Steve Jobs' Marketing Strategy - You Can Use It For Your Business

For your marketing message to be successful and to build a powerful brand, you need to communicate values in your marketing, not just product features or benefits. When you do this you have to be very clear and have a single message. This is the view Steve Jobs had on marketing and advertising. Everyone knows Steve Jobs was the entrepreneur, inventor, and brains behind the rise of Apple, which poised Apple to become one of the most valuable brands and most successful companies in the world. A large part of Apple's success is due to its marketing. Apple as of today (2016) is the 9th largest company in the world measured by revenue at $234 Billion dollars in revenue. Needless to say, Apple's marketing has been successful. In this blog, we review one of his most famous talks on marketing and comment on it.

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Executive Summary - Steve Jobs Marketing

- Marketing is about values and it is important to be very clear what your company is about because of the noise and distraction in the market.

- Every brand needs focus to retain relevancy.

- The way to get people's attention with marketing is not to talk about features or what a product does, it is to convey feeling and communicate what your company is and what your company is about.

- Your advertising should communicate the core values of the company and what it is about, what it stands for.

- When you do marketing, you need to have and focus on a single message.

- Your marketing message should be something people aspire to be and are attracted to (for Apple they wanted to show people who use Apple products are trailblazers, leaders, and geniuses, and who does not want to be these three things?).


steve jobs marketing

Our Thoughts On Steve's Presentation 

If you have not done so yet watch his presentation (the video at the top of this article) before reading this section.

Agree - successful marketing needs to have a single message. 

Agree - successful marketing creates feelings/emotions

I definitely agree that the key to successful marketing is to have a single message, creating feelings/emotions and conveying values. As Steve says, with all the noise of all other advertising you need a single message and to ensure your message gets across. The point that Steve does not mention is that you need to ensure you repeat this message over and over to your prospective customers. I think this is one key point Steve probably knows but did not make clear enough in his talk. For example, for our company we need to repeat over and over that we are a company that provides marketing services specializing in marketing plans, website conversion optimization, and SEO services, and that we work with business owners who want to be leaders in their industries. 

Missing - Steve neglects to cover the importance of repetition for marketing to be successful.

Disagree - the apple 1984 ad was the best ad of the year.

The one thing I don't agree with is that the ad in 1984 was the best ad of the year. I think that ad was only an average ad. I don't think that ad really had a strong impact on their business. And I think the data would show that. In 1985, the year after the ad, revenue grew by only 27% over 1984. Yet in 1984, revenue grew by 54% and in 1983, revenue grew by an even higher amount of 74%.

Now the ad he reveals in the presentation is a different story. That was the start of a change in their marketing message which took time to build, but drove the future sales increases during the 2000s which grew Apple into the huge company they are today. See the track record of revenue growth by year at

I think Steve does a great job in his presentation of implementing what he is preaching even in the presentation he delivers itself. It is focused on a single message, it is emotionally charged, and it conveys what he believes and is all about. 


The Apple Ad From 1984 That Steve Jobs Spear Headed

The Ad Won Best Ad Of The Year in 1984

For more information on this ad go to


Our Thoughts On The Commerical

One thing I love about the commercial is that it shows people who everyone would recognize. The only thing I would do differently is try to pick people that even more people look up to. Some of the dancers or people shown I did not look up to or even know. Nike, who he mentions does a great job of this, only uses the best athletes in their sport (Lebron James, Tiger Woods, etc). 

Another thing I think is smart about the commercial is that it calls out the misfits (those feeling down or out of place) and shows them how they are the same as some great people. This is very smart as everyone at times feels like a misfit and everyone wants to be great. 

The final thing I think is smart about the ad is that it conveys that people who are the rebels, the rule breakers, the trailblazers, are the people that change the world. This is smart as all people want their life to have meaning and want to make an impact on the world. By saying people that are like this use Apple, it makes people think that if they are someone who wants to change the world they need to use Apple products. 

The idea of having this message associated with Apple's brand and the image of superiority is what I think made Apple so successful. I feel Apple has now lost that image and since it has lost it we are starting to see the decline of Apple. 


got milk? Campaign

got milk marketing strategy

For more information on this campaign go here


Nike Marketing

For more information on this ad go to


Transcript Of The Presentation

To me….marketing is about values. This is a very complicated world. It’s a very noisy world. And we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us. No company is! And so, we have to be really clear on what we want them to know about us.

Now Apple, fortunately, is one of half-a-dozen best brands in the whole world. Right up there with Nike, Disney, Coke, Sony — it is one of the greats of the greats. Not just in this country, but all around the globe.

But even a great brand needs investment and caring if it’s going to retain its relevance and vitality. And the Apple brand has clearly suffered from neglect in this area in the last few years. And we need to bring it back!

The way to do that is NOT to talk about speeds and fees. It’s NOT to talk about bits and mega-hertz. It’s NOT to talk about why we are better than Windows.

The dairy industry tried for 20 years to convince you that milk was good for you. It’s a lie, but they tried anyway. And the sales were falling. And then they tried “Got milk” and the sales went up. “Got milk” wasn’t even talking about the product. In fact, it focuses on the absence of the product.

But the best example of all, and one of the greatest jobs of marketing that the universe has ever seen, is Nike. Remember, 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 tell you about their air soles and why they are better than Reebok’s air soles.

What does Nike do in their advertising? They honor great athletes. And they honor great athletics. That’s who they are, that’s what they are about!

Apple spends a fortune on advertising — you’d never know it….you’d never know it!
So…when I got here, Apple just fired their agency and there was a competition with 23 agencies that…you know…four years from now we would pick one. And we blew that up and we hired Chiat\Day, the ad agency that I was fortunate enough to work with years ago and created some award-winning work including the commercial voted the best ad ever made, 1984 (by Advertising Professionals).

And…we started working about eight weeks ago, and the question we asked was, “Our customers want to know who is Apple and what is it that we stand for…where do we fit in this world?”

And what we’re about isn’t making boxes for people to get their jobs done — although we do that well. We do that better than almost anybody, in some cases.

But Apple is about something more than that! Apple at the core…its core value — is that, we believe that people with passion can change the world for the better. That’s what we believe!

And we have had the opportunity to work with people like that. We’ve had the opportunity to work with people like you; with software developers, with customers, who have done it. In some big, and some small ways.

And we believe that, in this world, people can change it for the better. And that those people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones that actually do!

And so, what we’re going to do in our first brand marketing campaign in several years, is to get back to that core value!

A lot of things have changed. The market is in a total different place than where it was a decade ago. And Apple is totally different — and Apple’s place in it is totally different. And believe me, the products, and the distribution strategy, and the manufacturing are totally different…and we understand that.

But values and core values — those things shouldn’t change. The things that Apple believed in at its core, are the same things Apple really stands for today.

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