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
112 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
112 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
112 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
112 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
112 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)

Popular Stories

ipad pro m1 feature

Gurman: Apple Event This October Remains Unlikely, No Touch ID for iPhone 15

Sunday October 2, 2022 6:41 am PDT by
Apple is developing new iPad Pro, Mac, and Apple TV models, and at least some of these products will be released in October, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. However, Gurman continues to believe that Apple is unlikely to hold an event this month. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman said "the big iPhone 14 unveiling last month was probably it for Apple in 2022 in...
maxresdefault

Apple Responds to Video Testing Crash Detection Feature With Junkyard Vehicles

Friday September 30, 2022 9:11 am PDT by
The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern recently traveled to Michigan to test Apple's new crash detection feature on the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Ultra. In response, Apple provided some additional information about how the feature works. Stern recruited Michael Barabe to crash his demolition derby car with a heavy-duty steel frame into two unoccupied vehicles parked in a junkyard — a 2003...
Hero0005

Best Apple Deals of the Week: M2 MacBook Air Hits New All-Time Low Price at $1,049, Plus Sales on AirPods Pro and More

Friday September 30, 2022 9:05 am PDT by
This week's best Apple deals focus on the AirPods Pro, AirPods Pro 2, and M2 MacBook Air, including numerous all-time low prices on these devices. You'll also find up to 50 percent off discounts on Anker and Eufy accessories on Amazon. 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...
Apple SIM Card

Apple SIM No Longer Available for Activating New Cellular Data Plans on iPads

Sunday October 2, 2022 8:04 am PDT by
As of October 1, Apple SIM is no longer available for activating new cellular data plans on supported iPad models, according to an Apple support document. Introduced in 2014, the Apple SIM was designed to allow iPad users to activate cellular data plans from multiple carriers around the world. Initially, the Apple SIM was a physical nano-SIM card, but it was embedded inside later iPad Pro...
iphone 14 pro max vs 13 max 2

Camera Comparison: iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:44 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max introduce some major improvements in camera technology, adding a 48-megapixel lens and low-light improvements across all lenses with the new Photonic Engine. We've spent the last week working on an in-depth comparison that pits the new iPhone 14 Pro Max against the prior-generation iPhone 13 Pro Max to see just how much better the iPhone 14 Pro Max can be. Subscrib ...
iOS 16 Wallpaper Spectrum Feature

Five Wallpaper Apps to Check Out for iOS 16's New Lock Screen Depth Effect

Thursday September 29, 2022 9:08 am PDT by
One of the biggest new features in iOS 16 is a completely redesigned iPhone Lock Screen. The new Lock Screen is entirely customizable, letting you change the colors and fonts, add widgets and new wallpapers, and more to make your iPhone uniquely yours. Of course, even before iOS 16, you could customize your Lock Screen with a wallpaper of your choice. iOS 16 takes the Lock Screen wallpaper...
top stories 1oct2022

Top Stories: Stage Manager Expands to Older iPad Pro Models, No October Apple Event?

Saturday October 1, 2022 6:00 am PDT by
While we had been expecting a follow-up October Apple event focused on Mac and iPad announcements, it sounds like we might not be getting another event after all. Instead, the pending updates in those product segments could be considered minor enough that they may be announced via press releases. It wasn't all bad news, however, with Apple announcing that it will be expanding an on-device...
iOS 16

Apple Preparing iOS 16.0.3 With More Bug Fixes Following iPhone 14 Launch

Monday October 3, 2022 7:53 am PDT by
iOS 16.0.2 was released last month with several bug fixes for iPhone 14 issues, excessive copy and paste permission prompts, and more. Now, evidence suggests that Apple is planning to release iOS 16.0.3 with additional bug fixes. Evidence of an upcoming iOS 16.0.3 software update has shown up in MacRumors analytics logs, which have been a reliable indicator in the past. There are several...
dynamic island alan dye

Apple Executives Talk About iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island in New Interview

Sunday October 2, 2022 10:48 am PDT by
In a new interview, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi, and Apple's vice president of human interface design, Alan Dye, sat down to discuss the thinking behind the iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island and how it was developed. During the interview with the Japanese magazine Axis, Federighi, who oversees the development of iOS, said Dynamic Island represents the...