Why Mark Markkula’s 3 Marketing Mantras Really Should be 4


If you want to be the best, study the best then imitate what they do and how they do it but first find out why. Without meaning, your research will be wasted.


You may love him or hate him. Whatever you feel,  you cannot deny that Steve Jobs made a major impact in the worlds of technology, film, music and marketing but you may not know that the  man who penned the Apple 3 marketing mantras was someone else altogether. It was Mike Markkula who was the first big investor and chairman of Apple Computer Co. He was also a kind of father figure for Jobs.


Here are his three marketing mantras…


#1.  Empathy –We will truly understand the needs of our customers better than any other company
#2. Focus –In order to do a good job of the things that we decide to do, we must eliminate all of the unimportant opportunities
#3. Impute –People really DO judge a book by its cover. You may have the best product, of the highest quality or the most useful software but if you present it in a slipshod way,  your prospects will perceived it as slipshod; But if you present it in a creative professional manner, you will IMPUTE its desired qualities.


So what does this mean to you?


Knowing your customers’ feelings, their needs and their attitudes better than any one of your competitors allows you to engage them more strongly and just as importantly, encourages them to identify with you. They will see you as a friend because you are able to express the same emotions as they feel. Whether that be about the big game or a particular product or service does not matter. What matters is that you are voicing their opinions – talking their language – and identifying with their vision of themselves.

Steve Jobs


People buy products because they see them as an extension of who they are


If you are in a position to eliminate unimportant opportunities, it means that you have a vision. You know WHY you are in business. You have a purpose. You have identified a common enemy – One that  your prospects feel strongly about – that puts you right beside them facing him. You stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them. You are part of the community which you serve. And you are their leader. Their trusted adviser. The one that they turn to synthesize the meaning and the impact that changes in your world will bring. The one with the strategy that will make the most money out of the opportunity that is on offer


A strategy is not a plan. A plan is linear. A strategy is fluid. It allows you to vary your tactics to handle the challenges you face on the ground as they happen. Making sure the people in your small business understand your strategy and really ‘get’ it empowers them to take their own decisions without your input. They can select the opportunities that will get everyone closer to your goal and reject the ones that won’t. It gives them focus


And the missing mantra?  That elusive 4th principle…


Mobile MarketingJobs was a stickler for how his products looked. Not just on the outside but on the inside too. He knew that Apple outlets had to reflect this same elegant and simple design philosophy. The glass and steel shops or should I say shrines that Apple builds, put their products in the right context.


So Context is #4 – Put your products in the context of larger developments in society


It is just as important in your product launch marketing as it is in Apple’s.


You want to prime your market. Prepare your community for the pre-launch to come with an ignition sequence built round your blog and your social media platforms. Here are three key drivers of context

  1. Technological Developments
  2. Social Trends
  3. Economic Reality

Social Bling

Explain how these three drivers are impacting their lives or their businesses for the worse or will do so and they will understand why your product is relevant now more than ever. Show them how it will hurt their vision – and yours – if they ignore these trends then provide the answer that, by now, they are excited to know more about. Use social media marketing to do it





They are ready for your pre-launch sequence.


Take these three marketing mantras as penned by Mike Markkula and put them to work in your business and more particularly in your next product launch. They served Steve Jobs and Apple well in theirs. And they will do the same for you too…


Have you read “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson? What was the one other big takeaway for you and why?  Leave a comment below and tell us what you think…



Share the love...

Rory Ramsden