The Marketing Genius of Steve Jobs - Part Two

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Part Two of our story picks up when Steve Jobs returns to Apple after 12 years away.

Super Bowl III has been called one of the greatest upsets in sports history.

Source: YouTube

The game pitted the AFL's New York Jets against the NFL's Baltimore Colts. The mighty NFL had dominated football since it began after World War I. The AFL, on the other hand, was an upstart that began in 1960.

It was universally agreed that the AFL didn't have the calibre of talent the NFL had. The sports media proclaimed the Colts, "The greatest team in sports history." So when the AFL's New York Jets were matched against the 13 and 1 Baltimore Colts, everyone braced themselves for a one-sided blow-out.

But the Jets had signed a rugged University of Alabama quarterback named Joe Namath.

joe-namath .jpgSource: Sports Illustrated

Then at a luncheon a few days before the big game, Namath got heckled by the spectators, and in frustration he jumped up and said, "We're going to win this game, I guarantee it!"

It was the guarantee heard 'round the world.

But come game time, the Colts were about to learn a valuable lesson about underestimating an underdog: The New York Jets won the Super Bowl.

And Broadway Joe Namath had made good on his bold guarantee. Against all odds, against all the statistics, against all the predictions.

In many ways, that historic upset parallels the comeback of Steve Jobs to Apple in 1997.

Except Apple was even more of an underdog.

No one felt Apple had the calibre of talent left to compete. The press, the public and Wall Street all bet against them. The company was reeling from a series of high-profile failures and was on track to lose $1 billion dollars that year. It was just weeks away from bankruptcy.

But that was when Jobs made his bold guarantee.

He launched the "Think Different" campaign - which told the world that Apple was capable of thinking as differently as geniuses like Einstein, Edison and Picasso.

The campaign was such a bold, stark declaration, that not to meet it with astonishing new products would be to assure an even greater failure. But Jobs was confident.

That conviction led to the first triumphant collaboration of Steve Jobs and designer Jonathan Ive: The colourful iMac.

Source: YouTube

iMac's didn't look like any other computer you had ever seen. Those vivid colours weren't just a design decision, by the way, they were a marketing decision - because they attracted customers by the millions.

The launch commercial for the iMac positioned its elegant simplicity against the more complicated PC:

Source: YouTube

The iMac became the fastest-selling computer in Apple history.

Jobs had made good on his bold promise.

In 2000, he unveiled his "digital hub" strategy - which was a closed Apple universe of devices and apps that used the Mac as mission control. Few understood it at the time.

Not long after, as the world witnessed the Dot Com Bubble burst, followed by a recession after 9/11, Jobs boldly launched iTunes in January, the Mac OSX operating system in March, the Apple retail stores in May and the iconic iPod in November.

It was an extraordinary showing of bravado. Followed by extraordinary marketing.

When Jobs announced the Apple retail stores, he was immediately attacked from all sides. The press was particularly negative. Business Week said, "Maybe it's time Steve Jobs stopped thinking quite so differently."

But Jobs simply tuned them out.

He wanted to create an experience for customers.

Source: YouTube

The result was record-setting: Apple stores reached the $1 billion revenue milestone faster than any other retail store in history.

apple store_fifthavenue.jpgSource: Google Images

Apple's 5th Avenue store in New York takes in more in absolute dollars than any other store in Manhattan - including Saks and Bloomingdale's.

Next, when Apple introduced the iconic iPod in 2001, it revolutionized the way people listened to music.

Source: YouTube

Jobs also realized he could sell more Macs by selling more iPods. So he moved $75 million dollars of the Mac advertising budget over to iPods - an outrageous decision at the time.

But it was shrewd marketing. That decision helped sell over 300 million iPods, cornering 70% of the music player market. And now Mac sales account for over 90% of all the computers with a price tag over $1,000.

Source: YouTube

When Apple introduced iTunes later in 2001, it gave people an elegant and simple way to organize their music. But when it introduced the iTunes Store in 2003, it offered something else - a way to purchase music.

Apple predicted it would sell one million songs in six months. They did it in six days.

Steve Jobs' favourite artist of all time was Bob Dylan.

He managed to convince Dylan to shoot a commercial for the iPod - for free. As a result, the album Modern Times shot to the top of the Billboard chart, giving Dylan his first number one album since 1976:

Source: YouTube

Advertising Age Magazine maintains that the Dylan iPod commercial changed everything because it "flipped the formula." For the first time, an advertiser didn't write a big cheque to the artist, it just offered to generate sales via the commercial.

Later U2 would agree to the same deal.

Source: YouTube

In 2007, Jobs unveiled his latest disruption to yet another industry.

The iPhone.

Where he once said that an iPod was like having 1,000 songs in your pocket, he now seductively announced the iPhone was like having your life in your pocket.

Source: YouTube

In 2010, he unveiled the iPad.

He asked his ad agency to create a "manifesto" commercial that declared how revolutionary the iPad was. He wanted to pre-empt the other companies who would be coming out with copycat tablets within the year:

Source: YouTube

Apple would sell more than one million iPads in its first month - twice as fast as the iPod.

Through all of these amazing product launches, it has to be remembered that Steve Jobs was a master salesman. His new product presentations became the most highly anticipated events in the technology world.

Taking centre stage, he would present current sales figures for Apple products, give a review of Apple items released in the last few months, then he would present one or more new products - and would begin to conclude by saying:

Source: YouTube

It was then that he would reveal the biggest news of the presentation.

Over the years, his "one more thing" moments became the most anticipated part of his presentations. It was pure showmanship.

In May of 2000, Apple's market value was one-twentieth that of Microsoft. Ten years later, Apple surpassed Microsoft. And on May 26th, 2010, just after 2:30pm, Apple became the second most valuable company in the world, after Exxon. One year later, Apple was sitting on cash reserves of over $100 billion, more than the U.S. Treasury Department.

Advertising Age magazine recently pointed out that, as a marketer, Steve Jobs was decidedly - and effectively - "old school."

In 2010, Apple spent $420 million dollars on advertising, dominated by network TV, newspapers, magazines, circulars and billboards.

Yet, for all the digital disruption Jobs brought to the world, he spent less than 10% in digital marketing.

He clearly didn't think much of the web as a branding medium.

A very interesting choice. But then again, Jobs loved to shatter the rules.

Everything a company does is a marketing act.

That's why I admire Steve Jobs so much as a marketer.

He understood that. Even the smallest design elements shouted Apple's brand.

Steve Jobs was that rare mixture of micro-manager and a big picture visionary. Copywriter Rob Siltanen called him a mixture of Michelangelo and John MacEnroe.

But that explosive temper was usually triggered when his standards weren't being met.

It's remarkable to think that the iPhone and the iPad were both launched after he was diagnosed with cancer.

He died on October 5th, 2011.

Sprint placed a print ad on the back of Rolling Stone magazine one week later:

sprint-steve-jobs ad.jpgSource: Google Images

It was just "one more thing" to remind us we will forever be... under his influence.

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