The CMO Survey Award for Marketing Excellence

Each February, survey participants select the companies that set the standard for excellence in marketing across all industries and within their own industry.


Why Apple is a Great Marketer

From The CMO Survey blog, July 13th, 2012, (also seen on

Apple was voted the overall winner of the 2012 CMO Survey Award for Marketing Excellence… yet again. Apple has been selected as the winner or co-winner for five consecutive years by the sample of top marketers. So why is Apple a great marketer?

When Apple, Inc. (then Apple Computer, Inc.) incorporated in January 1977, its investor/advisor, Mike Markkula, assembled a 3-point marketing philosophy. Amazingly, thirty-five years later, this philosophy remains at the core of what makes Apple so effective at creating and profiting from loyal customers. This, in my view, is the definition of a strong marketing capability. Here are Apple’s original three points:

  • Empathy – We will truly understand their [customer] needs better than any other company.
  • Focus – In order to do a good job of the things we decide to do, we must eliminate all of the unimportant opportunities.
  • Impute – People DO judge a book by its cover. We may have the best product, the highest quality, the most useful software, etc.; if we present them in a slipshod manner, they will be perceived as slipshod; if we present them in a creative, professional manner, we will impute the desired qualities.

Apple has used these principles to become the world’s most valuable company (measured by market capitalization) and one of world’s most valuable brands. Here are ten strategies Apple has used to become one of the world’s greatest marketers:

(1) Hire customer-obsessed, empathetic employees. Steve Jobs had unique and effective insights about how people want to interact with technology. Jobs used a quote originally attributed to Henry Ford to describe why these insights were so important: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”—illustrating the problem that customers may be limited to thinking only in terms of what they know, instead of what is possible. So Jobs and colleagues thought about the customer experience more deeply than the customer could. Jobs once said, “One of the keys to Apple is that we build products that really turn us on.” Lucky for customers, this often means products are exactly what they want because Apple employees are so deeply entrenched in and committed to the customer’s experience.

Past Awards
2016 Febuary
2015 Febuary
2014 Febuary