updated 09:25 pm EDT, Wed October 28, 2009
Spending still modest compared to competitors
Apple's ad budget for its 2009 fiscal year surpassed $500 million for the first time, as noted in the company's Form 10-K filing with the SEC. Spending from 2008 was closer to $486 million, while the 2007 budget was approximately $467 million. According to Fortune, the Mac maker's marketing spending is still modest compared to the $1.4 billion spent by Microsoft or the $811 million dished out by Dell.
Despite the increases in Apple's marketing spending, the ratio between ad output and revenue has seen a sharp decline. Going back to 2001, the company was spending 5 percent of its revenue on ads. As the company keeps breaking its own sales records, even the half billion in 2009 ad spending only represents 1.37 percent of revenue for the fiscal year.
A recent Interbrand report placed Apple as the 20th strongest global brand. The study included companies from a wide range of industries, with the Mac maker climbing 12 percent in perceived value to $15.4 billion. Meanwhile, competitors such as Microsoft, Intel and Dell each saw value declines ranging from 2 to 12 percent. A MillwardBrown comparison ranked Apple at 6th place, with a consideration for social impact as well as actual income.
The company has continued a long series of "Get a Mac" ads that promote its own systems while directly bashing Windows. Three separate ads were launched alongside the Windows 7 launch, with each suggesting customers would be better off switching from XP or Vista to Mac instead of Microsoft's latest OS.
Many analysts have praised Apple for maintaining strong marketing across the entire line of products including Macs, iPods and the iPhone. High rankings in customer satisfaction and quality surveys are said to contribute to free word-of-mouth advertising, while Apple Stores provide a venue for the company's employees to directly engage potential customers.