Steve Jobs is the current CEO and one of the founders of Apple, Inc. He is one of the co-founders of this highly successful company. Jobs has had a long road to his success and there have been many factors that have contributed to his success.
Steve Jobs was born in February 1955 in San Francisco, California. He was adopted at a very young age by Clara and Paul Jobs (Corbis Corporation, 2010). Steve found an early interest in electronics and gadgets with the aid of a neighbor who worked at Hewlett-Packard. Jobs received his first computer at the age of 12 and knew right then that he wanted to spend his career working with computers (2010). After two years of college, Jobs dropped out. In 1975, he joined a group named Homebrew Computer Club who had a member by the name of Steve Wozniak (2010). This ended up being an important meeting between Wozniak and Jobs because they went on to form Apple, Inc. in 1976.
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By 1984, Apple, Inc. introduced the Macintosh computer to the world. This started a trend of Apple introducing innovative products to the market. Job had issues with Apple and was fired in the late 1980s, but he returned in the late 1990s ( (Lashinsky, 2009). After his return to Apple in 1997, he hired a completely new management team that would turn into his confidants (Lashinsky, 2009). This is around the time when Apple introduced the iMac, the real start of their successful launch of many new and innovative products including the iPod, iTunes, iTouch, iPhone, and iPad over the next approximate decade. The innovation involved in these products has launched Apple into one of the most successful computer and technology companies. The timing of the introduction of new products has also been critical. The latest introduction to Apple's impressive list of products is iAd, an outlet for ads that will completely revolutionize the marketing world. iAd will deliver interaction and emotion by deliver web ads through the use of video in ads while consumers are using applications (ymalakha, 2010).
Jobs seems to have a knack for determining when products should be introduced to the market. The launch of the iPod and iTunes came at a time when much of the rest of the technology industry was experiencing a lack of sales. The marketing strategy used by Apple and Jobs includes introducing a product to the shareholders and creating a buzz. The buzz is created by showing off the features that no one has ever seen in a product before and promoting that through internet chatter and commercials for months before the product is actually available for sale to consumers. Jobs also tends to have a knack for developing products that are must-haves for consumers. This has led to a relatively small line of products for Apple. Apple has less than 30 major products, yet it is a $30 billion company (Ambler, 2008).
Though innovation through products was one of the reasons that Steve Jobs was successful, it has not been the only factor. Going back to his marketing strategy, he does not sell products. Instead he sells dreams (Gallo, 2009). His enthusiasm, emotion, and passion for his mission of changing the world with the tools to enrich the lives of consumers is contagious (Gallo, 2009). He demonstrates the ease of using the products and allows the mind of the consumer go wild with the possibilities of how it will change their lives for the better.
Jobs uses popular media tools to enhance the buzz. Twitter is a popular site that allows users to create 140 character long posts to share with their followers and the rest of the world. Apple's products have tag lines that describe each product that can easily been sent to the world through Twitter posts. One example is the description for MacBook Air. Jobs described it as, "the world's thinnest notebook" (Gallo, 2009). The use of that tagline may seem like it only gave consumers little information regarding the product, but it peaks the curiosity that will drive the consumer to research further specifications and information for the product.
Jobs is a smart man. He sticks to the rule of three following research from neuroscientists that have discovered that humans can comprehend only three or four pieces of information at a time (Gallo, 2009). He divides his presentations into three parts and enjoys having fun with that rule of three, including presentations with speakers of products . One excellent example of Apple following the rule was when Jobs introduced the iPhone in January 2007. He described the iPhone as an iPod, a phone, and internet communicator in one device as opposed to three separate devices (Gallo, 2009). Almost instantly, tech "geeks" were salivating and could not wait to get their hands on an iPhone. At the launch in late June 2007 (nearly six commercial-filled months after he first introduced the product) consumers waited for days in line at Apple stores to purchase the iPhone. The overwhelming demand led to shortages and long activation times for the phone because the network was so bogged down from millions trying to activate the phone at the same time. Subsequent launches of newer models of the phone have had similar issues, especially shortages of the product.
Always on Time
Marked to Standard
Jobs' presentations are often extremely visual. His slides in a presentation often contain very few words, instead opting for photographs or images. He will often use the few words to spark a story or will use the images as a basis for launching a story (Gallo, 2009). This is how presentations are supposed to be because the audience will not focus entirely on reading the slide, but instead on the words the presenter is saying. Steve Jobs has an affinity for simplicity. Many marketing experts say that "simplicity" is in, however Jobs has made this one of his goals since Apple was created in 1976 (Gallo, 2009).
Ahead of a presentation, Jobs will script a moment that will keep viewers talking for days. Often times, to create consistency and keep the buzz going, this same fascinating revelation will be used in the ads for the product. One example of this is during the unveiling of the MacBook Air in 2008. Jobs pulled the "world's thinnest notebook" from a regular sized manila envelope (Gallo, 2009). Immediately following that keynote address, ads flooded the internet and TVs showing a new MacBook Air being pulled from a manila envelope.
On stage, Jobs does not hog the spotlight and keep it for himself. Instead, he shares the spotlight with companies who have a partnership with Apple or customers with testimonials about Apple's products (Gallo, 2009). In April 2010, during his keynote address, Jobs showed the ease of using iAd that had a partnership with Disney Pixar for their upcoming movie Toy Story 3 (MrAikawa, 2010).
Steve Jobs has used innovation in the creation of products and his marketing strategy to help launch Apple into one of the frontrunners in the technology industry. Some of the keys to his success in addition to innovation include simplicity, creating that "water cooler" moment that everyone will talk about (buzz), using media, and sticking to the rule of three. There have been some bumps in the road for Jobs and more are certain to appear, but for now Apple seems well on its way to maintaining its spot on the leader board of technology advancements, especially with Steve Jobs at the helm. His continued run at success should be studied by other companies who hope to one day achieve the success that Apple, Inc. has had, especially over the last decade.