Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Apple Way

I have heard the Apple formula for success reduced to 5 things:

1) Don’t sell a product….sell what the product does. I.E. Don’t sell an MP3 player by showing the menu and how easy it is to download songs from a computer, etc. Show cool people having a fantastic time using your product. This is Marketing 101 but no one does it. “No one goes to the hardware store because they want a quarter inch drill bit. They go to the hardware store because they want a quarter inch hole.” People don’t want an MP3 player. They don’t even want music. You have to get more visceral. People want fun. If the purpose of your product is to provide fun, then show people having fun with your product.

2) Never be first to market. Get into a good market with a better product. Don’t define a new category but try to “occupy self space that already exists in the prospect’s mind”. And, find that one thing you do better and make that one thing matter to people. That is stunning! You do not have to be a lot better, just better somewhere and make that important. The iMac was not a superior computer. It was easy to use: “Three steps to the Internet” plug it in (to power); Connect it (to the phone jack), oops! No third step…you are on the Internet.

3) Empower early adopters to help you get the word out then make easy-to-use products for the mass market. The early adopters want to promote you, so make your product stand out. Make your product look distinctive (like the white ear buds on the iPod) so people notice it just about every time they see it. Don’t sell a notebook in a black plastic case. Sell one in an aluminum case with a glowing Apple logo on the lid. Mixed into this concept is the “halo effect” where the huge success of the iPod is making Apple more successful in other endeavors. Now that the iPod is a household name, the iMac is picking up sales.

4) Make your message memorable. Think bite sized morsels, not entire meals. Make it easy to repeat. Make it interesting enough to be repeated. I already mentioned the iMac “Three steps to the internet”. For the iPod it was “1,000 songs in your pocket”.

5) Surprise and delight your customers. This concept deals with things like how “Apple stores feel more like a museum than a store.” Apple gives their web site the same “feel” as the Apple store. The boxes that Apple products come in are “super premium”. My iMac notebook came in a very nice box made of “gift box” cardboard, with artistic photography on it, and careful wrapping like I was unboxing something of great value. My Dell notebook came in brown corrugated cardboard box with “Dell blue” printing.

What does this have to do with FireWire History? Nothing. It’s just interesting.

See Apple iPod ad on YouTube

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