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 Apple dominates the US smartphone market

Apple is the top smartphone manufacturer in the US, with 28.6 percent of the smartphone market, a recent Nielsen report has confirmed. Amongst those who recently acquired a new device, 44.5 per cent had chosen an iPhone, with 57 per cent of those surveyed in December buying an iPhone 4S. In the fourth quarter of 2011, 46 per cent of US mobile consumers had smartphones, according to the Nielsen report.  

However, the battle for the US smartphone market in still on. The co-chief executives at BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) recently resigned, with Thorsten Heins, a former Siemens executive, taking over as CEO in January. In the meanwhile, Nokia announced two new phones in December aimed at “addressing the needs of the nearly 150 million people in the US who have yet to upgrade to their first smartphones”.  

Asked how the iPhone was able to reach this level of success, Michael Worthington, Founder of the award winning Australian company Quicklock Partitions said: “What Apple did was re-invent how we perceived the phone. They did not try to attract the mass market.”  

A speaker at the marcus evans Product Innovation 2012: Differentiate to Dominate Conference, Worthington added, “In traditional marketing, we are taught to market to the masses. What Steve Jobs did was make a device that was remarkable and worth remarking on. He targeted a select group of people who he knew would obsess over the phone and its radical design, then used them to pass the word around. Targeting groups that will obsess over your product or service is the new way to market. They pass the word on so fast with all the social media groups that are available, that news spreads like wild fire and the product becomes the must have.”  

Markets are constantly changing today. When Sony launched the Walkman, it brought out a new product once every few years. Apple brings out a new product every six months, Worthington pointed out.  

“At this rate of change and the market’s insatiable thirst for “new” to stay in business, it means that every business must obsess with innovation and marketing that innovation, followed by more innovation and marketing again. Five-year business plans do not cut it anymore,” Worthington said.

What all smartphone manufacturers want to know is: How does Apple do it?

The number one lesson that other manufacturers can learn from Apple is to create something remarkable, Worthington believes. “It means you have to be totally different and not obsess with satisfying the masses, rather feeding the thirst of small intensely passionate groups. Innovation in culture is to know this; culture eats strategy for breakfast. The right culture will see you win every time. The culture of innovation is one where everyone in the company is obsessed with changing everything, from what they do, to how they do it, to what markets or groups they serve.”  

“The five ingredients of culture can be summed up in a company’s core value and that is every idea, good or bad, works or does not work, will be rewarded. Culture is not a set of rules or ingredients. It is a passionately held, believed and acted upon value.”  

“You cannot force innovation but through culture you can create an environment for it to foster in,” Worthington concluded.  

The marcus evans Product Innovation 2012: Differentiate to Dominate Conference will take place Sydney, Australia, 16 - 17 February.

For more information, visit the event website 

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