In just a few short years, Steve Jobs went from being fired as CEO of Apple to becoming one of the most iconic leaders in business history. How did he do it? By coming back, of course. Still, even after his initial ousting, there was something about Steve Jobs that made him stand out as a leader. This wasn’t just because he was one of the most well-known people on earth or because he was worth billions of dollars (at the time of his death), but rather because he was able to inspire others with his creativity and passion for innovation. It’s this same passion that helped make him such an effective marketer and leader during both his initial stint at Apple and during his return in the early 2000s.
The Secret of Jobs’ Marketing Success
Before we talk about the specifics of Jobs’ marketing success, it’s important to note that we’re talking about his initial successes, as opposed to his comeback in the 2000s. While it’s true that he was able to steer Apple to even greater heights at the end of his career, it’s important to understand how he used marketing to make Apple the behemoth it is today. One of Jobs’ greatest assets was his ability to turn a “commodity product” into something that was not only desired, but was representative of the customer using it. This might sound like a given when it comes to marketing, but it’s actually quite difficult. Why is it so difficult? Because consumers aren’t stupid. They know that most products are pretty similar when you look at the basic functionality. Instead of trying to convince them otherwise, marketers should be trying to identify what makes their product stand out from the rest. That was what Jobs was able to do with Apple.
Apple: From Dead Company to Cult Brand in Just 5 Years
Before we get into what made Apple such a cult brand, let’s look at the company’s state before and after Jobs’ arrival. By 1985, Apple was a company on the verge of collapse. Their products were outdated, and they were unable to compete with the likes of IBM and HP. They were being outpriced and outsold by their competitors, and there didn’t seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel. Then, in the fall of that year, they were purchased by their former CEO, Steve Jobs. Now, it’s important to note that Jobs didn’t swoop in and save the day with some fancy new product or a decision to change the company’s direction. In fact, he did the opposite. He dropped the company’s profit-making division, the Lisa computer. He also shut down the company’s research and development team, which was responsible for creating their computer models. Why did Jobs do this? Because he wanted to cut costs and focus solely on the Macintosh, a computer that had been in the works for several years but remained unfinished due to lack of funds. The Macintosh was a computer that focused on a single function: creating and editing text. This was significant because it meant that the Macintosh would be a specialized computer that didn’t require a whole lot of money (or skill) to operate. It would also be something that only a user as a dedicated user would be able to use. In other words, it was a “niche” computer.
Jobs’ Greatest Marketing Lessons
Now that we’ve discussed how Jobs turned around Apple, let’s look at how marketers can learn from the success he found in branding the Macintosh. - Be Proud to be an Outlier - While other computers were trying to be everything to everyone, Jobs knew that the Macintosh wasn’t for everyone. It was for a specific type of person, one who was interested in technology, but didn’t have the money or skill to use other computers. - Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment - Apple was a dying company when Jobs took over. He could have done what other companies were doing – try to create a computer that could do everything. Instead, he decided to try something different. - Develop a Culture of Constant Innovation - Another reason Macintosh was such a successful computer was that Jobs was constantly pushing his engineers to develop something new. Every year, they would release a new computer, with more and more features. - Create an Experience - Perhaps the most important lesson marketers can learn from Steve Jobs’ time at Apple is to create an experience for the customer. In the early days of computers, they were something that very few people understood. Jobs knew that in order for the Macintosh to be successful, he needed to give users a reason to buy it. - Conclusion These are just a few of the marketing lessons marketers can take away from the success Steve Jobs found with the Macintosh. Still, it’s important to remember that marketing isn’t something you can do once. It’s something you need to be constantly working on and evolving with the times.