On July 11 the iPhone 3G went on sale at a slashed price of $199. In three days Apple hit the one million mark for iPhone units sold – and did it 25 times faster than its previous phone launch. Over the weekend I received a number of text messages sent from iPhones – by people who I thought would never even get a smartphone! I had been mistaken. Besides pondering a purchase myself, this event got me thinking about a key marketing metric and the importance of ascertaining it: Perceived value.

Regardless of what type of company you are, a key ingredient to success is honing your customers’ attention and their perception of your products or services. It doesn’t matter what you are selling, or what your price is – if your customer’s perception is favorable, that is what ultimately turns into sales. In the digital age, building and maintaining relationships has become easier and any business that neglects this is missing a major opportunity.

Digital marketing strategies allow you extra control over your relationship with your customer by allowing you to specify targets, timing, tone, and more. This can move the needle when it comes to reception of your messages, as well as customer recall when it comes time to make a purchase decision.

Take Apple. I received an email on July 10 titled, “iPhone 3G. In stores Friday.” While I didn’t have an interest in waiting in line solely for the cachet of having an iPhone the first day it came out, as I passed the lines Friday morning, I knew what was going on. The email blast I had received informed me, and allowed me to participate in the iPhone event; even though I wasn’t a purchaser, I felt like a member.

And yeah, I’m 80 percent sure I’m going to get one. I don’t even know all the product details, but my first impression is a strong one – an impression that has left me only a 20 percent probability of not purchasing. That’s pretty good, Apple, especially because I should be “above the influence.”

Whenever I get an email update from Apple, I pay attention, as many do. Of course, this can be expected with one of the world’s most recognized brands, but we can all still learn from Cupertino’s example – both as an exceptional marketer and as a company that understands that digital technologies, including mobile, are what will keep its brand relevant for years to come.

-Shaneli Ramratan, Marketing Manager, mobileStorm