The great business educator Peter Drucker once said that business is about only two things: innovation and marketing. Everything else, he said, is details.
So when these two elements appear simultaneously, something magical happens.
Something...like the iPad?
The iPad was anticipated for at least six months ahead of its launch in April 2010, and 3 million of the devices were sold in the first 80 days. Yet, more than six months later, there is not one viable competitor in the market. Despite volumes of media speculation and analyst forecasts, there still is no competitor to Apple in the hottest new segment of the personal computing and mobile markets.
Apple expands its market around the globe, adds retail and partner channels and readies for an update to its OS, while its formidable competitors struggle with basic design for v 1.0. They debate form factors, operating systems, interfaces, design, applications and battery life before they even tackle the harder of question of figuring out what is left of the market and how steep do they have to discount to win customers away from the iPad.
In the iPad, as in most things Steve Jobs creates, innovation and marketing aligned. A visionary and passionate leader, an incredible design, a Blue Ocean market opportunity and a product that exceeds the expectation of its customers have made the iPad a runaway success. That doesn't just happen one morning when someone wakes up and decides to find an innovation. It happens when leaders are passionate about building cultures around innovation, design and usability and rigid about making sure it occurs at every level of the company and never stops.
When that occurs, a product can be marketed with the deft subtlety of the iPad because the product speaks for itself. I would ask you where, in the iPad does innovation stop and the marketing begin? That is what makes Apple great. Peter Drucker would be pleased.