Thursday, October 6, 2011

Marketing Tips from Steven Jobs and Me


Apple CEO Steven Jobs was truly brilliant. He left many great quotes as part of his legacy, and here is one that stands out for me:

"We've never worried about numbers. In the market place, Apple is trying to focus the spotlight on products, because products really make a difference. [...] Ad campaigns are necessary for competition; IBM's ads are everywhere. But good PR educates people; that's all it is. You can't con people in this business. The products speak for themselves."

In contrast to this I also read the Etsy forums, which are full of advice on how to market your work. You know, you can Twitter and ban together as teams to dominate Front Page coverage and do a Feasibility Analysis and give your work away for free in order to attract attention. And yes, I've tried all these things and more at one time or another.

The sad reality of Etsy is that only 5% of the 290,000 sellers on Etsy are making over $30,000/ yr in sales. And in the face of this overwhelming failure, they are intent on marketing more, marketing better, and marketing different.

Not that marketing is bad… but as Steven Jobs says, it focuses attention on your products. So if marketing more, better and different  isn’t working, it might be time to focus on improving the products. For an artisan, good products don’t come from making what everyone else is making. Good products come from connecting to that adventurous inner desire to try something new, to master a technique, to innovate, to push something known into the unknown.

My rustic ceramic bowls, hand sculpted with vintage lace textures and up to 7 layers of glazes are where I'm currently pushing the boundaries on functional pottery.


  1. This is really excellent advice. Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. ditto.
    very insightful.


  3. Good post! The product has to shine and Steve Jobs certainly understood that. (You're bowls are great - keep pushing!)
    I agree,I think marketing is tantalizing sometimes because (in the age of computers/internet/social media) it seems like a quick fix.

  4. Great quote Lee. Thanks for sharing. Alwys good to remember WHY were are here making stuff in the first place!