Genius marketer Steve Jobs plays media like a Stradivarius, generates massive free publicity

By SteveJack

Steve Jobs is a genius.

Yes, I know that fact is not news, but one aspect of his genius – marketing – is certainly on full display this week.

Jobs played the media (and a portion of his customer base) like a Stradivarius.

Jobs knows that the iPod lineup is so hot that they will sell themselves. Therefore he figured that he could afford to overshadow them with some long-planned iPhone moves designed to generate loads of free publicity from the mainstream media.

First, he lowered the price – as was always the plan – but, lowered it so drastically as to create an uproar among those who had purchased the iPhone at the original launch prices.

Then he waited for a bit to let the pressure cooker build up steam – he even stoked it a bit by claiming “that’s just the way things work in tech.” That Jobs created doubt in the minds of many that he didn’t anticipate the angst the price cut would cause is part of his genius. Then he released the steam with a $100 gift card – also long-planned – that will end up generating even more sales for the company. “Presto! $49 iPod nanos for everyone!”

Today, we see the fruits of yesterday’s “apology” everywhere from The Today Show to the cable news outlets to local drive-time radio shows and all over the ‘Net. More free publicity for a company whose CEO seems to be able to generate it whenever and wherever he damn well pleases.

This has been a fun week, it’s just beautiful to watch a genius in action. Even without the $100 Apple Store credit it was well worth the price of admission.

SteveJack is a long-time Macintosh user, web designer, multimedia producer and a regular contributor to the MacDailyNews Opinion section.

42 Comments

  1. I think Apple SERIOUSLY underestimated the cell phone market.

    This dramatic price reduction and $100 kickback shows they are NOT selling iPhones as well as expected.

    Also the FACT that AT&T;and CISCO is working VERY CLOSELY WITH THE NSA/CIA to monitor the internet and cell phones doesn’t relate well to selling iPhones.

    The recent RASH OF EXPLOITS ON THE IPHONE goes to show it’s not a secure device.

    Apple realized their mistake entering this market and now is making the iPod Touch and will be phasing the iPhone out. Trying to dump all the excess inventory before January.

    Depending how sales go until January depends if we see a iPhone 2 or not.

    I suspect not “We gave it a good try”

  2. Oh come on, SteveJack. I don’t for one moment believe that Jobs expected the uproar over the price cut. The $100 store credit was damage control. Expertly executed damage control, but damage control nonetheless.

  3. “And Bush has a secret plan to turn the Iraq fiasco into a similar PR coup….”

    But he pronounces it “koop” and then giggles to himself.

    We’re really enjoying watching our mildly retarded, alcholic fratboy with easy access to weapons of mass destruction (real ones) and our wallets.
    When he finally finishes reading (and coloring) The Pet Goat (), it will be enshrined as the foundation of the GWB Presidential Children’s Library and Mental Retardation Facility.

    “I’m going to try to see if I can remember as much to make it sound like I’m smart on the subject.” –George W. Bush, answering a question about a possible flu pandemic, Cleveland, July 10, 2007

    “More than two decades later, it is hard to imagine the Revolutionary War coming out any other way.” –George W. Bush, Martinsburg, W. Va., July 4, 2007

  4. Sorry, Stevo, I have to disagree as well. You’re giving Jobs just a bit too much credit. Unless Apple has a crystal ball, there’s no way they could forsee precisely how everything would play out.

    I also feel that the iPhone price drop and subsequent negative reaction took away tons of coverage that should have been there for the new pods, ringtones, wi-fi store, etc.

    P.S. I do agree that Jobs is a genius however!!

  5. Iraq is a success already.

    The oil price is up, that negatively affects the rest of the world more than the West.

    A consequence of the increased oil price is more support for the dollar.

    Iraq’s oil is now not available to the West’s competitors, China and India to name two. It is safely locked up underground for when the West decides it needs it.

    Profits for the companies involved, primarily oil and military supply, comfortably exceed the costs to the US and UK taxpayers.

    Big business has taken taxpayers money and turned it in to cash in their executives and shareholders bank accounts.

    How is that not a success?

  6. So the iPhone is meeting sales targets and outselling all other smart phones, but Apple is getting out of the market?

    C’mon, the future of computing is mobile and wireless. You telling me Apple doesn’t want to dominate that and take back its rightful crown from Microsoft?

  7. It is called Capitalist Economic Theory 101 people:

    1. Price it at whatever the market will bear.

    2. Moderate demand with price. (don’t have enough product? price the heck out of it!)

    3. It’s better to take a little hit with a price drop than to be humiliated with inadequate stocks of an insanely anticipated product.

  8. @me

    > How was the $100 credit “long-planned” if as Jobs said, “details are still being worked out?”

    That’s EXACTLY what he wants you to believe. If he had said “here’s how to get you refund,” everyone would know it was planned.

    > Yes, it all worked out in the end…

    … because that’s the way it was planned. Steve Jobs is too smart NOT to have anticipated these moves.

    He did it before with the concerns about battery life, screen scratches, and data plan costs. He let the media write articles about these “problems,” generating free publicity. And then, as if he was “solving those problems,” he announces that battery life is very good and screen is made of glass. And at the last minute, AT&T;announces the plan rates, which were quite low.

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