“Great companies start because the founders want to change the world... not make a fast buck.”
Former Apple chief evangelist, author and Silicon Valley venture capitalist, there’s no one better than Guy Kawasaki when it comes to offering tips about marketing to entrepreneurs and companies. Although Guy has written about marketing at depth in his bestsellers ‘Database 101’ (1991) and ‘The Art of Social Media’ (2014), he also holds many interactive sessions with young, enthusiastic entrepreneurs, offering them simple and quirky advice on how to expand their businesses by endorsing basic marketing tips.
Guy declares that his greatest role model when it came to dominating the world of business was the one and only Steve Jobs, who he worked for way back in the ‘80s. Although he worked for four whole years with Jobs, from whom he picked up the unique traits of business and marketing, he left Apple when he realised the need to start something of his own.
“What got me to leave is basically I started listening to my own hype, and I wanted to start a software company and really make big bucks,” he once said. Guy has always publicly emphasised and maintained the need to “empower people” over just doing what’s necessary to earn a seven-digit paycheck. The trick is, he says, is to start with one so that you can earn the other – capitalising on the best of the two!
On his 62nd Birthday, we list a few of Guy’s stellar marketing tips, which helped him reach the top of the business ladder – a position he occupies confidently even today.
According to Guy, good marketing is always about creating unique value in your product. If your company creates a product that is valuable but not unique, you will end up facing stiff competition from the dozens of other companies that endorse the same value in their products, some which may even have better price deals than you. However, if your product offers a unique value in its entirety, then you can shift your focus away from facing the competition to maximising on your profit margins, instead.
Citing the example of Steve Jobs and how Jobs would spend many hours perfecting his presentations, Guy says that no amount of strenuous practice can be ‘too much’. In the case of presentations, you need to keep at it to ensure you successfully pitch your product or service and run through its launch and execution perfectly. To this end, it is imperative to go through several trial runs before turning towards the final draft of the plan.
Guy says that one of the most important tricks of successful marketing is to create a specific mantra for your brand. For instance, he says Wendy’s has ‘Healthy fast food’, Fed Ex has ‘Peace of mind’ and Nike has ‘Authentic athletic performance’. In this sense, you should find a mantra that denotes your brand’s intent and make it short, snappy and attractive, something that sounds good to the customers and makes them double-take for a second look.
To Guy, every little thing matters – from your proposals and the font you use in your presentations to your business cards. He says that it is very easy to overlook the simple things and pass them off as ‘minor glitches’, but people notice – be it your clients or your customers. To this end, he says that it is important to use fonts and designs that are easy for your customers to understand and appreciate.
Guy stresses on the importance of jumping to the next curb of your business, which basically means ensuring that your business is evolving. If it isn’t, then chances are that you may fall behind competition and recede into the background. He says it is important to plan ahead and to focus on what your business is going to be tomorrow instead of what it is today. The evolution should be based on providing changes that will lead to favourable outcomes to the customer, and this the greatest determining factor.
Adding to this, Guy speaks about the necessity to use social media as a foremost tool to market your business. Personally, he considers Facebook to be more ‘active’ and Twitter to be more ‘reactive’. Thus, he says, it is important to use these and other forums such as Pinterest and Instagram to help promote and market your product, brand and company effectively and to garner the response you are looking for. Finally, he adds – it’s okay to be “crappy”. The fall will only bring you back to your feet and face the world again, this time for the win.