Framework Marketing Strategy

Imagine Emily,

an average United States consumer. Her old laptop is on the fritz and she thinks it’s time for a new one. So she starts poking around online for a replacement. What factors will she be considering when weighing her options? Well, thanks to some market research we know what percent of US consumers consider the following options when buying a laptop:

So how well does the framework 13 perform in these categories:

1. Cost
 The framework 13 with the least expensive components (i51340P/8GB/256GB/W11 home) is $1,142. According to statista, the average US laptop sold in 2022 was $776. Emily will be paying $366 more for the framework. (I know this is a gross oversimplification which doesn’t account for what each dollar can get in terms of compute, just roll with it)

2. Operating System
 If Emily really wants her iPhone to work seamlessly with her laptop the framework has no chance, especially since a macbook air costs less at $1,000. However, if Emily uses an Android phone or is open to purchasing a windows laptop, the framework might be chosen if it scores higher than the macbook in the remaining categories.

3. Easy to Use
 Oh no! that framework is disassembled in almost every photo Emily sees, that doesn’t look easy to use at all! Emily, like most US consumers, has never dissected or repaired her own electronics, and the idea of doing it herself is daunting. Going on frameworks website and seeing all the configuration options is also overwhelming. Comparably the macbook, and nearly every other laptop, seems much simpler.

4. Fast
 Emily is your average person, not a super user. She, like most average laptop users, will spend most of her time browsing, emailing, and scrolling, with some light gaming (dedicated gamers buy dedicated machines). However, she does want to trust that the laptop she purchases will be fast. For these activities the framework 13 vs macbook vs any other similarly priced laptop would be competent, but the question is how well does framework convince her that she’s buying a speedy machine? The apple website clearly boasts about the macbooks cpu which provides some confidence in their capability. The framework website just lists which processors are used.

5. Battery Life
 This is obviously a little outside Framework’s control. Only way they can catch up to the macbook’s 18hrs is getting an ARM chip onboard which is far down the road. For now the macbook is just a better option.

6. Build Quality
 The first image on frameworks website is a gif of the laptop in pieces. Imagine Emily seeing that first when she visits the website, what would she think? Seeing a laptop in multiple pieces has historically been a very bad thing which consumers have associated with low build quality (they expect products to stay in once piece). This creates an initial impression of low build quality even though that isn’t the case.

7. Lightweight
 Emily sees the framework 13 weighs 1.3kg and being a US consumer she quickly googles that to determine it’s 2.86 lbs (like I did lol), she also sees the macbook is about the same weight, nice! And while checking out the weight she sees the framework 13 is actually a littler thinner which is great!

8. Hard drive capacity
  Emily notices she can choose multiple hard drive capacities and they are comparable between the macbook and framework 13, no sway there.

9. Attractiveness of design
 The images of the macbook online are sleek, and there are some nice images of the framework but there are also a lot of picture of the device’s innards falling out. Overall both look solid, the macbook has slightly more rounded corners which seem subjectively more inviting to Emily than the pointer corners on the framework 13.

10. Reliability and Durability
 Here the framework laptop should shine thanks to its incredible repair-ability. But there’s one problem, communicating how fantastically reliable the framework is in clean visuals is very difficult. Most images trying to convey this show the laptop in pieces which again, to the average consumer, doesn’t scream reliability.

11. Screen Quality
 Emily notices the macbook website’s beautiful screen images with screen specs written over top of pretty visuals. Comparatively the framework website has only one appealing wallpaper image and shows the screen specs in just plain text.

12. Processor Brand
 Framework does offer two different types of processors which is great and beats the competition!

13. Availability of Ports
 Well this is embarrassing, the framework 13 heavily advertises all the ports it can use but Emily probably doesn’t care about that feature at all.

My Intent In Writing this

I love framework and want the company to succeed. I want the average US consumer to purchase these laptops en masse to reduce e-waste, especially since US consumers create so much e-waste. So I was curious if I forgot everything I love about framework and viewed their laptops from an average consumer’s perspective how appealing would their laptops be and how could they be made more appealing. I was not originally intending to compare against the macbook so heavily, but once I hit the OS category that became unavoidable.

I’ve seen companies internally obsess over how amazing certain features of their product are but not realize most consumers couldn’t care less about those features (seeing only 12% of US consumers care about port availability surprised me). I don’t want framework to fall into that trap.

Some Major Caveats

  1. Framework has customers all over the world, and these are just US consumer preferences.

  2. Some of the framework characteristics are not just marketing, they are economic/engineering design choices. Reducing cost, giving the laptop slightly more rounded corners, or adjusting the weight/form factor might be outside the economic/engineering constraints.

  3. These categories certainly cluster in interesting patterns. I would expect those interested in security / data protection probably care a lot less about ease of use. So equally weighing all categories here is again an oversimplification.

  4. I’m sure framework has many good reasons for their marketing decisions (some of which I speculate about below). I don’t mean to be too critical, again this was partially a thought experiment for myself.

  5. I’m a software dev who has 0 marketing experience… so uhm… yeah

Framework Marketing 1.0 (current speculation)

Framework is targeting enthusiasts and early adopters while dipping their toes into small/medium business who want the repair cost benefits. They might not even care about marketing to the “Emily” I described, especially since demand is currently outstripping production of their laptops.

One of Framework’s core messages seems to be “framework repair is easy, you can do it too!” which is a fantastic message. This message also serves an important function: without users knowing their laptop can easily be repaired they might still toss a framework into the trash when the screen breaks. However people often try selling broken electronics or just giving them away, and the purchasers/receivers of those electronics will likely know (or quickly learn!) how easy the framework is to repair.

Framework Marketing 2.0 (when ready, maybe)

If framework scales well and eventually is trying to market to Emily here are my 2 cents:

Less images of internal components, more images of a sleek, simple to use, durable, high quality laptops.

There is a personal preference split between Android and iPhone users, one wants customization the other simplicity. Why not offer both? Have your main website advertise and sell laptops just like Apple. Clean, simple, elegant visuals. A laptop ready to purchase, no configuring required. Then have a less-advertised option of customizing everything. You don’t need to advertise to use customizing geeks nearly as much, most of us are already obsessed with your product and told all our friends. :slight_smile:

I understand Framework might intentionally be trying to convince people they can repair their own laptop, and that’s awesome. But selling more highly repairable laptops will reduce e-waste more than convincing people to DIY their repairs. The geeks will buy the old unwanted frameworks, replace a single component, and now own a fully functional machine.

^For this reason, maybe less images of the laptop in pieces.

A humble suggestion

The first image on the framework website is a gif of the laptop in pieces (which historically isn’t a good thing in consumer’s minds). The second image of the two laptops back-to-back is near perfection. It’s sleek, modern, sexy, and communicates the high quality of the framework laptop, consider putting this second image first.

if you made it this far, thank you for your attention


Hopefully Emily doesn’t own any USB-A devices; they’re not gonna connect to her new Apple computer


Not to poo poo on your post, but Apple and Framework are very different companies in terms of audience. While they are both computer manufacturers, they have largely different scales, budgets, and company goals.

While you list all the ways that Framework can be more friendly to the most general audience, I think you miss the point that Framework’s goal isn’t to sell to EVERYONE, or else they would have made a generic machine like the ones you compare to in your post. They aren’t trying to sell to an “Emily” like you describe, or their marketing would be exactly how you describe, hiding away all the “scary” pictures of the computer disassembled.

Framework has made it clear that their goal is to make the computer industry more sustainable. From their “about” page:

Our philosophy is that by making well-considered design tradeoffs and trusting customers and repair shops with the access and information they need, we can make fantastic devices that are still easy to repair.


We are looking forward to showing you the Framework Laptop and showing the industry and the world a framework for a better way.

The current process is only known to the employees at Framework (which in case you weren’t aware, contains both a Senior Growth Manager and a Head of Product Marketing both of which have plenty of experience in the industry) but I’m sure they are constantly assessing who they want to sell to, and ensuring that their customer base is enough to allow them to continue growing as much as they need.

I personally don’t agree with your advice of putting the pictures of the disassembled laptops second, because they are out there to desensitize people to the exact notion that you mentioned. Repairable Laptops are not unreliable. Repairable laptops are not cheap. High quality laptops can be easy to take apart, and that’s okay. Removing these pictures removes the whole point of Framework, and from the way they’ve talked about the Framework Laptop 16 launch, they are doing just fine with their current strategy.


It’s an 88.8% chance that Emily doesn’t care, apparently

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I don’t entirely disagree with the overall idea of your list, but I think you are making some assumptions with some of your examples.

You mention OS and say your hypothetical buyer “might” choose the non-MacOS device if it scores okay in other categories, but that ignores the situations where your hypothetical buyer outright prefers Windows or Linux in the first place.

In hard drive capacity you mention that the options are similar so there is no “sway” there. But if anyone thinks Framework’s storage drive upgrades are expensive, have another look at MacBooks. Sure, you can sometimes find sales and such, but if you were to just configure a laptop as you want, going from a 256GB to a 1TB storage drive on a base model MacBook Air M2 is a $400 upgrade. $800 if you want to go all the way to 2TB. Going from 8GB RAM to 16GB is $200. Granted, there are also non-Macbook options out there as well. But since you seem to be comparing mostly to MacBooks, I think the ridiculous price of storage and RAM upgrades on Macs is worth pointing out. If you want more storage and RAM, the price of the MacBook will likely shoot past the Framework.

You say the slightly more rounded corners seem subjectively more inviting to Emily. Lol. It’s a really minor point, but specifying that slightly more rounded corners were more inviting made me chuckle. You’re inventing head canon for your Emily character. Again, I do see your point. MacBooks have a specific “look” and some people want that because it’s almost a status symbol. Like carrying a certain brand of handbag or wearing a certain brand of sunglasses. But if the brand (and that brand’s specific look) doesn’t matter, then it’s entirely subjective from there and I would argue it’s a fools errand trying to make your laptop look exactly like a MacBook. If only a MacBook will do, the buyer will get a MacBook. But if a buyer isn’t already unchangeably brand-loyal, then it only makes sense to look different and be your own thing. Interesting side note: My Framework 13 has fewer sharp edges than my MacBook air. Particularly where my wrists rest. The Framework is definitely more comfortable with smoother, more rounded edges. The “edge” below the keyboard/trackpad on the MacBook is sharp, which isn’t as comfortable and also gets nicked up easily.

Still, your overall point is taken. It’s going to be tough for Framework to sway the average Apple buyer away from MacBooks. Likewise, it’s going to be tough to garner the business of the average consumer who walks into a Best Buy and picks up a $400-$700 laptop. But I think the idea behind Framework is to change the consumer mindset (and the industry mindset that has helped to shape it over the years), rather than conform to it. Rather than conform to the mindset of absolute convenience at the expense of everything else (repairability, upgradability, overall utility, sustainability, etc.), let’s try to show consumers and manufacturers alike that a sleek, fast, modern device doesn’t have to be a throw-away item. It doesn’t have to be something that gets chucked in the bin if you realize you need a bit more RAM or if your storage drive (or any other component, for that matter) fails. Consumers, and to a much higher degree manufacturers (for obvious financial reasons) are entrenched in the throw-away mentality for consumer electronics (not to mention appliances, etc.). I, too, want Framework to be successful. And marketing will surely be a part of that. But if that success ultimately came at the cost of mimicking Apple too closely, I would ask, what’s the point?

Interesting discussion.


Right now I think trying to market to the “Emily”s of the world should be secondary.

Framework should try to reach out to the education systems instead.

Start with putting together an “education package” of either a Framework 13 Chromebook (though I am NOT a fan of Google or Chromebooks) or even better, a Framework 13 AMD unit set up with Edubuntu Linux and pushing it at school systems.

Schools spend thousands a year on tablets or laptops that constantly need repairs/replacement since, well, kids will be kids.

Why not market Framework’s biggest selling point, ease of repair, to those that need it most?

The main catch in doing this is being able to supply enough parts to support the schools as needed.

Frameworks whole making batch runs of laptops/parts have to be switched to a more continuous production setup. This would be a boon for regular buyers also since units would be more readily available.


Yes Apple is very different, that’s why I called this “Framework Marketing 2.0 (when ready, maybe)”. I don’t believe framework should make drastic changes to their marketing strategy right now, clearly it’s working for them. And maybe framework views marketing to “Emily” as a distant future goal after they have scaled up enough and sold to many businesses and potentially even enterprise. I don’t know their long-term goals/strategy.

I absolutely believe framework wants to change consumers’ minds that repairable isn’t reliable. That is a monumental task and there are multiple ways of accomplishing it. I’m suggesting directly attacking that idea might not be the best method. It’s easier to nudge public opinion/perception than reverse it. If framework markets a sleek laptop to the generic consumer they might sell more units and then those customers discover down the road the true benefit of the framework.

There’s one HUGE reason framework likely markets their repairability more than just a sleek laptop: it’s their selling point. They are a new company and can’t directly compete with giants like apple. Therefore, their machines are more expensive and the feature of repairability/upgradability justifies consumers spending a little more, hence they currently push this the hardest in their marketing.


Those are good points. I did focus a bit too much on MacOS and I didn’t due the full due diligence in comparing the disk space upgrades, thanks for filling that in.

Yeah Emily preferring the rounded corners is a stretch, thought that when I wrote it :blush:. However, I’m not sure where the balance is between mimicking other successful brands vs building something new that looks very different. I think there is some benefit to mimicry because certain designs are considered high quality in consumer’s minds and that attribution of quality is more easily translated to a similar looking product than something very foreign. (I’ve also heard Linus mention how framework’s sleek grey backing and general shape does seem to be following apple somewhat).

Framework can mimic apple’s general marketing without changing their core values of repairability and sustainability. They don’t have to push users to buy new devices. I don’t think mimicking apple’s marketing has to come at a cost (obviously I don’t want framework mimicking apples business strategy :face_vomiting:).

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