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Small Business Heroes

Former Apple and Pepsi CEO John Sculley: Great Marketers Do This

Guest Writer
6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

John Sculley, former CEO of Apple and Pepsi, is the creative mind behind two of the most well-known advertisements in the past fifty years, namely the Pepsi Challenge and Apple's groundbreaking 1984 Super Bowl Macintosh commercial.

Sculley has been closely following the ways social media has shaped the marketing industry by allowing customers to communicate with one another and share honest opinions about brands and products. "Suddenly customers are paying a lot more attention to other customers and smart data," he says, although many brands, especially established ones, have been slow to adapt to this shift. "So many people in business focus on the competition, and when you do focus on the competition, you’re really only talking about incremental improvements because you are trying to take something away from a competitor."

Related: The Rise of 'Nudge' Advertising

Instead, Sculley recommends zeroing in on the customer's needs. It's a strategy that has launched mega-success stories such as Uber and Airbnb because it encourages companies to ask the most important question: "How do I solve a really big customer problem?"

It also results in invaluable, organic word-of-mouth advertising. "There’s nothing better in marketing than referrals from a happy customer," he says.

Watch this video to hear Sculley explain why it's time to throw your business plan out the window and replace it with a customer plan.  

Related: Apple Pay May Be the Creative Leap That Outmaneuvers Samsung

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