It’s interesting, Apple claims to have served billion applications to it’s iPod Touch/iPhone customers, in just 9 months. That’s huge! and surely a successful business strategy. Considering that several apps on the store actually cost money, ranging from $0.99 to $9.99, and yet there are even pricier ones at around $14 – $20+. That’s sizeable revenue, both for Apple and the developers. So what is it that makes Apple so successful? Why is it, that this one company does so well doing, what they are doing, while others have been struggling just to keep up, let alone innovate.
Apple definitely has the edge when it comes down to innovation (Disclaimer: I personally use the iPhone, and just can’t get over the possibilities of the product. I am sure even Apple, might have surprised itself, with the possibilities of it’s own product).
These are a few things, in my opinion, where Apple has got the equation correct.
1. Innovation – Allow innovation within the organization, you will be pleasantly surprised to discover the creative pool within your own company.
2. Encourage Creativity – Creativity will give you the edge over competition.
3. Research and Development – Most businesses don’t invest much in research and development. That’s where they get it wrong.
4. Invest in Usability – It’s pretty simple, if users face difficulty using your product, they are going to stop using it, doesn’t matter how innovative the product is.
5. Invest in your EMPLOYEE – Really! Investing (monetarily and emotionally) in your employee, encourages them to stretch beyond the boundaries, they develop a sense of ownership towards the company and it’s products. It’s pretty simple, they grow, you grow! I think that is the most simplest, yet the most powerful formula for any successful business.
6. Marketing – “The amount you spend on marketing is not directly proportional to your success”, Your aim should be to spend just enough to get the wheels moving, let the product and it’s users do the rest. Of course, you’ll need to have a good product for that.
7. Know your product well – If Apple didn’t know their iPhone/iPod well, they probably would have never been able to dig into this goldmine. Most importantly, make sure each employee in your organization understands the product, after all, they are your evangelist.
8. Know your target audience and then target them well – If your a mobile company and think everybody using a mobile is your target audience, you should quit right now. Apple, understands this well, they know what market group will appreciate their product (and in turn be employed for them, for free!) even after paying a premium for it. They’ve always targeted their product towards this niche audience. This create a desire among the less deserving (thats, how they’ll make you feel). An yearning that changes the “want” to a “need”, and then you just got to have it. The strategy seem right out of the Bible! and it work brilliantly.
9. Price your product correctly – It’s important to price your product correctly. One might wonder, if it was a smart thing for Apple to sell the iPhone at a premium price. Wouldn’t they have higher sales, had they priced the phone at a lower price point? When you develop a product that users love, you can be assured of loyalty. However, when something is too common and easily available, it also runs the risk of loosing it’s value. For Apple, with a great product at hand, it was also important to strategically ensure the product doesn’t loose its uniqueness.
10. Lastly, Involve your (potential & current) Customers & Communities – Organization are finally realizing how important it is to involve the customer in further developing, improving and extending the product. They are the ones who will use your product and decide it’s fate, so why not let them have a say on the product development and the direction it should go, the Internet is full of examples. Bottom-line, let your customers help your business to grow.