Most organizations that find themselves on the move, growing, and in the news, reporting, leverage tried and true strategic marketing practices. One of my more favorite case studies is Apple, Inc. For years they have focused on having “cool” and “insanely great products” to offer its customers with every new product launch. Apple’s campaigns are arguably some of the most successful strategic marketing programs of the past 20 years. How did they do it?

First and foremost, they had insanely great products, which I believe in turn allowed them to discover insanely great ways to market themselves. In addition, they have a long list of firsts to their credit. Here are some of the more notables:

  • First to really make the computer ‘mouse’ a must have in the computing industry.
  • First to put music into the hands, and pockets, of people of all ages around the world, called iPod.
  • First to use an easy-to-use graphical user interface in its computers.
  • First to package music, videos, podcasts, movies, books and a host of other digital content in a web interface, called iTunes.
  • First to make mobile phones cool and user-friendly, called iPhone.
  • First to make tablets the next ‘must have’ product before anyone realized their true value, called iPad.
  • First to make product announcements cool by Steve Jobs, of course, who developed Apple’s own software to put them on, called Keynote.

So what can we learn from these firsts and product launches?

1. Create marketing as a team effort. Don’t fly solo. The old adage “two heads are better then one” certainly applies to marketing development work. Strong companies with strong marketing campaigns understand that in order to create truly great marketing everyone in the organization should be encouraged to participate both in its development and expression.

2. Test out your marketing ideas throughout your organization first, and then test your ideas with trusted external users and customers, before launching to your total market influence.

3.  Formalize a project runway that outlines the essential steps your organization will take throughout the launch. Key elements to include are the identification of key needs that produce the highest interest among your target market; setting specific marketing goals; and establishing benchmarks for the beginning, middle and ending phases of your campaign.

In summary: To lead you must be willing to take some risks and rebrand your efforts with some new ideas that may have never been done before. These simple steps can easily and effectively move your strategy out of the theoretical stage into action.