HomeCase StudyDiscover the genius marketing strategy of Steve Jobs

Discover the genius marketing strategy of Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs is regarded as one of the greatest marketing minds in history. 

He is the one who is greatly responsible for the Apple company’s success. 

Additionally, Steve Jobs’ marketing genius was credited with the success of Pixar Entertainment and NeXT computers (which Apple acquired in 1997). 

Due to Apple’s position as the largest tech company in the world, we can predict how successful Steve Jobs’ marketing strategy was, since it helped the company achieve this position. 

There is no doubt that there are many people who admire Steve Jobs for his marketing genius as well as many people who would like to learn from the marketing strategies he implemented and that is why we have written this article, in order to make you learn from him. 

We will discuss Steve Jobs’ marketing mind and the marketing strategies he has implemented in this article so that you can learn from them and apply them to your own business.

How did Steve Jobs come up with his best marketing idea?

Whenever Jobs was asked where the idea for his notion of marketing came from, he always proudly replied, “the shoe company, Nike.”

The advertisements shown by Nike were watched by Steve Jobs with the utmost attention and focus. 

It was clear to him that Nike is unlike any other shoe company in that it does not talk about the features of its shoes, but rather about what the customers want from the shoes.

There is no way you will ever see Nike say that the soles of their shoes are better than the soles of Puma’s shoes or any other brand’s shoes.

Nike’s ads are always centered around athletes and athletics. 

As a result of Nike’s marketing campaigns, audiences are motivated to wake up their inner athlete. 

Therefore, whenever we hear about ‘Nike’, we don’t think of it as a shoe company as we assume it is a lot more than that.

Upon Apple’s purchase of NeXT and Steve Jobs’ return as a consultant, Jobs delivered a speech to the company’s employees.

The following is a transcript of his speech:

Nike sells a commodity, they sell shoes. And yet when you think of Nike, you feel something different than a shoe company. In their ads, as you know, they don’t ever talk about the product, they don’t ever talk about their air soles, how they’re better than Reebok’s air soles. What’s Nike do in their advertising? They honor great athletes and they honor great athletics. That is what they are about.

The Apple employees at the time guessed based on Steve Jobs’ words that Apple now would show a different type of ad to the people and that it would not be related to their products.

What is important to note here is that the event occurred in 1997. At the time, Apple did not have the top-of-the-line products it is famous for today, like the iMac, iPad, iPhone, or iPod.

At the time, Apple was running out of money, because it hardly sold any products, so the people who heard Steve Jobs’ words were confused about how such an advertisement would work. 

To sell products, people thought they needed to show product-related ads, and because Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy, they should not experiment with anything related to ads at all.

Nevertheless, Steve Jobs had another idea in mind and launched the ‘Think Different’ ad campaign shortly thereafter.

In addition to becoming a huge hit among the masses, the ‘Think Different’ advertisement also achieved its mission.

In that advertisement, Steve Jobs sought to capture the great personality that each person possesses.

In Apple’s ‘Think Different’ ad, we hear the following words:

Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Apple hoped to convey the message that people who are craziest enough change the world through this advertisement. 

Due to this reason alone, the ad showed images of legends like Martin Luther King Jr, Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Einstein, and Muhammad Ali.

With this advertisement, Apple became extremely successful.

It was because Apple showed this advertisement that people subconsciously began to believe that Apple users are crazy or brilliant.

In response to this ad, so much hype was created and people were eagerly awaiting Apple’s upcoming product launch.

After this, Apple released the iMac, although at the time the iMac was not the most perfect computer available on the market, it was still the most anticipated and aspired product that had been launched.

Apple resumed making profits after a long period of losses after selling the iMac in large numbers.

It is believed among masses that it was Steve Jobs’ idealized ‘Think Different’ advertisement that made the new iMac a great success.

“It is important for you to learn here that you don’t always have to highlight the greatness of your product in your advertising.

There are times when it matters, but not always.

It would be better if you think about your prospective customers first. What are they hoping to get and how do they hope to feel?

And develop an advertisement based on that to evoke the feelings and emotions of your target audience.”

Steve Jobs’ marketing genius is based on three fundamental reasons

Apple’s marketing strategies came later, first came the fundamentals as to why they worked, without which the strategies would never have been successful.

Since Steve Jobs did not have any formal marketing education, many people wonder how he became such an exceptional marketer. Well, here’s how:

Steve knew his products inside and out

For every product Apple made in his presence, Steve Jobs was filled with great passion.

During his time at Apple, he oversaw all its products with deep focus and understood each product intimately.

With such understanding, Steve Jobs recognized each Apple feature’s merits and advantages from an Apple consumer’s point of view.

His deep understanding of his products enabled him to effectively convey the product’s features during every keynote presentation.

Steve understood that people do not understand the technicalities of products

Those companies that informed people of their product’s technical advances were hated by Steve Jobs. 

Those ads bothered him since he knew that people did not understand the technical aspects of the products, and explaining them to them was a waste of time.

In addition to knowing his products, Steve also knew his audience.

It was always his belief that people would never really give a damn about the technicalities of a product. 

In fact when they hear about the technicalities of a product, they would become overwhelmed and lose all interest in it.

Because of this, Steve Jobs rarely used technical terms to describe the products to his audience; rather, he used them only when they were essential.

In other words, Steve Jobs never said that the iMac had a PowerPC G3 processor, rather he said that ‘you could finish your work at an unimaginable pace using the iMac.’

He was extremely confident about the products he offered

Each Apple product produced by Steve Jobs was valued by him, and he pushed his staff to provide the best possible service so that the consumers could benefit fully from Apple products.

As a result of always putting in a great deal of effort into his products, he had a high level of confidence in them.

Consequently, he was able to persuasively communicate the benefits of his products to the audience due to his confidence.

We demonstrate our passion for something when we work super hard on it. People can tell when we are passionate about something by the words we use, and by the way we act, we convey that feeling to them.

During Apple’s product demonstrations, Steve was highly passionate and confident regarding his products, and this passion was evident in his words.

The super passionate words of someone like Steve Jobs do the marketing job by captivating people and filling them with curiosity about his products.

It is clear from this section that if you wish to market your product like Steve Jobs in an effective way, you must have a deep understanding of it, know how to explain its benefits to your target audience in a way that is not technical, and be extremely confident about your product.

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Steve Jobs’ hard-core marketing lessons

Make sure your product has an enemy

All the people want to belong somewhere, to a group, to a community, to an organization and so on, Steve Jobs understood this thing very well.

As per Steve Jobs’ marketing strategy, you will have to divide two groups among people, the first will be the one that uses your product and the next group will be the one that uses your competitor’s products.

When people see a company having a set of values, people want to belong to that company if they like those values, because this is how they can differentiate themselves from the rest of the other people.

Steve Jobs took leverage of this strategy by differenting the Mac from Microsoft’s PC. In one of their advertisements, Apple displayed a fat man as a PC user and a lean guy as the Mac user.

With the thin guy as the Mac user, Apple wanted to convey the message that Apple users are innovative, creative, and are with a good taste about the technology products.

And with the thin guy as the PC user, Apple wanted to convey the message that PC users are traditional thinkers, outdated, and have no taste when it comes to technology products at all.

Not just sell the product, but sell a dream

Instead of just selling products, Apple sells dreams.

Any person who owns Apple products considers themselves to be visionaries, rebels, and authority figures just like Steve Jobs.

This message has been conveyed to the audience by Apple that Apple users are not regulars, but rather exceptional. 

When someone walks with one of Apple’s products, it’s assumed they are not just carrying a device, but also a status symbol.

In Apple’s marketing strategy, they treat their customers not as mere consumers, but as real people with dreams, hopes, and desires, which is clearly evident in how they communicate with the people.

Ensure that everything in your business is simple and elegant

The challenge of simplifying is greater than that of elaborateness, according to Steve Jobs. 

There is a clear simplicity in everything that is done in the Apple company, from the products they sell to the services they provide to the marketing they do.

When people use simple products, their brains don’t have to expend energy trying to figure out how to use the product, which makes them more popular.

As well as this, by having a simple marketing message, a company can make potential customers get the idea of its product fully and concretely, thereby making people more likely to buy the product when presented with it.

Additionally, companies that focus on telling people too many special features about their product fail to convey the key message for which the product should be used, which results in low sales.

Find out what people want and let them know

“People don’t know what they want until you show them what they want” is by far one of Steve Jobs’ best quotes.

The iPod, iPad, iMac, and iPhone are all Apple products whose features people initially did not know they needed, but after they got introduced to them, they realized how important they are.

So, rather than just asking the people what they want, you should have an intuition as to what would benefit them and build products accordingly.

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Make sure your marketing message is clear and concise

Knowing what people want is wonderful, but unless you communicate it clearly and concisely to your audience, all your efforts will be in vain.

Steve Jobs, for example, never mentioned the excellent features of the latest Macbook Air in his keynote address in 2008, which had 2GB of memory, 667MHz DDR2 processing speed, and 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo. 

In place of that, he just described the main specification in a single line, namely ‘The World’s Thinnest Notebook’, so it would be easy for people to determine if they wanted to buy the new Macbook Air.

It is this line alone which made people curious about the new Macbook Air and they wanted to see firsthand what the most thin notebook in the world feels like and this is what resulted in the huge amount of sales for the Macbook Air.

The lesson here is that you should spend hours thinking about how to explain to your audience what the most important feature of your product is or how to tell them about all the features of your product in one sentence. 

By doing this right, you will be able to leave an impact on the people through your marketing message.

Steve Jobs’ most famous marketing quotes

“Marketing is about values. It’s a complicated and noisy world, and we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. So we have to be really clear about what we want them to know about us.”

“It’s not about pop culture, and it’s not about fooling people, and it’s not about convincing people that they want something they don’t. We figure out what we want. And I think we’re pretty good at having the right discipline to think through whether a lot of other people are going to want it, too. That’s what we get paid to do. So you can’t go out and ask people, you know, what the next big [thing.] There’s a great quote by Henry Ford, right? He said, ‘If I’d have asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me ‘A faster horse’.

We don’t stand a chance of advertising with features and benefits and with RAMs and with charts and comparisons. The only chance we have of communicating is with a feeling.

You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.

It’s a very complicated world. It’s a very noisy world. And we are not gonna get a chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. So we have to be really clear on what we want them to know about us.

Picasso had a saying – ‘good artists copy, great artists steal‘ – and we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.

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Summary of our learnings from this article

We have learned a lot from this article on Steve Jobs’ marketing strategy, but let’s summarize them here so that we do not forget anything.

1) In order to succeed with your products, you need to know them intimately from every angle.

2) Rather than focusing on the technical features of your product, you should always tell your audience about the benefits.

3) It is imperative that you have complete confidence in the product you sell.

4) If you want your product to be successful, you must establish an enemy.

5) Selling a product is not enough; you need to sell a dream.

5) A simple and elegant approach in everything should be taken by your business.

6) It is crucial that you find out what people are looking for and make your product responsive to those needs.

7) Clarity and conciseness are essential when crafting your marketing message.

It is near to impossible to learn enough from Steve Jobs, a great visionary and a brilliant marketer.

For you to better understand the concepts of digital marketing, we always cover case studies of famous individuals and companies in our digital marketing course.
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