Marketing, the magician’s way!
Indians have adopted application-first approach in their way of learning, with alacrity. Many marketing thinkers say, even when we have embraced the age of Industry 4.0 and Marketing 4.0, where digital has become integral part of marketing; basics will still be same always. We all remember vividly how Steve Jobs used to open the Pandora’s box and launch unique products. I watched first iPhone launch 2007 once again few days back and never did it make more sense; I felt like I am watching a marketing classic. Steve Jobs started that historic launch speech by saying “Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes that changes everything.” Then he showed change in computer and music industry that Macintosh and iPod had brought. He termed iPod as not just an audio multimedia device but an entertainment product. This is the gist of what Theodore Levitt has written in world famous Harvard Business Review Article Marketing Myopia.
We know that product positioning is the act of showcasing a company’s products to capture a unique place in the mind of the target market. Positioning is the most important stage of marketing strategy because it is the license to rent a space in people’s mind place. Steve Jobs quoted that iPhone is the reinvention of phone and then immaculately pitched points of parity(POP) and points and differences(POD) that iPhone had; Steve never went to a B School but he was a marketing genius.
He said that iPhone would be having all the features that normal smartphones of that time had (phone + email + internet), these were the points of parity that iPhone had with other phones. Then he showcased the redundant bottom 40% of the phone (keypad) and how iPhone was going to have the giant screen, this was the point of difference. He took that speech to a different level when he used perceptual maps to project iPhone compared to the other phones; here is that perceptual map which is self-explanatory.
In one simple shot Steve indicated what iPhone was going to be. Philip Kotler writes, “A good positioning has one foot in the present and one in the future. “, and what Steve did is the perfect example of a good positioning. Steve quoted great computer scientist Alan Kay, “People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware.’’ He talked about how Apple was bringing breakthrough software to mobile devices which was five years ahead of any phone. Resource Based View states that for gaining competitive advantage a company has to build capabilities that are Valuable, Rare, Inimitable and Non-Substitutable (VRIN) and by integrating OS X with a unique mobile hardware Apple had built that capability.
Steve ended that speech with a vision of iPhone capturing 1% of global mobile phone market. We all know today the pinnacle of success that iPhone has reached and what it has given to Apple and mobile phone world at large. One of the most distinguished quality of Steve Jobs was the passion, love and emotions with which he used to launch Apple products, that passion made Apple rent space in people’s mind which all the brands strive for.
Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes that changes everything; iPhone certainly is one of those products.
By Shrivastav Bhaveshkumar
Greatlakes Institute of Management, Chennai