The Apple of Retail’s Eye

In the new edition of Fortune they call out “America’s Most Admired Companies” and to nobody’s surprise; Apple is in the top 10. They have a great article on Apple’s success with retail. When they got into the retail game in 2001, industry experts where extremely critical of their approach and didn’t think they would succeed. I think the opening paragraph is worth repeating here:
“Sorry Steve, Here’s Why Apple Stores Won’t Work,” BusinessWeek wrote with great certainty in 2001. “It’s desperation time in Cupertino, Calif.,” opined “I give [Apple] two years before they’re turning out the lights on a very painful and expensive mistake,” predicted retail consultant David Goldstein.

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Publishers Expanding Their Turf

A recent article in B-To-B Magazine shows how many publishing companies are getting into territory normally handled by ad agencies. The expanded offerings include online and word of mouth marketing services. This is getting traction in the business publication sector but consumer oriented pubs are going in that direction too. The trend appears to be that media companies are acquiring agencies with expertise in web site design & development, word of mouth marketing and PR.

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Easily Generated Demographic Specific Ads – You Kiddin’ Me.

The mystique that used to exist around creating great ads is fading away. More and more tools are becoming available that allow companies and individuals to do things that only the agencies could have done a few years ago. Now there are web based editing tools that can be used to make, edit and even customize ads. Here is a New York Times article about just that.
The leading advertising agencies will be the ones who stay on top of these changes and find ways to leverage them through innovative approaches, thus maintaining their value. Agencies have to focus on great concepts that can be leveraged in multiple Medias, often playing off other.

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Bill Gates Doing the Promo Circuit

I don’t watch that much TV and I’ve seen Bill Gates on at least two talk shows last week; The Daily Show and the Today Show. I’m sure there were more. Perhaps I’ve never noticed this tactic before, but he’s promoting Windows Vista just like Bruce Willis would be promoting his latest blockbuster film. The Daily Show interview was very entertaining and worth a look. Here’s a link to
Video: Bill Gates on the Daily Show – Part 1“>part 1 and
Video: Bill Gates on the Daily Show – Part 2“>part 2.
Has Microsoft done this in the past? Has Jobs hit the talk show circuits too? He hasn’t as far as I know and I don’t think its common for CEO’s to use this medium to promote new product launches. I just found this interesting and wonder how much interest it has generated in the new operating system. This may be a new role for Mr. Gates now that he is not as active in the day to day business. If so, they may want to give him a little more coaching so he doesn’t appear so awkward.