This is the marketing philosophy that Steve Jobs learned from Mike Markkula in the early days of Apple, as summarized in Isaacson’s biography Steve Jobs. It clearly continued to guide Jobs’ thinking through his entire career and very much goes to the core of what sets Apple apart.
First of all, though, a point on business in general: “You should never start a company with the goal of getting rich. Your goal should be making something you believe in and making a company that will last.”
That is foundational to the next three points, because if you are only doing your business to make money, then it will be impossible to have the genuine passion for meeting customer needs that is essential for creating a long-lasting, effective company that people actually like. The foundation of effective marketing is one thing: to care.
Now, the three points on marketing.
- Empathy. Have an intimate connection with the feelings of the customer. “We will truly understand their needs better than any other company.”
- Focus. “In order to do a good job of those things that we decide to do, we must eliminate all of the unimportant opportunities.”
- Impute. “People form an opinion about a company or product based on the signals that it conveys.” Thus, “if we present [our products] 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.” Hence, even the experience of opening the box is intended to “set the tone for how you perceive the product.”