If we analyze the physical world, there’s one principle that all famous, wealthy, or powerful individuals have to deal with in order to establish or maintain their wealth or social position. This is the principle of marketing.
In a social world, marketing is always the main force behind success. To promote the success of the individual, skills in marketing are more important than skills in any other field.
Let me clarify the last statement with an example. Suppose you are a skilled researcher who has just discovered the cure for aids. In order for this cure to do any good, the world has to know about it and believe in its effectiveness. No matter how important your product, idea, or accomplishment, it is of no value unless people know about it and use it.
Marketing was used throughout history to promote public personalities.
Even religion has its roots in marketing. During the time of Christ, Israel was full of prophets. Some of them even claimed to have risen from the dead. Why do so many people worship Christ today and no one has ever heard of any other prophet from that time period?
Many Christians would like to attribute Christ’s popularity to Divine Will. But in this case, God used the marketing ads written by Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John and the skills of St. Paul and other holy apostles to turn Christ into Europe’s most popular prophet and his Church into a world power.
If you think about it, all religious institutions are actually the ad agencies of the gods or prophets that they serve.
Effective marketing does not need to necessarily market the best product. Sometimes you don’t even need a product.
Thirty years ago IBM had one of the greatest marketing teams in the world. In 1980 they decided to create a personal computer. They needed an operating system for their PC. There were two companies that were possible suppliers. They were Digital Research headed by Gary Kindall and Microsoft headed by Bill Gates. Kindall was a brilliant engineer and programmer. He had designed the first operating system used by personal computers. It was called CP/M. Bill Gates was a college drop out, whose company was working on the Basic programming language and did not know how to create an operating system.
Kindall being a technical person, never fully appreciated IBM’s marketing power. When IBM came to possibly license his CP/M software, he went flying and let his wife Dorothy handle the negotiations. She treated IBM as a big “corporate alien” and could not reach an agreement with its representatives. She felt IBM’s establish PMA company agreements were too harsh, and demanded more money to license the CP/M operating system.
The first time IBM’s people contacted Bill Gates, he sent them to Kindall, since he had no operating system. After encountering “corporate alien abuse” from Dorothy Kindall they went back to Gates. This time Gates bought an operating system for $50,000 and hired its developer to fix bugs and add improvements. Gates also signed IBM’s non-disclosure agreements, and licensed the system for a suitable fee. Even though it was inferior to CP/M, IBM’s marketing power soon made Gates’ operating system, PC-DOS, very popular.
IBM made a major mistake by just licensing the software, instead of buying it. Because Microsoft retained the rights to it, Gates was able to sell it to the manufacturers of IBM clones under the name MS-DOS. That’s why Microsoft became a powerful corporation, and Bill Gates became extremely rich.
We can see how powerful marketing can be. When IBM started marketing its coming PC, they lacked a critical component to make their computer work, the operating system. Instead of getting the best they settled for a very buggy imitation. Yet in the end the IBM PC became the most popular architecture for PCs in the world and Microsoft’s operating system became the world’s best selling pre-windows operating system.