Monday, October 21, 2013

Part One: 10 Lessons From Steve Jobs That Every Marketer Must Learn

Steve Jobs lead the greatest turnaround in corporate history. He took a near-bankrupt Apple and turned it into one of the largest most profitable companies in the world, but Steve didn't look that great on paper. Steve didn't have a college degree, he wasn't an engineer and he couldn't even write a line of code. When it came to the bureaucratic aspects of running an organization, he was useless. You might be asking yourself what made Steve Jobs such a success story? His gift was marketing. According to Guy Kawaski, who worked under Jobs at Apple, "Steve was the greatest marketer ever." Here are 10 marketing lessons you can learn from him.
  1. Find good mentors. Jobs was smart enough to find people he could learn from. One of his first mentors was Regis McKenna, who was a legendary Silicon Valley marketer. Jobs sought him out when Apple was still a two-man operation in a garage. Mckenna helped Jobs bring on Mike Markkula as Apple's first angel investor and marketing guru. Markkula joined Apple as an employee and created a set of marketing principles which Apple still uses today, 35 years later. Later on, Jobs befriended advertising expert Lee Clow, who created Apple's famous 1984 commercial and "Think Different" campaign. No matter how good you are, learn how to spot people who know more than you do, and listen to them.
  2. Make a great product. According to Guy Kawaski, "What Steve did that few marketers understand is that he created the first great product. It's hard to market crap. Most marketers take whatever crap is thrown at them and put lipstick on the pig. Steve's 'secret' was to control the product and the marketing, not just the marketing."
  3. Stand for something. After Apple launched in 1977, both Jobs and Markkula outlined three core company principles. First, Apple would empathize with customers. Second, Apple would focus on doing a few things really well. Lastly, Apple would impute its values across everything they did -- not just within the products themselves. Jobs insisted on consistency of both taste and design across everything that Apple did, which is not an easy task.
  4. Spend money. One great example of this was the 1984 commercial for the new Macintosh. Jobs hired Ridley Scott, who was the director of Alien and Blade Runner, spending $900,000 making the 60-second spot and $800,000 to run it one time during the Super Bowl. Keep in mind, this was a huge risk for the company since it wasn't clear that the ad would succeed. Apple's board hated the ad so much that they didn't even want to run the ad at all. This ad generated as much coverage as the Macintosh itself. Here's the ad:
  5. Create experiences. Steve Jobs described the 1984 commercial as "event marketing," meaning a campaign where the promotion itself is so unique that it gets covered as an event. Soon after this commercial aired, Jobs spent $2.5 million to buy a 40-page advertisement spot in Newsweek. According to Jean-Louise Gassee, a former executive at Apple, says Jobs understood the importance of storytelling, and used it over and over again in campaigns like the "I'm a Mac, You're a PC" campaign. 
Stay tuned for Part Two of 10 things every marketer should learn from Steve Jobs.