Former Apple Marketing VP Reflects on Steve Jobs and Marketing

Discussion in 'Mac Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    In a new video, former Apple marketing vice president Allison Johnson talked about marketing at Apple and what it was like to work under Steve Jobs. The interview, which took place at the 99U Pop-Up School last September (via Cult of Mac), covers words that were verboten at Apple -- "brand" and "marketing" among them -- as well as anecdotes about Steve Jobs, and some advice on marketing.

    Johnson gave one example from the launch of the iPhone on AT&T in 2007. The carrier had written an email explaining to its internal sales team on how to properly sell the iPhone. Jobs asked to see the email and edited the email so the iPhone would be positioned correctly.

    "He would dive in at a level of detail that most human beings would never consider," Johnson explained. "So, a CEO looking at a sales memo to an internal sales group at AT&T. He cared that much."

    Johnson goes on to explain that Apple's product and marketing teams work closely together from early on in the design process. As a result, the Product Marketing team "understood deeply what was important about the product, what the team's motivations were on the product, what they hoped that product would achieve, what role they wanted it to play in people's lives". Because of this, Apple's marketing was greatly improved and on-target.

    For external marketing and PR agencies that aren't involved as deeply in the development process, Johnson said, it's more difficult for them to position products well.

    After Johnson left Apple, she founded West, a creative agency that works with tech companies like Anki and Jawbone.

    Article Link: Former Apple Marketing VP Reflects on Steve Jobs and Marketing
  2. macrumors 65816

    Jan 7, 2014
    If you watched through, you would have seen Allison talk about Steve Jobs and the problem with the iPhone 4.

    Steve Jobs sobbed because of it... hope everyone that uses that against Apple feels bad. You made a grown - now passed - man cry!
  3. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 20, 2012
    And he made many people cry :)
  4. macrumors regular


    Jan 15, 2008
    Appreciated her candid remarks.

    Be yourself. She was sincere about that.

    Liked her perspective that "marketing" is too often just a "filter word" for selling or pitching something that doesn't offer real value.
  5. macrumors 6502

    Aug 30, 2006
    All these reflections from everyone about Steve Jobs..........
  6. macrumors 6502

    Jun 11, 2012
    When there was negativity in the press about antennagate, I think it was born out of a perceived arrogance on Apple's part. They made a phone with an external antenna, and that could easily be perceived as frivolous or vain. In 2013 in the early days of the iPhone 5, media hatred was high. Even Wozniak said publicly that Apple was arrogant by not increasing screen size more. And there was a lot of talk about a "lack of innovation" at Apple (which I think also had to do with size). The stock price suffered. Recently, it seems opinions of Apple are high again, for a couple reasons- rumors of new products on the way, and because I think most people have come to understand that the iphone as a "whole is greater than the sum of it's parts." In other words, people are finally realizing that android's ecosystem flaws, weight heavily against whatever pricing, or size advantages it has. So the future is looking good for Apple, and their ethos of "product first" etc. has been validated.
  7. macrumors 68030

    Nov 13, 2011
    those wrist things like jawbone have a far lesser computer than the one in my head, why would I use that? why not learn to use the one in my skull?

    surprised by all these revealing internal apple processes interviews since Steve Jobs died. Show everyone what makes apple special, reveal the secret sauce. hmm :confused:
  8. macrumors member

    Aug 19, 2011

    It's always delighting to see German loan words in English articles ;).

    @Topic: It's good to have such a view on marketing. Many, many "marketing experts" focus on their "brand identity" and "brand value" and forget about the product itself.
  9. macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
    I don't feel bad and I was one of the people who he emailed that I was "holding it wrong" (paraphrasing his email). I'm a customer and his response (and subsequent responses back) were condescending if not arrogant.

    Further - if you read Isaacson's bio - you'd know that Steve was a pretty emotional guy and cried often.

    I don't say this to disrespect him. But I also don't feel the need to feel bad or guilty because he was upset when a product his company produced got some bad press. It's business.
  10. SvP
    macrumors 6502


    Mar 31, 2009
    The arrogance :p Your (and mine ofcourse) "computer" is so seriously flawed it can't even effectively identify it's own errors. Just look at all the "bugs", like the Empathy gap or one of the countless others:
  11. macrumors 68030

    Nov 13, 2011
    humans use less than 10% of their brains, with these devices they'll use even less. I trust my instincts thanks, I know when I'm hungry, I know when I'm tired, I know when its cold, when its hot, when its going to rain, I know when I'm fat, when I can see my abs, when I'm weak, when I'm strong, I know when I've ate too much, too little, need a drink etc etc. I don't need no 2penny chip to confirm what I already know. Maybe you do but I don't :)
  12. SvP, Mar 18, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014

    macrumors 6502


    Mar 31, 2009

    I'm not saying you do; i'm saying you grossly overestimate your capabilities, and it's a very common trait.

    Oh, and the 10% thing; it's not true!
  13. macrumors 6502a


    May 9, 2005
    somewhere outside your window...
    Or he was that much of a control freak :rolleyes:
  14. macrumors 68020


    Aug 5, 2004
    Catskill Mountains

    Well there are so many products with practically "no there there" any more, and so with such items, what else to do but rest on the laurels and focus on whatever brand identity and value the thing may have earned in past iterations. Talk about eating the seed corn! That's what they're doing when they put out cost-crunched dross and market it like it's still worth its weight in gold. I'm not thinking of smartphones at the moment, more about certain well known brands of bread, soup and snacks that now use HFCS instead of sugar, and yellow food coloring instead of chicken, and more air instead of enough leavening. Seriously, do they think marketing can fix those fatal flaws? No wonder we see all those buy-one-get-two-free sales at the supermarkets. The shareholders of those products' makers must be dolts.

    Anyway for products like Apple devices that still do offer something of value, I agree that it's very good to have marketing in the loop early on with the product development. As long as they stick to their side of the table and don't start redesigning the thing. That's not their job!!
  15. macrumors 68030

    Feb 17, 2009
    Yes, too much "ANGST" to do the wrong thing.

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