketing the flexibility to evaluate more marketing technology options.

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Pareto’s Law or the Long Tail Theory? What Marketers Must Measure Now.

The foundational concept of all database marketing is the Pareto Principle, that 80% of your sales and profitability will come from about 20% of your customers. When we have analyzed our clients’ customer bases to prove out this theory, we often find that the distribution is even more uneven– that 100% or more of customer profitability comes from an exceedingly small group—because clients are actually losing money from some part of their customer population. The 80/20 theory often holds true for product sales as well – 80% of sales often comes from just 20% of the products offered by a manufacturer. This concept has driven everything in database marketing from audience identification to campaign structure, sales strategy etc.

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