I’ve only recently realized this about Steve Jobs: He was the best salesman of my generation, and probably of the past hundred years.
Steve had a way of making you believe it wasn’t about products. It was something that served a higher purpose, or perhaps more importantly, YOUR higher purpose. A far loftier goal than most brands are even able to consider, much less wrap a marketing plan around.
This video was made in 1997, when Jobs had only recently returned to Apple. And this is just an excerpt. He advises us to ignore product features. To move beyond claims of being better. Instead, he wants us to communicate something more meaningful to the customer. Something to aspire to. Something for the long term.
It’s very good advice. It’s not often heeded. Because as marketers, we tend to get dragged down into the trenches of who has better product features. Fast forward to 2016. Here’s what can happen when you get in a product benefits shoot-out. First comes the claim, and then the competitive response. The result: the customer’s is confused, a big chunk of money has been spent and nobody wins.
So is there a place for product features? Of course there is. On your website. In collateral materials. Point of sale. On packaging. But make sure you have at least some advertising that reaches higher.
Jobs also said that brands ‘don’t get the chance for people to remember much about them‘. So you have to communicate something simple, and of course, easy to remember. But first, you have to move people. Because if you don’t, they will simply move on. If you want to watch the entire video, you can find it here.