In Business as in sports, job interviews, and just about any competitive arena, the winner is usually determined by something that sets them apart from their competition. A sum of unique qualities or qualifications that allows them to stand out above their competitors and to earn position, ranking and profits. One such company has consistently provided superior products, innovations, and customer service levels that appeal to the masses. And most importantly, they have proven to earn 70-80% of the Profits in their field against very stiff competition from their competitors. I am speaking of APPLE. They are today’s example of how to provide a totally Unique Value Proposition, in 6 categories that define their strategy, business model, and profit generation. How do they do it year in and year out?? They use 6 very simple rules for everything they make, and it looks like keeping it simple has proven to be the ticket to huge business and profits. Let’s look at these simple rules that govern their business development and marketing to see how you might be able to use them in your business.
Many times a company will develop a technology and then try to find a market that will buy it. The engineers who are creating Apple products actually make them for themselves. Steve Jobs used every product that the company made. He insisted that the product had to be easy to use and simple to operate. All of Apple’s products are built by the engineers with the customer in mind first and foremost. If they would not use it themselves they don’t waste time building it. For your product the simple question to ask is this: Would I and or all of my employees use/consume my product or service? If the answer is no, you may want to reevaluate your go to market strategy.
Steve Jobs was adamant that all Apple products had to be easy to use This drives the engineers to create more innovative ways to make life simpler. The user interface is critical to Apples product development and design. All of their products must provide an intuitive experience-meaning that it should make sense how to access features, programs, and information. If you have ever used a Mouse on a computer you can thank Apple for that tool. It changed the way computers and software were written. Ease of use of your product or service should provide a simple and easily navigated interface for your customers. If the process is too cumbersome or not intuitive your product value will be diminished and your so will your market share.
Have you ever gone into a local big box cell phone retailer to shop for a cell Phone? Most of us have. There are usually no less than 6-8 brands with each brand offering 6-8 models of phones. With so many different brands, and models, is it any wonder we feel overwhelmed and think about the poor store employee who has to somehow be a subject matter expert about each model. But when you go into an APPLE STORE, you deal with Subject matter experts that truly understand their product and how it benefits you the consumer. Apple offers just 2-3 current models of their cell phone at a time, and this makes understanding the differences easy and simple-both for the sales associate and the consumer. Is your product or service offering similarly simple to navigate or is it complicated and confusing?
When APPLE opened its first retail store in Japan, there were many pundits who felt APPLE had jumped the shark so to speak in that they really didn’t feel that retail shops were a core competency and as such were doomed to fail. The buying public has overwhelmingly responded differently. In fact, APPLE stores are some of the most heavily patronized stores in any mall they reside in. Why is this? Because Apple provides the opportunity to test drive their products with guidance from Store employees before you buy. This builds brand awareness and consumer confidence in the brand and customer service levels before and after the sale. Does your product or service do the same?
Apple started out as a computer company, and although they still provide a very high powered usable product they do not enjoy the lion’s share of the home PC market that the other guys do. But they have a very simple strategy: take what exists and make it better. Apple did not invent the MP3 player; Apple reinvented it and made it better. Apple did not invent the smart phone; Apple reinvented it and made it better. And Apple did not invent the tablet; Apple reinvented it and made it better. Does your product or service improve on existing offerings from your competition? IF not, what can you do to improve your product and its value compared to the competition?
The iPad or iPhone consumers by off the shelf today, was Ok’d for go to market 2 years ago. Apple is constantly working on the next best innovation of its current line of products. By staying on the cutting edge, they easily outpace their competition, and create a high level of anticipation and demand for every new product offering coming down the pike. It is very rare to find an APPLE customer with an iPhone older than 2-3 years. Why? Because those that by Apple have grown accustomed to desiring the latest and greatest the company has to offer. This is especially interesting to note when you think about the cost of a new iPhone is in the $500-$700 range and people will stand in lines for hours on the day of release begging the sales clerk to take their money-literally. Does your product or service create unparalleled brand loyalty? If not, how can you get there?
Market share is one determining factor in whether or not your product or service is resonating with the public. Android has approximately 69% of the cell phone market share globally. But don’t let the fact that Android has become the No. 1 smart-phone operating system make you think that it’s the big winner. Yes, Android has gained ground by the sheer numbers of companies and products pushing Android. But the 3 most popular cell phones are all iPhone models, and they also are the most profitable as well. The real measure of success is in the profits, and Apple is making as much as 70% of all the profits in smart phones and about 85% of the profits in tablets. Just ask any Android competitor which they would like more, market share or profits. Does your product or service reside in the top spot in your marketplace? If so, do you benefit from the highest profit levels? If the answer is no to either or both, what can you do to improve your positioning and profitability?
These six principles are the foundational stones of success that APPLE is built upon. Yes, they have tech geniuses in design, development and marketing. Yes, they are well established with a Business model spanning 4 decades. But the simplistic approach they use every day can easily be adapted to any business, and if you are a student of the success they have earned, you just may have the keys to making your business Number one with a bullet!