I'm a big fan of Apple. I first used their products in 1989 (an Apple Macintosh SE) and never looked back. After a long hiatus in the world of the PC (and a short stint working for the Evil Empire), I returned to the World of Jobs with the iPod in 2003 ish and since then I've probably owned every Apple form factor.
I now own (wait for it) ten Apple devices: MacBook Air, MacPro, Apple TV x 2, iPod Touch, iPod Classic, iPod Shuffle, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPad2 and iPad Mini. Its fair to say I'm a fan.
But Apple doesn't know that. In fact, it probably doesn't care. In another world I would be a Platinum customer, being loved, cherished and nurtured. But not in Apple's. Despite running the infamous "walled garden" iOS, demanding at every juncture that I let them get insight into what i'm doing and having me sign into iCloud for everything, they know nothing.
Never more is that obvious that in the communications I receive for them. The latest is "Buy an iPad for your loved one for Valentine's Day". No recognition of any loyalty. No offer and no discount. In fact its not even a new idea. I get the same email every holiday/season event saying much the same thing, the same as everyone else, with no personalization and no targeting.
It's the total opposite of what most marketers are trying to do. That's because using a one-size-fits-all approach may work for Apple, but its a road to disaster for the rest of us.
Tailoring communications based on behaviors has been proven to increase conversions and maximize retention rates. In Apple's case they know who I am (i've been registered on iTunes for nearly ten years) what products I've owned (I register them all), what music i like (i have all my 13,099 songs in iCloud), which emails I've opened, what I've clicked on and what web pages I have browsed.
And you likely have a similar wealth of information on your customers too. This demographic plus behaviors information is a goldmine for all of us that don't have the brand equity of Apple. How about using dynamic content in emails that reflects what the individual browsed on your site? Or an onsite experience that is tailored based on what emails they opened? Or scoring interactions to guess whether consumers are in active buying mode, sending offers at the right time, tailored to their profile.
This is the world of behavioral marketing and its the end of spray & pray marketing. Brands who ignore this do so at their peril. So for once, don't try and emulate Apple.