Apple: It’s about much more than just the products

August 7, 2010  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

I’ll admit it.  One of the reasons I like using Apple products is that Apple really gets it.  When I bought my first Mac back in 2003 (a Mirror Drive Doors PowerMac G4), I was just looking for something new.  I had followed the technical development of Mac OS X and was quite impressed.  But I was mostly just taking a leap of faith.

Today, Apple has so much more to offer.  But it’s not just about the products.  Apple is arguably the most successful company in the US right now.  And that means there are lots of lessons to be learned from Apply for any business, including a law firm.

In the past week I came across two articles that delve into the marketing of Apple computers.  Neven Mrgan posted this quick comparison of the all-in-one computer web pages of Apple, Dell, and HP.  It’s fascinating to see the difference in approach taken by Apple.  Dell and HP seem to assume that you’re only going to visit their website if you have already decided to buy one of their computers.  For all the talk about the Steve Jobs reality distortion field and Apple “tricking” people into buying their computers, it often seems to come down to Apple’s competitors completely forgetting about this thing called “marketing.”

Case in point, a post on Minimal about product lines.  If I wanted to go shopping for a Dell or HP today, I wouldn’t have any idea where to start.  They both decided to copy Apple from the early 1990s — the time when Apple had completely different model numbers for computers that only differed in their amount of memory and storage.

Dell has the following small and medium business laptop lines:

  • Latitude
  • Vostro
  • Inspiron Laptops
  • Studio Laptops
  • Precision Mobile Workstations
  • Gaming Laptops
  • Studio XPS Laptops
  • Mini Netbooks
  • Adamo

Has Dell really identified nine discrete markets for their laptops?  And, if so, why do they does their website do such a terrible job of telling me which line is perfect for my needs?  It’s important that a product or service speak to the customer’s needs.  Dell and HP seem to really be lacking there, whereas Apple has really hit the mark.

Apple is clearly worth watching.  They’re not without fault.  But there is a lot to be learned from observing how they do business.

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