Marketing for Apples

Ask the average Joe on the street what the top cell phone is in America and they’re likely to tell you, “the iPhone.” But there are several other phones on the market that can do the same things, and in a some cases, they can actually do more. Why is that?

Marketing…and Apple was a marketing revolutionary.

I didn’t really know why they were such masters at marketing until I began to read the late Steve Jobs’ biography. I came across a fascinating passage (probably not as fascinating to someone who doesn’t live and breath marketing, but bare with me) about a father figure type of person who had a major influence in the early days of Apple.

Mike Markkula took Jobs under his wing in the late 70’s and taught him everything he knew about sales and marketing. He laid out his three main marketing points in a one-page paper titled, “The Apple Marketing Philosophy.” Genius, right?

#1 Empathy – “We will truly understand their needs better than any other company.”

#2 Focus – “In order to do a good job of those things that we decide to do, we must eliminate all of the unimportant opportunities.”

#3 Impute – “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.”

In my opinion, his third point was the most critical to the success of Apple’s marketing belief system.

From Jobs’ famous product launches to the unique packaging used for Apple products, Jobs understood that “everything you do is marketing” long before myself. He understood that in addition to producing high quality products, you had to make every aspect of the new product attractive to the consumer.

Years after meeting Markkula, while working on his recent biography Jobs said, “When you open the box of an iPhone or iPad, we want that tactile experience to set the tone for how you perceive the product,” he said. “Mike taught me that.”

Mike Markkula could teach that to a lot of companies.



1. Products: This is where marketing starts for every company. If you don’t have a quality product that you truly believe in, it’s hard to market that product very well. Jobs always believed that Apple produced the highest quality products on the market, and it comes across in Apple’s marketing campaigns over the years.

2. Message: When you see an Apple commercial on TV, you know it’s an Apple commercial even if you’re in the other room grabbing a snack from the refrigerator. It’s all the same music, with the same voice over and the same basic theme. White background with only a view of the product, showing you what it can do. It’s always the same–clean, with lots of white space and simple text that is presented only a few words at a time. That same theme is used throughout Apple’s website and print materials as well.

3. Events: Steve Jobs and his company understood how to get free publicity. They held regular events for the media to unveil the latest gadgets. They typically built up suspense for days or weeks, likely strategically leaking information out to garner attention in the days leading up to the actual event, only to launch something even bigger and better than those rumors. The events became such a spectacle, that journalists from all over the world descended upon Northern California for the festivities.

4. Online marketing: And while most people couldn’t attend the events, Apple fans around the world were able to logon to and watch Jobs’ presentations online…of course, those fans could also share links to those presentations and photos on their personal Facebook pages, etc. Oh, and order the new gadget while watching the event online as well!

5. Packaging: As Jobs mentioned, the way the Apple products are even packaged helps create an effect on the customer. The first time you open an Apple box, it’s just different. There’s not a lot of extra junk. When you open the lid, the only thing you see is the iPad or iPhone. Everything else is strategically hidden out of sight. Allowing you to focus on your new toy.

6. Strategic Partnerships: When the first iPhone was released, it was a game changer. It was the first phone of it’s kind and revolutionized the cell phone industry. But one of the reasons it took off so quickly was that Apple reached out to companies to develop applications for the phone…yeah, “there’s an app for that.” Those applications are what makes the iPhone so great, but those applications also help other companies reach their own customers. So, Apple produced a phone that helps other businesses make money, and in return, those thousands of businesses inadvertently pushed the iPhone to consumers so that they could push their application. Brilliant.



What else does Apple do well in terms of marketing their products? EMAIL US with your ideas, or comment below! I would love to hear from you!