Apple's 1976 marketing plan included Apple Stores

When the legendary Silicon Valley marketing guru Regis McKenna presented his ideas to Steve Jobs, it included something very prescient.

Sarah Tew/CBS Interactive
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. -- Apple opened its first retail stores in May 2001, but it turns out the idea for the tech giant's shopping hubs came 25 years earlier.

Regis McKenna, the legendary Silicon Valley marketing guru, talked about his first meeting with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak back in 1976, during a fireside chat Thursday at the Computer History Museum here.

The pair came in looking for someone to help market the Apple II. During the meeting, McKenna rubbed Woz the wrong way and hit it off with Jobs. McKenna initially turned down Apple's business and showed them the door.

"Steve [Jobs] called back probably 40 times that night," McKenna said.

Jobs and McKenna had dinner and talked about what the future of Apple could look like, and McKenna signed on. Eventually McKenna drafted an eight-page marketing plan in December 1976. Lo and behold, what was written under "Distribution Channels"? Apple stores.

"I had actually presented this to Apple a couple of times," he said. "I had talked about putting them in different parts of the country."

At first, the company's stores were to be meant for big customers, and serve as centers for corporate sales and training, located in office parks, he said. Then they would gradually move to retail. Now there are more than 400 Apple retail stores all over the world.

McKenna was the marketing mastermind behind many of the tech industry's most iconic companies during their formative years. To name a few, he handled marketing for companies like Intel, Silicon Graphics, America Online and Electronic Arts. McKenna was also feted by the San Jose Mercury News as being one of the 100 people to make Silicon Valley what it is today.

 

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