Apple's Marketing: Simply the Best in the Business

While the biggest names in consumer electronics were at CES in January, Apple and Steve Jobs stole their thunder one more time with the iPhone. No other company manages to market their products so well and so consistently. USA Today reported on how Apple does it.

Several marketing experts and former Apple employees who worked closely with Steve Jobs, described the essentials of Appleis marketing manual and how to get attention. Because Appleis market share in computers is relatively low, not only must their marketing be textbook, but excellent in every phase.

"Appleis arsenal of attention-getting tools holds lessons for any company," Jefferson Graham wrote, "design cool, innovative products. Have a streamlined product line. Invest in memorable ads. Work your customer base to make customers feel special and create word-of-mouth agents. Most important: keep the world and media surprised, to generate gobs of attention."

Peter Sealey, a professor at Claremont Graduate University, called the charismatic Jobs "the best marketing CEO in the business." Charles Wolf, an analyst for Needham & Co., said that most CEOs go on stage with an endless round of platitudes. "Steve leaves all the crap out of his presentation and focuses on whatis important," Mr. Wolf said.

Mike Evangelist, a former Apple employee who worked with Steve Jobs in preparing Mr. Jobsi legendary presentations, described the process. "The actual setup and rehearsal takes a week, but the planning takes months," he said. "There are constant meetings about it, and they are very intense. Steve is a no-nonsense guy. If youire anything less than 100% prepared, he knows immediately and lets you know in no uncertain terms."

Similarly, there is just no substitute for excellence in advertising, and the iPod ads with dancers set in silhouette against pastel colors has propelled the iPod to iconic status. Michael Markman, a former director of advertising for Apple, said, "How many ads have you seen where you say, iCool ad,i and you forget what it was for within three minutes...The iPod advertising has been extraordinary. Itis a wordless product demo, with a great tag line that doesnit make the viewer work hard."

Even though Apple holds dominant share in their music business, they still think like a struggling company that has to be the best at everything they do. Appleis customers and Wall Street have been showing their enthusiasm for that approach lately.