Last month, Rainbow Computer Emporium owner Cactus Jack won a contest for computer store owners that include an all expense paid trip to Apples headquarters in Cupertino and a face-to-face meeting with Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
As usual Jack arrived smelling of strong drink and tobacco. Mr. Jobs didn’t seem to mind as he welcomed Jack with a big hug. He seemed to be in a particularly jovial mood. “It’s probably my new medication but I feel fantastic” said Jobs. “Ask me anything.”
Jack sat down across the desk from Jobs and shot a stream of tobacco juice into the wastebasket.
“Fer starters,” said Jack “how can you call yerself a computer company when yer main products ain’t computers at all?”
“Excellent question Mr. Cactus. Can I call you Jack?”
“Sure, if I can call you Jobs” growled Jack
“ Call me anything but late for dinner” cackled Jobs. “You are correct, Jack. As a matter of fact, we changed the name of our company from Apple Computer to just plain Apple back in January of 2007, personally, I don’t even like computers, just give me an ipod and shut the door” he giggled.
“Then why bother sellin em at all?” scowled Cactus. “You ain’t even got 10% of the market.”
“Maybe we don’t sell a lot of PCs but we do make a lot of money on the ones we sell.” smiled Jobs.
“That’s somthin I’ve been ponderin" said Jack scratching his chin, "Apple computers used to be completely different from Windows PCs. Now days you git your computers at Foxxcon in China just like all the rest. You git the same parts as all the rest and Apples cain’t do nothin any other PC cain’t do. How the hell do you get away with sellin the same thing for three times as much as anybody else?”
“It’s called target marketing Jack. We don’t try to sell to everybody. Our strategy is to sell only to people who fit our demographic model. We call it “Right is Right” We target “right brain,” types only. That’s only about ten percent of the population.”
Jack brightened “Now I git it. You target the dumbest ten percent, right?
Jobs smiled condescendingly. “Not at all Jack. The right side of your brain is the emotional and artistic side, the left is for reason and logic. Most people have a balance between the two. We know Apple computers won’t appeal to those who use logic so we don’t even try. Our entire marketing effort is directed toward eliciting a positive emotional response within our target demographic. Since our product’s value is emotion based, we really don’t have any competition. All the other computer companies compete on the basis of features, function and price. We don’t need to worry about any of that stuff”.”
Now Jack perked up. If Apple has a way to sell products for three times what they’re worth Jack wanted to know about it. “How do you go about doing this target marketing stuff?” Jack asked innocently.
“Pretty easy actually” said Jobs “We target people who have a need to feel special. People who perceive themselves as different from the hoi polloi. Artists, musicians, actors, political activists and assorted narcissists are our meat and potatoes. College kids are easy money. They’re image conscious, herd driven and haven’t yet learned to think independently. Did you know that over 50% of left-handed people prefer Apple? That’s because the right brain controls the left side of your body.”
“Well don’t that beat all” said Jack. “How do you appeal to them “right brain” types?”
“We never compare ourselves to others. We never talk facts and figures. We just maintain a kind of anti-establishment aura, look cool and try to appear above it all. That’s why I dress like this. If you can’t afford a really cool car you can make a statement by carrying an Apple laptop. You can feel “in” like Oprah, Michael Moore or Tom Cruise.”
Jobs stood up and looked at his watch “Well I’ve enjoyed meeting you Jack but I have a staff meeting in five minutes do you have any more questions?”
“Just two”, said Jack. “That PC on your desk with an Apple logo is really an HP. Why is that?” Jobs looked surprised. “For heavens sake Jack, this is a hundred billion dollar company, you don’t we could run it on Snow Leopard do you?”
“I suppose not,” said Jack. “The other thing is that you don’t seem to me to be one of them thar “right brain” fellers. Are ya?
Jobs smiled “ No I’m not. We don’t have “right brainers” here on the fifth floor. This is senior management only. If you’d like to meet some right brainers though, I’ll have my secretary give you a tour of the Graphics Arts and Human Resources departments.” With that Jobs poked his head out the door and said “Bruce, give Mr. Cactus a tour of the basement.”