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The Steve Jobs Way to Marketing Integration – By Bryan Eisenberg (@thegrok)

29 November 2011 BY

I am very proud that honored that Bryan Eisenberg agreed to do a guest post in our special integration series. Bryan is probably one of the smartest and knowledge people I know and at the same time a very nice guy. Bryan is speaking this week at the Conversion Conference in London as well as at Fusionmex this Friday. He decided to look at another great mind to give us an example of how we should look at marketing integration: Steve Jobs.

Do you currently own an Apple product? Better yet – more than one Apple product? That seems to be increasingly common. Have you ever experienced being in an Apple store? There is a reason that they sell up to 10x more per square foot than any other similar retailer. Even their online presence is demonstrating their dominance; they are now the number 2 most visited online retailer in the UK right after Amazon. The secret is an end to end seamless customer experience and equally tight marketing integration. Apple and a tiny handful of market leaders set the standard for your customers’ expectations. The question is – will you live up to it?

Ron Johnson who built Apple’s retail strategy said retailers should be asking, “How do we reinvent the store to enrich our customers’ lives?” Ask yourself: how will you reinvent your business to enrich your customers’ lives? If you find yourself or anybody at your company giggling then you have a propblem.

Customers See One Brand. So Multiple Silos for You = #Fail

Customers expect a seamless integration among your channels and departments. They don’t care how you are organized or who gets credit for a sale, really. The organizational monstrosity that is part of the we-work-in-silos-but-pretend-to-cooperate mentality is what produces poor and disconnected experiences for customers. For digital marketing efforts to maintain consistency across all channels, traffic generation needs to be intimately connected to your website and if appropriate your offline experience – after all those are the experiences promised. Never forget that your website is the glue that binds all your channels together. At Apple, there is only one P&L. One bottom line. Every one works together to bring value to the company regardless of what silo they technically belong to.

Stay Lean & Agile

For a large company, Apple runs very much like a startup. Great startups have small teams that can execute rapidly, shift priorities when needed and are willing to experiment and take intelligent risk. When working at a startup, you don’t own just one part of the application: you have to be able to work on whatever needs your attention that day.

Apple is completely run by its engineers not a bunch of professional managers that add layers of bureaucracy. They work in small integrated teams that focus on building great products and experiences together. Each adding value from their skills and point of view. So how are your teams setup?

Tweak, Tweak and Tweak Some More

In Apple’s company headquarters there is a secret lab with prototype after prototype of future customer bliss. Some will make it to market, some won’t. They iterate just until they get it right. This not only applies to product development but even to how they built their retail stores.

“One of the best pieces of advice Mickey ever gave us was to go rent a warehouse and build a prototype of a store, and not, you know, just design it, go build 20 of them, then discover it didn’t work,” says Jobs. In other words, design it as you would a product. Apple Store Version 0.0 took shape in a warehouse near the Apple campus. “Ron and I had a store all designed,” says Jobs, when they were stopped by an insight: The computer was evolving from a simple productivity tool to a “hub” for video, photography, music, information, and so forth. The sale, then, was less about the machine than what you could do with it. But looking at their store, they winced. The hardware was laid out by product category – in other words, by how the company was organized internally, not by how a customer might actually want to buy things. “We were like, ‘Oh, God, we’re screwed!’” says Jobs. But they weren’t screwed; they were in a mockup. “So we redesigned it,” he says. “And it cost us, I don’t know, six, nine months. But it was the right decision by a million miles.” When the first store finally opened, in Tysons Corner, Va., only a quarter of it was about product. The rest was arranged around interests: along the right wall, photos, videos, kids; on the left, problems. A third area – the Genius Bar in the back – was Johnson’s brainstorm.

Integrated marketing take more planning and coordination than the half-hazard, schizophrenic marketing we see from so many other companies. To succeed you need to prototype, evaluate for response, tweak and then tweak again before you repeat the cycle. In other words, Always be Testing!

About Bryan Eisenberg

Bryan Eisenberg is one of the leading experts when it comes to online marketing and conversion in particular. Bryan is a professional speaker who we see a lot in the industry. He is also the co-author of the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, USA Today and New York Times bestselling books “Call to Action”, “Waiting For Your Cat to Bark?” and “Always Be Testing”.

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This post was written by an author who is not a regular contributor to State of Digital. See all the other regular State of Digital authors here. Opinions expressed in the article are those of the contributor and not necessarily those of State of Digital.