The 3 Marketing Rules that made Apple Computer such a success

I‘m about 12% (that’s the Kindle for you!) through Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs. It makes for fascinating reading particularly as I’m at the chapter on the birth of the Apple II, the first micro I ever sold commercially (yes, I am that old).

What really caught my attention and led to me re-read a section was a piece that described the early marketing philosophy of Apple Computers. Written by their first ‘proper’ marketing man, Mike Markkula, it was a one-page summary of their marketing principles and applies just as much TODAY and to ANY business as it did back then.

The 3 principles are:

Empathy: This concerns having an intimate connection with the feelings of the customer. As Markkula wrote “We will truly understand their needs better than any other company.” Who would argue that Apple won out more often than not by getting the product absolutely right, even when technically better and cheaper products existed?

Focus:“In order to do a good job of those things that we decide to do, we must eliminate all of the unimportant opportunities.” Steve Jobs was possibly one of the most focussed, driven men on the planet. His turnaround of Apple when he returned was testament to this trait.

Impute: This emphasised that people form an opinion about a company or product based on the signals that it conveys. As Markkula explained to a youthful Steve Jobs, “People DO judge a book by its cover. We may have the best product, the highest quality, the most useful software etc.; if we present them in a slipshod manner, they will be perceived as slipshod; if we present them in a creative, professional manner, we will impute the desired qualities.”

These 3 became known collectively as “The Apple Marketing Philosophy”. It worked pretty well for Apple so should be well worth considering for your own organisation