Marketers gaze in envy at brands like Apple. The firm that began with the Mac built some of the first home computers [doh, thanks, alert reader!] has turned their customers into legions of fanatical evangelists. But, without a Steve Jobs at the helm, or with fewer resources than Apple, is building that kind of loyalty possible? I’ve got good news: while having a visionary and charismatic CEO is a big plus, it isn’t necessary to build a fan base, or even a fanatic base. One big secret of Apple’s success lies in an experiment conducted 40 years ago. […]
Marketable business ideas often have two key characteristics: simplicity, and a way of categorizing products, brands, or companies. The Boston Matrix, for example, launched armies of strategy consultants who neatly fit businesses into buckets labeled, "cash cow," "star," "dog," etc. Kevin Maney's book Trade-Off has those characteristics as well.