Last week I went with my family to an Apple store, mostly because my daughter needed a new computer for school. There was no question that we were going to buy a Mac; she wouldn’t consider anything else! (Even though we’ve been buying Dells in our house for about 15 years, I’ve become an Apple convert).
The experience was great. We got assigned an Apple Genius as we walked into the store and he very effectively walked us through all of our options. We ended up with a MacBook, an iPod Touch, a printer, Microsoft Office, and an extended warranty. He brought all of the products to us and we handled the transaction on his portable device. The entire process took about 15 minutes, we only needed to speak with one person, and we spent a bundle of money. Win for Apple, and win for us.
As I mentioned, we left with an iPod Touch. It turns out that Apple is running a program where you get a free iPod Touch if you buy a Mac. That was great for me. I’ve wanted an iPod Touch for watching movies while sitting in airports and planes. This promotion (along with Massachusetts’ tax free day) sealed the deal. My daughter got what she needed, and I ended up with something that I’ve wanted. Win for my daughter, and win for me.
As I reflected back on this experience, I realized the brilliance of Apple’s strategy. By bundling an iPod Touch into the deal, there was something in it for the Mac user (my daughter) and the decision maker/buyer (me). We all win.
This strategy isn’t new. The same general concept exists in the travel industry. Companies pay for flights and lodging, but business travelers get the loyalty points. I’m an American Airlines/JetBlue, Starwood/Marriott guy. There’s something for everyone.
Although people use this strategy, I’ve never seen it given a formal name. But I think it’s important enough to have one. So I’m calling the strategy Influential Bundling, and defining it as:
Packaging products and services that deliver value for key influencers
How about Zales giving free football tickets with the purchase of a diamond ring? Think about how many new engagements that would generate. Or maybe The Gap could run a deal where you get $50 and free shipping from Piperlime on any purchase of $250 from The Gap or Old Navy. Parents can get some stylish shoes after helping their kids pick out their back to school wardrobes.
The bottom line: What decisions makers can you reach with Influential Bundling?