The Marketing Lessons in Apple’s Steve Jobs’s Principles for Breakthrough Success

Steve Jobs could be called the poster boy for corporate innovation.  His “7 Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success” outlined in Carmine Gallo’s book, Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs are not only inspiring to CEOs, but to marketers as well.

  1. Do What You Love – For Steve Jobs, it all starts with passion.  If you aren’t passionate about marketing, you won’t be successful.  The same applies to marketing initiatives.  If they don’t recognize a point of passion for the target, they won’t be particularly successful either.
  2. Put a Dent in the Universe – The simple question, “How does this product/service put a dent in the universe?” is a great litmus test for any positioning statement or advertising promise.  By honestly answering that question, you can identify what will motivate a prospect to both notice your brand and commit to it.
  3. Kick-Start Your Brain – Inspire yourself with art, movies, books, music, and anything else that moves you.  Great ideas come from the most unexpected places at the most unexpected times.
  4. Sell Dreams, Not Products – It is easy to get caught up in the facts, figures, and rational reasons why a target audience should buy a product.   Yet emotion is a more powerful motivator.  Push to make your prospect laugh, cry, empathize, or breathe a sigh of relief, and your message will resonate far more deeply.
  5. Say No to 1,000 Things – The brainstorming mantra is that there are no bad ideas.  While this may be true, the sign of a smart marketer is the one who can say no to the mediocre while recognizing the unpolished potential of an idea that is nothing more than Sharpie strokes on paper.
  6. Create Insanely Great Experiences – Great marketing creates great experiences.  While it was once enough to air your TV spot in prime time, today’s experiences are more multi-dimensional.   Guerilla marketing can inspire real-time involvement, crowdsourcing can generate active participation, and even a simple like can cultivate a future brand ambassador.
  7. Master the Message – Today’s fragmented marketplace demands that brands have a consistent point of view that can be appropriately applied to everything from 140-character tweets to captivating video vignettes to effective customer service experiences.   If your brand voice isn’t consistent, it will be noticed and shared – widely.

For more marketing inspiration from Steve Jobs, check out my prior post Engagement the Steve Jobs Way.

– Pam Alvord, EVP Managing Director of Strategy and Operations


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Being driven means constantly moving forward, evolving and embracing the future. In that spirit, Kilgannon merged with Dalton Agency, headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., in February 2012. The merger brought together the talents and energies of two exceptional shops and about 100 employees. Kilgannon is now known as Dalton Atlanta, and complements Dalton’s existing offices in Jacksonville, Orlando, Fla., Savannah, Ga., Tampa, Fla. and Columbia, S.C.
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