An iPhone for Christmas

Stephen Yagielowicz
Well, it finally happened after all this time: last night, Santa Claus came a bit early and brought my lovely wife and I a pair of shiny new 32GB iPhone 3G S's.

No longer will I have to read about all of the cool apps and things that I can do with this little digital powerhouse. I can now use these tools for myself — and share some of the better ones with you here at XBIZ. I tell you this not to boast about our cool new toys, er, "tools," but to delve into some of the basic consumer psychology of our purchase process.

You see, we did not need to buy new phones. My Motorola Razr worked just fine for making calls; and as a top-of-the-line Razr, my photos, videos and Internet access using it were "ok." I had added a bunch of memory to it so it could hold more photos, but rarely used it for calling anyone. Likewise, my wife found her pink Razr comforting and was reluctant to upgrade.

But she likes to text with her kids — and the Razr's keypad is woefully small — so the iPhone's full keyboard and larger display make that easier and were her hot button. For me, however, what pushed me over the edge were the brackets.

In the macro-sense, the iPhone's appeal transcends basic telephone call making to include all of its many other uses — uses that are enabled or enhanced by using a variety of unique brackets to extend the iPhone's capabilities. For example, a small bracket enables you to mount the iPhone to your car's windshield for use as a GPS.

What got me, however, was the bracket that mounts the iPhone to your video camera, allowing it to be used as a teleprompter — as long as you have the app and service to enable it. In one version, the iPhone is a direct display device, suitable for smaller DV type cams. A larger version uses the iPhone as the monitor in a more typical "mirror and hood" setup, suitable for bigger cameras and studio settings.

This breadth of gee-whiz functionality is far too compelling to ignore, and far too handy not to have, so we relented and put the units at the top of our Christmas list. Old Saint Nick must have been nearby (or at least close to the AT&T Small Business Center), because he heard our requests and presto — a whole new level of technology is now ours.

The lesson here is that even if your customer does not need a product or service, he still may purchase and use it for sundry purposes far removed from what the manufacturer may have originally intended. For example, using a phone as a flashlight when putting your key into the car door at night.

Savvy marketers will find new and innovative uses or 'benefits' for their offers and keep presenting them until traction is established with consumers — and be ready to capitalize on unexpected sources of synergistic sales.

Apple tried to sell me an iPhone for a couple of years now, without success.

An ad for a teleprompter bracket in a B&H Photo / Video mailer finally sealed the deal.