In light of the recent death Steve Jobs, I found myself wondering what the future of Apple will be. Over the past ten years Apple rose from a struggling company to one of the most successful companies of all time with an estimated market value worth $351 billion. So what made apple so successful and what will be the future for the brainchild of Steve Jobs? Well an article i read in marketing magazine highlights the various aspects of marketing that Jobs brought to the table and that Apple will no doubt continue to employ.
Marketing Magazine states that Steve Jobs revolutionised marketing in 5 ways:
The customer isn’t right, I am
The secret launch
Creating new categories
Marrying design with technology
No detail is too small
I would like to look at these categories and give my own opinions on how Jobs used them for Apple and their effects.
Starting at number 1; ‘the customer isn’t right, I am.’ He didn’t say these exact words, his statement was actually “It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them” but seems to communicate similar sentiments. Jobs was not dismissing the input of the general public in my opinion but rather saying that the chances of acquiring a multi-billion dollar empire idea from a focus group is not likely to happen. I think that perhaps the problem that Steve Jobs came up against was that people were not expecting his products. I remember roughly 11 years ago I was watching a TV interview with Bill Gates whereby he was saying that in the future there would be a device that could translate sign posts and text from any language into english. At the time i thought it was like when people say that in the future we will live on the moon and eat tablets that are entire meals etc but only a few months ago this technology was released on the Iphone. The problem that Steve probably had was that the public’s imagination wasn’t in the same world as his ambitions. What we perceived to be stuff of science fiction, he perceived to be a realistic goal. This of course makes using focus groups hard and so Steve really had no option but to go it alone.
The second Point that the article stated is ‘the secret launch.’
This is not a new idea but because the technology was so revolutionary it meant that people would become excited at the very mention of a new unveiling. In his demonstrations he played the games, used the apps and showed that the product he was offering was something truly amazing that anyone could use. Why wouldn’t people get excited at this possibility? The amazing technology that was released each time there was an unveiling meant that people were ready to buy a product they hadn’t even seen. They just seemed to think Apple = good =i must have one. Of course this has seen backfire such as the release of the Iphone 4S instead of the anticipated Iphone 5 this year. Whilst this was seen as a large disappointment, already the pre-orders are piling up and people are keen to buy a new version of their already incredibly expensive phone after just one years use. But this is the beauty of the hype that Steve Jobs created. He was able to hype up a product to the point where you want it before you even know what it is.
‘Creating new categories’ is the next section identified by Marketing Magazine. Here Jobs came up with completely new products. Case in point, the Ipad. As the first success of a tablet based computer Jobs made a big leap in announcing that apple were to release this. Even upon his first demonstration the critics were harsh saying that it wouldn’t catch on and to be quite honest, I wasn’t convinced. Now Apple owns 63% of the market share of tablet based computers and has knocked HP and Sharp out of the market as theirs failed to sell. This leads neatly onto the fourth point of the article.
‘Marrying Design with Technology’
From the colorful old U2 adverts to the white and sterile looking adverts we now see on TV, Apple has increasingly progressed it product in terms of design and style. Whilst other products looked plastic and cheap, apple always went for a more expensive but far better designed product, which has now reached a point whereby people buy the latest apple product simply because it is stylish to have it. Yes the products do look great but why is it that you buy the Ipad 2 over HP and Sharp products (all of which look very similar)? Its because who wants an HP when you could have the latest Apple product? Whilst initially Apples success came from its superior technology, now it is all about the brand. For example HTC actually make a superior smartphone with Dual core processors and one that even has 3D capability. But no-one wants to hear about the latest tech info. All people want to hear is that you have Angry Birds and that you have the latest Iphone or Ipad.
The final aspect that Jobs brought to marketing is said to be that ‘no detail was too small’. Well I cant say that I blame him for being thorough when the product costs more than most people’s laptops and the public buy a new one every year. From shaking the handset to shuffle songs to voice commands that actually work, Jobs made sure that everything about the handset was as close to perfect as possible.
So where now for Apple? Well who knows…and thats the point.