Steve Jobs Marketing Strategy (Is Pure Genius)

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Steve Jobs Marketing Genius

Moving the human race forward. That has been a mission of Apple since it was founded.

When it comes to marketing, there is very little which is invented. As Mick Jagger of the Stones poignantly summarized, "There is no future in rock 'n roll music; it is all only recycled past." There's probably some mystical reference from Stevie Nicks and "Landslide" somewhere in Jobs Genius.

Steve Jobs' marketing genius was seeing the brilliance of Nike, a shoe company, in showcasing star athletes of the 80s, such as Michael Jordan, John McEnroe, and Lester Hayes, and slapping Nike's logo next to them. Nike knew psychology would take over, and take over it did.

Honor great athletes. That stuck in Jobs' head.

This was the core and the essence of the "Think Different" ad campaign.

Jobs' did the same, but instead of star athletes, he created sexy products and used psychology to build an "elite brand." He knew Apple would be wildly successful with just 5% of the market share.

steve jobs think different campaign


He was right.

Where companies go wrong is when they attempt to convince their audience that they are the right product for them. Jobs points to the dairy industry as an example of how they tried for 20 years to convince the country that milk was good for them. "It's a lie, but they tried," quipped Jobs.

But then they came out with the "Got Milk?" campaign, and it wasn't about the product; it was about the absence of the product, but they used stars, just like Nike, but with milk mustaches, and the sales of milk skyrocketed.

Back to Nike, have you ever seen a Nike commercial where they discussed why their product was better than Reebok? Ever seen a detailed analysis of their shoe technology and how it will help you run faster or play better? Of course not. Instead, Nike's ad honors great athletes and great athletic accomplishments. This is where Jobs felt advertising professionals got it wrong.

The company was in disarray when Jobs returned to Apple, even with a large advertising budget. Jobs stripped the "core value" of the company, which was to help people do their jobs better with the box that Apple made, to one, people who use Apple products have a passion for making the world better.

The core of it, and what Jobs ultimately believes, are the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are often the ones that do.

This was a key moment in Jobs's return to Apple and the first brand marketing campaign with him back in the saddle; he envisioned a campaign that would leave a lasting impression. While many things changed at Apple while he was gone, he wanted to return to Apple's roots and core values. But values and core values, those things shouldn't change. Those nine words set the stage for something the world wasn't quite prepared for, as Apple was about to make an epic comeback.

But never forget to look beyond the marketing because while Apple and Nike's public "core values" may be very different, internally, they are the same: Make Lots of Money with Cheap Overseas Labor. After all, this is a very complicated and noisy world we live in.

In 1997, Jobs addressed his thousands of employees and said, "Marketing is about values. This is a very complicated world; it's a clamorous world. And we won't get the chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is. So we must be clear on what we want them to know about us."


One new marketing strategy Jobs drilled into the campus in Palo Alto was, "Don't market products, market dreams." This was a vital shift in the Apple brand. When it came time to launch the campaign, Jobs had to swirl in his head with images of Picasso, Einstein, and many other "world changers" - Jobs knew they were often quoted, disagreed with, loved, and hated. Still, he also knew the only thing people could not do was ignore them, as they were game changers and world changers. He even dared to refer to these brilliant minds as "the crazy ones," and it worked to perfection.

Before going live with the "Think Differently" campaign, Jobs was torn about which version to use. One with Jobs doing the voiceover, or one with Richard Dreyfus. Both were sent to the network, and the decision was made in the final hour. The Dreyfus version, which was the correct choice, was chosen. Jobs' vision is genius, but the power of his voice is not. It takes a natural leader to recognize that you don't always possess that which is best.

More on Steve Jobs

What Did Steve Jobs Sell To Start Apple?

In 1975, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak joined and worked out of Jobs' parent's garage. They needed $1,350 in capital to start Apple, so Jobs decided to sell his VW Microbus, and Wozniak parted with his HP calculator.

Did Michael Fassbender Do A Good Job Portraying Steve Jobs?

Many critics and audiences felt that Michael Fassbender did an excellent job portraying Steve Jobs in the 2015 biopic of the same name. Fassbender received widespread praise for his performance, with many highlighting his ability to capture Jobs' charisma, intensity, and contradictions. The performance was considered one of the standout elements of the film, and Fassbender was widely recognized for his commitment and dedication to the role.

Steve Jobs Marketing - "The Man In The Machine" is a documentary film directed by Alex Gibney, released in 2015. The film explores the life and career of Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Inc., focusing on his marketing genius and impact on the world of technology. This documentary provides an in-depth look into the visionary's personal and professional life, shedding light on his unique approach to marketing and his role in creating the iconic Apple brand.


Steve Jobs was known for his ability to captivate audiences with his storytelling skills and product presentations, which significantly shaped Apple's marketing strategies. Here are some key elements of Steve Jobs' marketing approach featured in the documentary:

  1. Simplicity: Jobs believed in keeping things simple in product design and marketing messages. He was a master at distilling complex ideas into easy-to-understand concepts, which made Apple's products appealing to a wide range of consumers.
  2. Emotion: Jobs understood the importance of connecting with consumers on an emotional level. He evoked emotions by focusing on the user experience and creating a sense of wonder and excitement around Apple's products.
  3. Product Launches: Steve Jobs turned product launches into memorable events, generating consumer hype and anticipation. His captivating presentations and ability to generate a "reality distortion field" played a significant role in creating a loyal fan base for Apple products.
  4. Focus on the Customer: Jobs was deeply involved in every aspect of product development, ensuring that Apple's products were tailored to meet the needs and desires of the customers. He believed in putting the customer first, which translated into intuitive designs and innovative features that set Apple products apart from the competition.
  5. Branding: Steve Jobs played a crucial role in creating Apple's brand identity, which is known for its sleek design, innovative technology, and minimalistic aesthetics. He was instrumental in shaping the company's image, messaging, and overall customer experience.

"The Man in the Machine" looks at Steve Jobs' life, including his controversial management style and complex personality. The documentary highlights the successes and the darker aspects of his life, providing a comprehensive portrait of the marketing genius who revolutionized the technology industry.


Steve Jobs - "The Man Who Thought Different" is a biography written by Karen Blumenthal and published in 2012. The book offers an insightful look into the life and career of Steve Jobs, the visionary co-founder of Apple Inc. and a key figure in the technology industry. Blumenthal's work chronicles Jobs' journey from his humble beginnings to his revolutionary technological accomplishments, exploring the various aspects of his life that contributed to his unique way of thinking and his impact on the world.

Some key themes and aspects of Steve Jobs' life covered in "The Man Who Thought Different" include:

  1. Early Life: The book delves into Jobs' childhood and upbringing, including his adoption, relationship with his biological and adoptive parents, and early interest in electronics and technology.
  2. Education and Career Beginnings: Blumenthal explores Jobs' college experience, his travels to India, and his early career, including his co-founding of Apple with Steve Wozniak and their initial success with the Apple I and Apple II computers.
  3. Innovation and Leadership: The biography details Jobs' role in creating groundbreaking products such as the Macintosh, iPod, iPhone, and iPad, as well as his unique management style, which combined a relentless drive for perfection with a focus on innovation and design.
  4. Personal Life: "The Man Who Thought Different" examines Jobs' relationships with family, friends, and colleagues, as well as his struggles with his health, which eventually led to his resignation from Apple and his untimely death in 2011.
  5. Legacy: The book reflects on the lasting impact of Steve Jobs' work, highlighting his influence on the technology industry, modern culture, and the way people interact with technology.

Karen Blumenthal's "Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different" gives readers an in-depth understanding of the iconic entrepreneur's life, achievements, and the driving forces behind his unparalleled success. The biography is captivating and inspiring for those interested in learning about one of the most influential figures in the history of technology and business.

Karen Blumenthal

Karen Blumenthal

How Steve Jobs Changed The World

Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Inc., changed the world by revolutionizing the personal technology industry. He was instrumental in developing the personal computer, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad, which transformed how people interact with technology. Jobs' designs and marketing strategies, which emphasized simplicity, elegance, and ease of use, made computing accessible to millions. He transformed the tech industry from one dominated by corporations and engineers to one that was user-centered and focused on design. Jobs' vision for technology also significantly impacted how we live and work, making it possible for people to be connected and productive from anywhere in the world. Jobs' legacy continues to influence the technology industry, and his impact on the world will be remembered for generations.

How Steve Jobs Turned the iPhone Into The Best Social Brand - Steve Jobs' vision and marketing genius played a critical role in turning the iPhone into the best social brand. He accomplished this through a combination of innovation, understanding the importance of user experience, and creating a sense of community among Apple users. Here are some of the ways Steve Jobs turned the iPhone into a powerful social brand:

  1. Intuitive Design and User Experience: Jobs focused on creating a device that was visually appealing and easy to use. The iPhone's user interface was designed to be simple and intuitive, making it accessible to a wide range of users. This focus on user experience helped create a strong emotional connection between consumers and the iPhone, which fueled positive word-of-mouth and social sharing.
  2. Product Launch Events: Steve Jobs was a master at building anticipation and excitement around new product releases. He turned iPhone launches into highly anticipated events, using his legendary "one more thing" announcements to generate buzz and get people talking about the latest iPhone features. This excitement often translated into extensive media coverage and widespread social sharing, further solidifying the iPhone's social brand status.
  3. Seamless Ecosystem: Jobs understood the importance of creating a seamless experience for users, integrating the iPhone with other Apple products and services such as iTunes, the App Store, and iCloud. This interconnected ecosystem made it easy for users to sync their content and access it across multiple devices and encouraged them to share their experiences and engage with the Apple community.
  4. App Store and Third-Party Developers: The introduction of the App Store with the iPhone 3G opened the door for third-party developers to create innovative apps that enhanced the iPhone's functionality and user experience. The App Store quickly became a social hub where users could discover, download, and share their favorite apps, further strengthening the iPhone's social brand.
  5. Apple's Brand Loyalty: Steve Jobs was instrumental in fostering a strong sense of loyalty among Apple customers. Through his charismatic leadership, passion for design, and dedication to innovation, Jobs cultivated a devoted following of Apple enthusiasts who eagerly anticipated new iPhone releases and shared their love for the product with others, both online and offline.
  6. Exclusivity: In the early years of the iPhone, Jobs struck an exclusive deal with AT&T as the sole carrier in the United States, creating a sense of exclusivity around the device. This exclusivity generated curiosity and hype, encouraging people to talk about the iPhone and share their experiences with friends and family.

By focusing on user experience, generating excitement around product launches, fostering a loyal customer base, and creating a seamless ecosystem, Steve Jobs was able to turn the iPhone into the best social brand. This strategy has continued shaping Apple's approach to product development and marketing, ensuring the iPhone remains a dominant smartphone market.


The Apple Marketing Strategies Under Jobs

Under Steve Jobs, Apple's marketing strategies were instrumental in shaping the company's success and creating a powerful global brand. Some key elements of Apple's marketing strategies during Jobs' tenure include:

  1. Focus on Simplicity: Apple's marketing messages were always clear and straightforward, emphasizing their products' ease of use and user-friendly nature. This simplicity extended to the product design, packaging, and user interfaces, creating a cohesive brand experience.
  2. Emotional Appeal: Apple's marketing campaigns often evoked an emotional connection with customers, associating their products with creativity, empowerment, and innovation. Memorable ad campaigns, such as the "Think Different" and "Get a Mac" series, conveyed these values and helped build a strong brand identity.
  3. Consistent Branding: Apple maintained a consistent visual identity across all marketing materials, product designs, and packaging. This consistency helped create a recognizable and memorable brand image, making Apple products easily identifiable and desirable.
  4. Product Launch Events: Steve Jobs turned product launches into highly anticipated events, using captivating presentations and theatrical flair to generate excitement and buzz around new releases. These events, often live-streamed and covered extensively by the media, played a crucial role in building anticipation and creating a sense of urgency among consumers.
  5. Focus on User Experience: Apple's marketing strategies emphasized the importance of the user experience, showcasing how their products could improve consumers' lives. By highlighting the unique features and benefits of Apple products, Jobs was able to differentiate the company from its competitors and create a loyal customer base.
  6. Integration of Hardware and Software: Apple's products were designed with seamless hardware and software integration, creating a cohesive and intuitive user experience. This integration allowed Apple to market its products as a complete solution, setting them apart from competitors who often focused on individual components.
  7. Exclusivity: Apple's marketing strategies often capitalized on a sense of exclusivity, positioning their products as premium and aspirational. This exclusivity was reinforced through partnerships with specific carriers, limited product availability, and premium pricing.
  8. Third-Party Collaborations: Apple's marketing strategy also included collaborations with third-party developers, leveraging the popularity and innovation of apps and accessories to enhance the appeal of their products. The App Store, in particular, played a significant role in expanding the iPhone's capabilities and increasing its market appeal.
  9. Cultivating a Loyal Customer Base: Apple's marketing efforts helped create a loyal and passionate customer base that eagerly anticipated new product releases and served as influential brand ambassadors. Apple's retail stores and online forums further contributed to building a sense of community among Apple users.

These marketing strategies, combined with Jobs' leadership and vision, helped propel Apple to become one of the world's most valuable and recognizable brands.

The Distribution Strategy at Apple

Under Steve Jobs, Apple developed a unique distribution strategy that was crucial to the company's growth and success. Some key aspects of Apple's distribution strategy during Jobs' tenure include:

  1. Selective Distribution: Apple employed a selective distribution model, working with a limited number of authorized resellers and carriers. This strategy helped maintain control over the retail experience, ensuring that Apple products were always displayed and marketed according to the company's high standards.
  2. Apple Retail Stores: In 2001, Apple opened its first retail store, an innovative move that allowed the company to control every aspect of the customer experience, from product demonstrations to sales and after-sales support. Apple stores were designed to be visually appealing and inviting, focusing on hands-on product interaction and knowledgeable staff. This retail strategy contributed significantly to Apple's brand image and customer loyalty.
  3. Online Sales: Apple was an early adopter of online sales, launching the Apple Online Store in 1997. This platform allowed customers to purchase products directly from the company, ensuring a seamless and consistent buying experience. The online store also provided a platform for pre-orders and product reservations, adding to the exclusivity around new releases.
  4. Exclusive Carrier Partnerships: In the early years of the iPhone, Apple struck exclusive deals with carriers in various markets, such as the agreement with AT&T in the United States. These partnerships helped create a sense of exclusivity around the iPhone and allowed Apple to maintain control over the customer experience, including pricing and service plans.
  5. Strategic Global Expansion: Apple carefully expanded its distribution network, targeting key markets and regions to maximize sales potential. The company focused on establishing a strong presence in high-growth markets, such as China and India, as well as maintaining its dominance in established markets, like the United States and Europe.
  6. Third-Party Retailers and Authorized Resellers: Apple worked closely with selected third-party retailers and authorized resellers, ensuring that these partners adhered to the company's strict guidelines for product display, pricing, and customer service. This strategy helped maintain a consistent brand image and customer experience across all sales channels.
  7. Supply Chain Management: Apple's efficient supply chain management ensured that products were available when and where customers wanted them. By partnering with reliable suppliers and investing in advanced logistics systems, Apple minimized stock shortages and maximized customer satisfaction.
  8. Vertical Integration: Apple's distribution strategy was closely linked to its vertically integrated business model, which included designing, manufacturing, and selling its products. This integration allowed the company to control every aspect of the product lifecycle, ensuring a consistent and high-quality customer experience.

By focusing on a selective distribution model, controlling the retail environment, and managing its global supply chain, Apple created a unique and efficient distribution strategy under Steve Jobs. This approach played a significant role in the company's growth and contributed to the strong brand image and customer loyalty that Apple enjoys today.

How Did Jobs Convince John Sculley to be the CEO of Apple?

It was "Classic Steve." At the time, Sculley was the President of Pepsi-Cola and was comfortable with his position, and Pepsi has been performing well in sales. Jobs wanted Sculley, so he just went for the throat: "Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling flavored sugar water, or would you rather change the world with me?" Seeing it put in that light, there was no way Sculley could turn Jobs down.


Apple had never done anything this massive before. When someone mentioned to Steve Jobs that the iPhone would be more significant than the Mac, Steve just said, "I know." How did Jobs know? Simple. Everywhere he went, two things were certain. 1) Everyone had a mobile phone; 2) Everyone complained about it. He knew Apple could build something better. It was the only product that would catapult Apple to altitudes even Jobs couldn't envision.

The iPod was responsible for about half of Apple's revenue when the iPhone was discussed as a possible product.  In a meeting of the iPod team, one of the concerns for possible future loss of market share and revenue is "What if cell phones also could play MP3s." This was when they knew the iPhone also had to include an integrated iPod player. The problem was, getting the "phone interface" to work with the iPod "wheel" that was so popular and did not have the device look and operate like the rotary phone, which would have been a death sentence for the invention.

Instead, Jobs suggested to the design team to take the technology they were working on for the new Apple product (a tablet, which would become the iPad) and shrink it down to allow for a multi-touch experience, including a keyboard. Since the most popular device was The Blackberry with its hard keyboard, Apple went the soft route and included scrolling and the famous "rubber band bounce," signifying you were at the end of the page. Apple believed this move would liken the experience to reading a book and engage the user without losing the nostalgic feeling of an actual book or another medium.

As the project was coming together, Jobs feared the teams would inadvertently leak information outside the walls of the Apple Complex about the iPhone (code-named The Purple Project), and the press would spoil the announcement. Jobs wanted to dazzle the world; the only way to do that was to keep the public in the dark. So Jobs put up posters all around the office about "Fight Club" and modified the posters to read, "The First Rule of the Purple Project is Not Talk About the Purple Project."

It was written numerous times that Apple employees under Jobs's watch were like members of a religious community, nearly cult-like, with Jobs as their worshipped guru, and the Apple customers were the loyal followers of his vision that Jobs would change the world. 

On January 7, 2007, the secret remained within the walls of Apple when Jobs took the stage for the announcement.

And from the Sculley hiring, the line "Do you want to spend your life selling sugar water or..." was used repeatedly by employees in meetings, emails, internal presentations, etc. It became the "go-to" trolling statement, and according to former employees, surprisingly, it never got old.


The Dark Side of Steve Jobs

From the time he berated an older woman for her "skill" at making Jobs a smoothie at Whole Foods to telling a top Xerox employee, "Everything you've ever done is shit," Steve Jobs is not wildly known for the "Good Steve," as the "Bad Steve" and his often unpredictable personality traits received the bulk of the press.

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