Atlantic Crossing Digital Consulting

Product Matter Experts at Apple

So, mobile maven Scott Forstall got the heave-ho at Apple. Apparently a couple of solid missteps with Siri and maps ensured this veteran's departure. And a lot of e-ink will be spent on explaining just how that came about.

But from a Product-Centric Marketing angle, the departure of retail chief John Browett is more interesting. Browett was hired from British electronics retailer Dixons just eight months ago.

Now, in eight months no one can really prove himself qualified or unqualified as far as sales results go. So something must else have surfaced. CNN Money points to the obvious question why the former head of a (foreign) discount retailer woukld be the right person to run the retail arm of a premium-product company like Apple.

My guess would be that, possibly in addition to the discount/premium issue, Browett faced an enormous hill to climb. We must assume that a seasoned sales executive of a retail chain has great skills at taking a variety of products and marketing these effectively, earning a profitable markup along the way. The job is a lot about operations, being efficient and motivating sales employees.

The Apple job, however, is all about the PRODUCT, or the product experience, if you will. Any Apple salesperson is an evangelist, or what we could call a Product Matter Expert (as opposed to the oft-referenced Subject Matter Expert). And they are motivated by working with the right product, one that they believe is truly superior. I would guess that Browett had a hard time making that switch, from operations to product-centric marketing.

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