Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

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WHAT APPLE REALLY THINKS

August 6, 2012

Steve Jobs famously maintained that the company never relied on market research to shape new products. Well, testimony at the Apple vs. Samsung trial tells a different story. The Wall St. Journal shares some fascinating marketing tidbits (Apple’s Secrets Revealed at Trial, August 3rd) and I am sure that they will share more, which I plan to comment on.

One of the “secrets” revealed by Apple designer Christopher Stringer is that the company’s did conduct research studies and they revealed that trust in the company’s brand was a decisive factor in buying decisions and that 78% of iPhone owners buy cases. Designer Schiller testified that surveys were considered important trade secrets at Apple, so keeping them secret was critical.

In my book and in my coaching practice, I’ve constantly told my clients and others in presentations the importance of market research; you need to know what your customers and your potential customers want and value. Yet, few small businesses ever conduct research or, if they do, they don’t know how to translate the data they collect into marketing action.

I guess that is one reason the fastest growing segment of my practice is research. The other reason is that there are numerous low-cost ways to collect data today, which are allowing us to work with dozens of companies that never thought they could afford research.

As I explain in my book, in a constantly changing world you don’t have time for “do overs.” You need to get it right the first time and research leads the way on this journey. Apple got it right by relying on a talented team with vision and research. Have a research question? Contact me. I’m happy to share ways any business can add market research to their marketing arsenal.

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WHAT DOES 53 MILLION BUY YOU?

June 21, 2012

Last November, J.C. Penney spent $53.3 million to hire Ron Johnson, the brilliant mind behind Apple Stores, to turn around the aging retailer. So, as Dr. Phil would say, “How’s that working for you?”

Last month Penney’s posted a $163 million loss, announced a 20% drop in sales and a 10% drop in store traffic. Johnson blames all this on bad marketing and he ousted President Michael Francis earlier this week. As reported by the Wall St. Journal, Mr. Johnson thinks that the “strategy is working well,” and that customers simply don’t understand the new approach to product and pricing.

What customers don’t understand, Mr. Johnson, is why you don’t understand them. I guess I should send Ron a copy of my book, which explains psychographics (Chapter 9), the art of understanding the mind of your consumer and creating products that relate to their expectations.

The typical Apple customer is so different from the typical Penney’s customer; you would think anyone could figure that out. But this is a classic example of seeing the world through your own eyes. Johnson and Francis are two young, very hip, contemporary thinking retailers that are arrogant enough to believe they can re-make the Penney customer into their image. Wrong.

Penney’s customers don’t necessarily relate to gay spokespersons, super contemporary graphic design, or the elimination of coupons and deals they love. Sure, they might like the stores to be cleaner, nicer, with better merchandise (let’s deal with the product, Ron), but they don’t appreciate being told in every piece of marketing that they “just don’t get it.” Sorry, Ron, you don’t get it. You can’t change the fundamental nature of your customer through marketing. You have to embrace the mind-set of your customer. I hope everyone reading this is doing that in their business, every day.

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WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A 60% MARKET SHARE?

February 14, 2012

You try to increase it. That’s another lesson from my Powershift Marketing philosophy, and Apple is a great example of this principle at work. The iPad represented more than 61.5% of world-wide tablet shipments in the third quarter (down from 68.3% in the second quarter, according to market researcher IDC). That’s why the Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is considering a smaller screen iPad at the same time they are preparing to announce a super speedy iPad3 in March.

A decline in market share should immediately alert you that you are not keeping up with your customers’ tastes and desires. In the past year, Apple has seen Samsung Electronics selling its Galaxy Tab in three screen sizes: a 7-inch, an 8.9-inch and a 10.1-inch. Amazon.com Kindle Fire has a 7-inch screen size with a highly competitive price point ($199) that makes tablets accessible to a whole new consumer. Apple realizes that they are falling behind.

Are you falling behind your competition? Another lesson from my book: It’s easy to read your own news releases and think you are doing just fine. But the real measurement of success is your customer’s acceptance of your product or service. Any decline in market share requires immediate action.