According to Kyle Russell in a recent Entrepreneur article the two words that Steve Jobs hated most were “marketing” and “branding”. Jobs reckoned that people too readily “associated branding with advertising and commercials and artificial things”. He felt that people’s relationship with the product was much more important.
He considered that educating the customer was of greater importance than marketing, which he felt meant that the product had to be “sold” or pushed because it wasn’t relevant enough. Interestingly, Jobs treated marketing and sales launches as opportunities to educate the public. After all, he couldn’t “sell” something to people if they didn’t have a clue what it was or how it could transform their lives (and society). This is also why he located the marketing team work stations right next to the product development and engineering teams.
There are so many lessons here for destination and place marketers. Your marketing department is really in the information and education business. It must also be closely integrated into the reality of the place with tight relationships with key experience providers, urban planners, and leaders. Too many DMOs see themselves in the sales business rather than an entity that is intimately involved in not just communications, but also destination management and the delivery of experiences linked to their brand.
As usual, Jobs was well ahead of the game because one of the strongest lessons we are learning from the digital age is how transparency and immediacy are making the fulfillment of our brand promise job #1. We are also learning that detailed information, content management and relevancy have to be the driving principles in destination marketing and branding. Delivering outstanding experiences is more important than ever and there can be no gap between expectations and the reality of the place. A bad experience will spread like wildfire and quickly impact the brand.
Book Cover: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson