While marketing is absolutely a key part of the success of any product or business, the simplistic view, often used, that Apple’s success can be attributed solely to their “marketing” is the type of laziness most “clever analysts”, who have never understood Apple, often fall into.
If you didn’t get your iPhone 5 when you wanted to, let me show you some of the 10 million who have. There’s probably a couple of hundred pretty close to you right now if you ask around.
Just because any business has failed to deliver you something when you needed it may not actually because of some stock control dictated by a marketing strategy. Managing a just in time operation like one which can get millions of new devices to a large number of stores and customers in a short period of time is complex. Apple’s bi-annual successful launches of iPhone and iPad speaks to the fantastic supply chain and logistics operation they run.
Without an efficient and effective supply chain and great products, any marketing strategy is just that: a marketing strategy. Any company which relies entirely on marketing without product or supply chain to back them up are not going to last very long. No matter what the analysts or your entitlement tells you.
I’m not alone in having some negative experiences with Apple products once in a while. It’s hardware and software, I’ve been working in the space for nearly 20 years, there’s always going to be a percentage of lemons and bugs before and after release. The ongoing demand, sales, and loyalty for the products, however speak to our experiences being the exception rather than the rule. I encourage all of us (pointing at myself as much as anyone else here) who have a criticism of Apple or any business which has failed us to remember our own problems are most often not the experience of the overwhelming majority. If they were, we’d lose trust in first their capabilities, then the products and eventually the business would fail.
Currently I’m suffering from an abysmal user experience with iTunes Match on my iPhone 4 running iOS6. In short, it’s using cellular data despite my applied settings saying don’t. Do I think that’s being experienced by the majority of their users? Even with the amount of firstworldproblem whinging going on about it by me and others, probably not. Do I think it’s a bad experience for those impacted which will likely lead to complaints to carriers when a number of customers start querying their data usage? Absolutely. Will those complaints be serious, many and have consequences for both businesses? I’m unsure as only time will tell.
I’ve been criticised in the past for “excusing” Apple’s flaws or not participating in the pile on which they tend to attract for even the most minor issue. Perhaps that’s true, perhaps it’s more likely that I’m thinking about the issue more objectively than those who, despite spending their time claiming to disdain everything Apple does, share their feelpinions at length when they aren’t even personally affected. If only they used such energy to fix issues a little more pressing to society than whether your $800 device is scuffed or that by holding it a certain way causes your cellular signal to drop.
That a company has few things to be criticised for isn’t a sign of me “excusing” them. Rather, I would say it’s sign that they are generally doing a good job. Conversely, it should be self-evident why I or anyone else appears to be more critical of other companies. I’m certainly not going to participate in the false balance which often propagates throughout technology commentary.
I’m unashamed to say that I generally celebrate Apple’s success, but I’m not foolish enough to think that there aren’t exceptions to that success. If I comment on any business, it’s probably because I’m interested in understanding why they’ve been successful or failed. I don’t judge a business’ success or failure solely based upon the products on my desk on their home, but I’m certainly not going to make specious arguments like Apple’s success is solely to do with some sort of marketing wizardry unknown in the rest of capitalism.