Apple: The leader that ignores the pundits, breaks the business rules, and enjoys amazing growth

“Apple is without a doubt the consummate innovator of the new media era, turning the music business and then the mobile phone business upside down, and now setting its sights squarely on the TV, publishing, and video game businesses,” Jonathan Weber writes for The Big Money. “(Oh, and it has a nice computer business going, too.)”

“And yet Apple does none of the things that pundits always say you should do to succeed in the Internet economy,” Weber writes. “Apple doesn’t blog; it doesn’t Tweet; it does little on Facebook; it doesn’t engage with its customer base. It doesn’t ask the ‘community’ for feedback or rapidly iterate based on any such feedback or even respond to criticism.”

Weber writes, “It doesn’t give anything away for free, thank you very much—in fact, the company charges premium prices for just about everything. Its customer service is perfunctory.”

MacDailyNews Take: Wrong. Apple’s fast-growing global retail empire is built on stellar customer service.

Weber writes, “It engages in terribly consumer-unfriendly practices like making you buy a whole new device when the battery dies.”

MacDailyNews Take: Wrong. Apple does no such thing. Apple offers battery replacement services along with a host of third-party vendors.

Weber continues, “And marketing? I don’t know the numbers, but it’s hard to think of any technology-related business that spends more money on that most retro of media, the glossy magazine ad. It pours tens of millions into television advertising, and buys up the most expensive billboards in big cities. Sure, Apple buys online ads too, but mostly display ads. For the most part, Apple advertising is old media all the way.”

“This anomaly could be written off as simply the Apple exception: So much about the company is unlikely in the extreme that it may not be a good example of anything,” Weber writes. “But I’d argue that Apple’s firm rejection of so many contemporary Internet business nostrums holds some important lessons for entrepreneurs.”

Weber explains, “First, it’s the product, stupid! Apple’s success is based on building fantastic products… Second, brand marketing still matters—a lot… The terrific advertisements—on television, on billboards, and in magazines—surely have something to do with it, too… Third, engaging with your customers via the real-time Web is not, in fact, mandatory.”

Weber explains, “The lesson from Apple would be, if in doubt, focus on the product. Or, as in the venerable saying, build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door—whether or not you’re on Facebook.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Minus the two niggles (don’t go all Anthony Williams on us; look it up), this article makes for an interesting read.

26 Comments

  1. He’s so wrong on customer service. I’ve had two dealings with CS over the last month or so.

    First the power supply on my MBP died a quick and easy death a while ago. Not sure what exactly the problem was at first, I took the power supply and my MBP to an Apple store ready for my appointment with someone at the Genius Bar. The friendly staffer check everything out and told me what I had already guessed. Since it was already a year and a half past warrantee, I whipped out my Visa card to cover it. When the staffer saw that he told me to put it away. Apple would replace it for free past warrantee or not.

    Second, my iPhone had started giving me trouble a few months ago and keep shutting down at unpredictable and embarrassing times. I had gone in over a month ago to have it checked out. The staffer said it was probably the software which might be corrupted. He wiped it, restored the OS and sent me home to restore my data and apps from my backup on iTunes. I did that. Unfortunately the same problem start up again. And it got worse and worse. Finally, frustrated and angry, I went back to the Genius Bar. The same staffer dealt with me again. At the first visit I was told that all Apple could do was to offer me a replacement, refurbished iPhone at about $100 of the regular price. This time, he went to talk with his manager and came back to tell me that they had agreed to replace my iPhone with a new one at no charge. I walked out of the store with a brand new iPhone.

    This is absolutely the best service I have ever had for any product or service.

    Thank you, Apple!

  2. My experiences with broken apple products, though extremely limited in my 20 years with the products have been the same as cptnkirk.

    One annoyance was the Laserwriter “1” that I had from 1989 and worked extensively, finally could not be repaired as the parts supply had dried up only 18 years after it was made. Damned annoying, if you ask me. !!! If you make something to last, you should damned well supply the service parts to allow it to last! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

  3. Brand Marketing DOES NOT matter unless you have a great product. Then you get double your advertising dollar.
    You sell the product and have great brand loyalty and buzz.
    If you have a crap product, you can advertise until the cows come home and you will still fail. – Unless you are CocaCola.

  4. Thanks,MDN. I had forgotten about the Anthony Williams saga. The stupid have a burning need to be perpetually outraged. Like the way Creationists are “offended” by evolution and/or atheism, they weren’t/aren’t offended because the word or concept is offensive, they are offended because they are ignorant.

  5. @ His Shadow… “Like the way Creationists are “offended” by evolution and/or atheism”

    And the way that Atheists are “offended” by Christmas? Does this make them ignorant also?

    Please, spare us the ad-hominem attack. Yes there are ignorant people in the world. There are also people of good will, on both sides of the political aisle, and the creation/evolution aisle, who in fact are not ignorant. Just highly passionate in their beliefs.

  6. I think it depends on what you are selling. Luxology, as a software company continually engages it’s customer base through several venues, and this has proven to be not only beneficial but extremely critical for there business model. So deferent ways can work. Formulas are what never works, or at least not for long.

  7. Sometimes, I think Apple intentionally does the opposite of what the annoying industry know-it-all’s say Apple should do. That actually make sense, because companies like Dell and Microsoft are predicable and their results are average, and they do almost exactly as the industry “experts” advise and predict. Apple lives on being unpredictable, which is why Apple is successful and way above average.

  8. Regarding the “support” niggle: Unfortunately, there are sharks and leaches out there ready to sue Apple’s big fat financial ass off for even the smallest error in support. So the knowledge base is carefully vetted and continuously controlled. The rest is oral only, making it awkward to go beyond the scripts of front-line support. I’ve done it, however, and verbal backup support has been outstanding and anything but perfunctory.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.