In our last European round-up of Apple's marketing efforts in 1999, Macwelt's Christopher Jakob asked Stefan Heimerl, Apple's marketing director for the DACH region (which includes Germany, Austria and Switzerland), about the division's current and future marketing efforts in Germany. Among Heimerl's revelations: While Drupa (the massive print show that is scheduled once every five years and comes around this May in Duesseldorf), will be the major continental trade show for Apple in 2000, he hinted that Apple will leave CeBIT (Europe's largest IT show) in the hands of third-party developers.

Macwelt: What has Apple's marketing strategy been for the past few years?

Stefan Heimerl: Our worldwide strategy can be summarized easily: Focus on substance. When planning our marketing activities, we prefer to emphasize high-quality, effective efforts over sheer quantity. Our core target groups include professional creative users, research and education as well as individual consumers. Naturally, our media efforts are tailored to the specific needs of individual countries. Apple advertising chief Nicola Fischer ensures that optimal results are implemented for Germany. These basic guidelines will also shape our future plans.

Macwelt: Do Apple's marketing campaigns differ among German-speaking countries?
Heimerl: The campaigns vary in terms of the media targeted but not in the creative phase. This means that the visual impact and messages are alike in all countries. Adjustments are made for national vocabulary and orthography [e.g., between standard and Swiss German].

Macwelt: Apple recently cancelled several expos. Since one of these events occurred in Germany, we're concerned about future Apple participation here. How does German expo planning look?

Heimerl: Just for the record: In Germany, Macworld Expo was cancelled by IDG Expos because of market conditions. The follow-up expo, digiMedia, didn't draw a large Mac market following. Italy and Great Britain so far haven't had specific Apple expos.

On the one hand, Apple is concentrating on Apple-specific expos, such as Apple Expo in Paris and Macworld Expo in San Francisco, New York and Tokyo. While this focus represents a good reason for Germany to keep its Macworld Expo, we don't know of any immediate plans to create an Apple Expo here. On the other hand, we will visit vertical trade fairs - such as next spring's Drupa print show, which we want to dominate with the Mac OS platform.

Macwelt: What does Apple have planned for Drupa (which runs May 18-31 in Duesseldorf, Germany) and CeBIT (which runs Feb. 24-March 1 in Hannover, Germany)?

Heimerl: Drupa in 2000 will be the primary show for Apple in Germany and Europe. CeBIT is a lower priority; however, the Mac OS platform will be extensively represented at solution partners' booths.

As to what we'll announce at the respective shows, we don't give out that information beforehand. Content creation has been a traditional focus, however. When it comes to channel marketing, we'll continue the successful concepts of the previous year.

With our Apple Competence Centers, we also continually offer extensive education programs to enhance users' knowledge via road shows, seminar programs and so on. We've got a lot in the works.

Macwelt: In the United States, Apple is the dominant player in the education market. Do you want to increase Apple's presence in German education?

Heimerl: For the past two years, the research and education markets have been very good here. Furthermore, within this area continuity is more important than short-term surges. The number of Mac OS advisory centres is consistently expanding. Apple will continue with road shows and seminar programs aimed specifically at this important field. Our commitment is high, both to primary schools and universities.

Macwelt: Over the past year, Apple has bolstered the Mac's presence on German television. Has Apple ever bought so many advertising minutes on German television before?

Heimerl: The reach of a television campaign isn't measured in advertising minutes; it's measured in so-called GRPs (gross rating points). One prime-time advertising minute has a substantially larger influence than one advertising minute on "breakfast" television shows, and it's priced accordingly. Based on magnitude and on advertising effectiveness, this was Apple's strongest TV campaign in Germany.

Macwelt: What does Apple's media planning look like for next year?

Heimerl: We hope your readers understand that we do not want to pre-announce our media plans. However, I will say that we want to continue building on our consumer successes by providing a consistent media message.

In consumer marketing, television commercials have demonstrated the highest advertising effectiveness. Therefore, we're thinking a lot about further consumer TV campaigns for Germany. We always strive to achieve a sensible mix among TV, print and other advertising tracks.

For more Apple news from the German-speaking world, check out Macwelt Online.

Translation by Kevin Mitchell