1998 was the year in which Steve Jobs said, "It's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them."
That same year, Jobs also said, “That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
July 28, 1998, is the date on an email that was sent to me from a member of the sales team when I was VP of sales at a major media company.
Subject: Marketing Thoughts.
I didn’t just keep an electronic copy of this email, I actually printed it and put it in a file titled “keepers.” The other day I stumbled upon it. I read it and asked myself, “Why do we make sales and marketing so complicated by analyzing every angle, studying every group, breaking things down by every nuance we can think of? Is it really that difficult or do we make it difficult? What if we just went back to basics? What if we went back to 1998?”
Below are six back-to-basic tips from this 1998 email that have stood the test of time. How we get our information, how we share information, technology, the world -- all have changed. But how we really reach teens, how we connect with their hearts and heads – have the winning moves really changed?
The Six Tips:
1. First create the experience and the emotional value of doing business with YOU and then the specific marketing programs follow. Have you created the experience first, or have you focused on selling the benefits?
2. How is your brand/product different?
3. How are you relevant and why is your brand/product valued?
4. What is the esteem associated with your brand/product? Products and brands are badges. Do people want to wear your badge?
5. You are not selling benefits, you are selling solutions.
6. What you measure is what you get.
Look at all the successful brands and products -- the brands and products that teens love and can’t live without. And that brings me back to Steve Jobs and the tips listed above. Jobs created the experience and emotional value of doing business with Apple, the brand and products are different and relevant, esteem associated with their products is through the roof, Apple sells solutions and what it measures is what the company gets.
It’s all really simple when we stop trying to make it so hard.