Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Monday, October 31, 2016

An Apple Video A Day.

Some people who don't like the new Macbook Pros have highlighted this old video. In it, Steve Jobs talks about the dangerous impact the rise of "sales and marketing" can have on product development.

I'll overlook his use of the dreaded "sales and marketing" conflation and agree he makes a good point, but it's not the one that other people think he's making. He's simply reminding us of the pre-eminence of product in the marketing mix.

Now, his disdain for Sculley and Pepsico is clear and the world is indeed full of idiotic brand extensions and even more spurious claims to innovation, but a new bottle size could be just as much an innovation as a new technical specification if it reflects an acknowledgement of a new customer behaviour or need.

And this is what the complainants are missing. The Macbok Pros may not meet their upgrade criteria, but there's an argument to be made that the changes reflect Apple's view of the wider market and the decreasing importance of the laptop segment as more and more buisness functions are run on increasingly sophisticated iPads and iPhones. After all, Marc Benioff was claiming he ran from his phone back in 2014.

So, this is not necessarily proof that bad marketers are in the ascendancy at Apple. Nor are Xiaomi's falling sales proof of what happens when a business is avowedly opposed to promotion. Steve Jobs knew all of this. To infer he was opposed to marketing is to ignore everthing he did.


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