In a new video, former Apple marketing vice president Allison Johnson talked about marketing at Apple and what it was like to work under Steve Jobs. The interview, which took place at the 99U Pop-Up School last September (via Cult of Mac), covers words that were verboten at Apple -- "brand" and "marketing" among them -- as well as anecdotes about Steve Jobs, and some advice on marketing.

Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 3.22.00 PM
Johnson gave one example from the launch of the iPhone on AT&T in 2007. The carrier had written an email explaining to its internal sales team on how to properly sell the iPhone. Jobs asked to see the email and edited the email so the iPhone would be positioned correctly.

"He would dive in at a level of detail that most human beings would never consider," Johnson explained. "So, a CEO looking at a sales memo to an internal sales group at AT&T. He cared that much."


Johnson goes on to explain that Apple's product and marketing teams work closely together from early on in the design process. As a result, the Product Marketing team "understood deeply what was important about the product, what the team's motivations were on the product, what they hoped that product would achieve, what role they wanted it to play in people's lives". Because of this, Apple's marketing was greatly improved and on-target.

For external marketing and PR agencies that aren't involved as deeply in the development process, Johnson said, it's more difficult for them to position products well.

After Johnson left Apple, she founded West, a creative agency that works with tech companies like Anki and Jawbone.

Top Rated Comments

osaga Avatar
96 months ago
When there was negativity in the press about antennagate, I think it was born out of a perceived arrogance on Apple's part. They made a phone with an external antenna, and that could easily be perceived as frivolous or vain. In 2013 in the early days of the iPhone 5, media hatred was high. Even Wozniak said publicly that Apple was arrogant by not increasing screen size more. And there was a lot of talk about a "lack of innovation" at Apple (which I think also had to do with size). The stock price suffered. Recently, it seems opinions of Apple are high again, for a couple reasons- rumors of new products on the way, and because I think most people have come to understand that the iphone as a "whole is greater than the sum of it's parts." In other words, people are finally realizing that android's ecosystem flaws, weight heavily against whatever pricing, or size advantages it has. So the future is looking good for Apple, and their ethos of "product first" etc. has been validated.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sailmac Avatar
96 months ago
Appreciated her candid remarks.

Be yourself. She was sincere about that.

Liked her perspective that "marketing" is too often just a "filter word" for selling or pitching something that doesn't offer real value.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
afsnyder Avatar
96 months ago
If you watched through, you would have seen Allison talk about Steve Jobs and the problem with the iPhone 4.

Steve Jobs sobbed because of it... hope everyone that uses that against Apple feels bad. You made a grown - now passed - man cry!
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SvP Avatar
96 months ago
humans use less than 10% of their brains, with these devices they'll use even less. I trust my instincts thanks, I know when I'm hungry, I know when I'm tired, I know when its cold, when its hot, when its going to rain, I know when I'm fat, I know when I've ate too much, too little, need a drink etc etc. I don't need no 2penny chip to confirm what I already know. Maybe you do but I don't :)
I'm not saying you do; i'm saying you grossly overestimate your capabilities, and it's a very common trait.

Oh, and the 10% thing; it's not true! (http://www.snopes.com/science/stats/10percent.asp)
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Dulcimer Avatar
96 months ago
If you watched through, you would have seen Allison talk about Steve Jobs and the problem with the iPhone 4.

Steve Jobs sobbed because of it... hope everyone that uses that against Apple feels bad. You made a grown - now passed - man cry!

And he made many people cry :)
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Pro Display XDR Yella

Apple Working on External Display With Built-In A13 Chip

Friday July 23, 2021 9:37 am PDT by
Apple is developing an external display that includes an A13 chip with Neural Engine, according to a new rumor from 9to5Mac. The A13 chip with Neural Engine would presumably serve as an eGPU, though details are light at this time. Having a CPU/GPU built into the external display could help Macs deliver high-resolution graphics without using all the resources of the computer's internal chip....
iOS 14 on iPhone feature emergency

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1 With Fix for Touch ID Apple Watch Bug

Monday July 26, 2021 9:48 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1, minor bug fix updates that come just a week after the release of iOS 14.7, software that introduced new Apple Card features and support for the MagSafe Battery Pack. The iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to...
discount m1 macbook yellow

Deals: Shop Record Low Prices Across Apple's Full MacBook Pro and MacBook Air Lineup (Up to $499 Off)

Friday July 23, 2021 8:23 am PDT by
Apple's MacBook Pro and MacBook Air lineup is seeing all-time low discounts across the board today, including the 2019 16-inch MacBook Pro, 2020 13-inch MacBook Air, and 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. 13-Inch M1...
iphone 12 pro gold

Report: iPhone 14 Pro Models to Feature Tough Titanium Alloy Chassis

Monday July 26, 2021 1:12 am PDT by
Next year's "iPhone 14" series is expected to feature high-end models with a new titanium alloy chassis design, claims a new investors report by JP Morgan Chase. According to the report, the use of titanium alloy will be one of the biggest changes to the case design in the 2022 iPhone series, and Foxconn will be the exclusive manufacturer of the titanium frames for the high-end models....
FaceID iMac REREREREMIX

Gurman: Face ID on the Mac Coming Within a 'Couple of Years'

Sunday July 25, 2021 7:09 am PDT by
Apple plans to bring Face ID to the Mac within the next "couple of years," respected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman said today in the latest edition of his Power On newsletter. In the newsletter, Gurman says that he believes Apple's ultimate goal is to shift all of its products to Face ID, including the lower-end iPhones such as the iPhone SE and the iPad Air, which feature Touch ID....
airpods 3 gizmochina Feature

AirPods 3 Rumored to Launch Alongside iPhone 13 at Expected September Event

Friday July 23, 2021 12:54 am PDT by
The third-generation AirPods will likely launch at the same event revealing Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 lineup, according to a report from DigiTimes, which makes the claim citing sources familiar with the matter. The report as a whole echoes previous reporting that production of the third-generation AirPods will kickstart in August, meaning a launch shortly after can be easily expected. DigiTi...
imac with accessories

Larger Redesigned High-End iMac Rumored to Launch Next Year

Monday July 26, 2021 3:45 am PDT by
Apple's larger redesigned iMac will arrive sometime in 2022 rather than later this year, according to the leaker known as "Dylandkt." On Twitter, Dylandkt claimed that Apple's "high end iMac" is not expected to release in the fourth quarter of 2021 alongside Apple's "M1X Macs" – a reference to Apple's redesigned MacBook Pro models – because "Apple simply does not want their devices to...
apple bitcoin hack

Is Apple Really Buying Bitcoin?

Monday July 26, 2021 3:07 am PDT by
A large number of websites and posts on social media are stoking rumors that Apple has purchased $2.5 billion worth of bitcoin in the company's first move into cryptocurrency, but is there any validity to the claims? Many people are citing the fact that Apple was looking for a Business Development Manager with experience in alternative payments, including cryptocurrency, earlier this year as ...
apple mac business page

Apple Shares 11 Reasons Why Business Users Should Choose Macs

Monday July 26, 2021 11:35 am PDT by
Apple today updated its Apple at Work website with a new section dedicated to the Mac, which offers up 11 reasons why "Mac means business." On the webpage, Apple highlights the M1 chip as the number one reason why business users should choose a Mac, offering up an M1 overview [PDF] that explains the benefits of the M1 chip. The information isn't new, but it does provide a look at all of...
magsafe battery pack iphone 12 mini

Top Stories: Hands-On With MagSafe Battery Pack, iPhone 13 Always-On Display?

Saturday July 24, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
Apple's new MagSafe Battery Pack is now available, and we went hands-on this week for some early impressions of the new accessory to get more battery life out of Apple's iPhone 12 lineup. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. This week also saw a number of rumors about the upcoming redesigned MacBook Pro models, the iPhone 13 lineup, the next-generation iPad mini, a new...