Steve Jobs – $400 million smart

Iphone1 The front page of US Today’s Money section offers Apple a big pat on the back for their iPhone launch in January.

The article quotes a Harvard Business School professor who says that Apple has generated over $400 million in free publicity and Peter Sealey is later quoted, calling Steve Jobs is the best marketing CEO in the business.

Citing the 80% market share that the iPod enjoys (which now generates 50% of Apple’s revenues) the article goes on to list the high points of what they deem the Apple marketing manual.

  • Make innovative products
  • Keep it simple
  • Create truly memorable ads
  • Find an enemy
  • Offer surprises
  • Put on a show

Just listen to that string of words:  Innovative. Simple. Memorable.  Hero (my edit). Surprises. Show.

Wow.  (Not like a Microsoft wow…a real wow!)

What do you think?  Which item on this list do you think most businesses are best at?  Worst?

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7 comments on “Steve Jobs – $400 million smart

  1. David Reich says:

    I’m generalizing, of course, but I think companies are pretty good at making innovative products and putting on a show. The “show” may be from great publicity and occasionally from good ads.

    Too often, it’s not kept simple and the ads suck.

    Not sure about finding an enemy. Apple is doing it in their current Mac vs PC spots, although they’re not positioning PC’s as the enemy, but rather some poor sap who is not hip.

    Re Apple’s IPhione launch, I think they did a great job getting exposure. But hey, they’re Apple and they make stuff we want. They also spend a lot to create the buzz. I do like their “hello” ads, which totally counted on people already knowing about the IPhone through the advance publicity. The current ads don’t say a word about the product itself. I would assume those ads will be coming just before the product os available. A ballsy way to do it.

  2. ann michael says:

    OK – call me conservative, (and I LOVE Apple!), but it would make me nervous if 50% of my revenue came from any 1 product line. I’m thrilled about the iPhone (can’t wait until I can get one) and everyone knows their computers rock, but I would be trying to go no more than 30% on any product line.

    Am I nuts??? Maybe I just have the bias of a small consulting firm and it always makes me nervous when too much of my revenue comes from one source!

  3. David — agreed on the innovation. I’m not sure I think most companies are good at the show. I think most *big* companies are. But the medium and little guys don’t really even try.

    I’m not suggesting they could pull off an event like Apple. But even a scaled down version — they don’t even think to do it.

    Like you, I love their ads. I love that they don’t feel the need to spit a bunch of features at us. They trust us to know or find out.


  4. Ann,

    Yes and no.

    Yes…you are thinking like a small consulting firm but that’s the world we live in. I initially thought the same thing.

    But your post got me thinking about the sheer volume of the numbers. Even if 50% of my revenue came from a single product — if I could own the market, create another tangible that fed the bottom line as an offshoot (iTunes, all the iPod accessories, etc) and it was generating the size of revenue that the iPod is — I’d be okay with the risk.


  5. jbelkin says:

    Yea, the difference is it’s not a line that’s going away anytime soon – in the beginning, there was the danger a competitor wuld march in but so far, Apple’s compeitors have proven pretty inept because while they can match the ipods size, hardware components, price and even design – they are so far away in integrating hardware-software and the store, their market share shows the gulf and now that MS has decided to further splinter “WMA/other” into two incompatible camps, that only serves to reinforce that with the ipod, you have no questions. And now int’l sales are just starting to gather steam especially in places with more disposible income like INdia & China (if only the population count was large enough to make a difference 😉

    That’s not the say the ipod is invinsible forever but along with the iphone, it will be at least 2-3 years before there are any hiccups on the horizon (from a competitor) so it’s pretty remarkable for a CE product. The ipod should clear about 150 MILLION by year’s end with no end in sight.

  6. Steve W says:


    Before 50% of Apple’s revenue came from the iPod, 100% of Apple’s revenue was Mac related.

    I can’t criticize your conservative nerves. I just hope that the iPod makes you less nervous, rather than more nervous.

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