They’ll make the right decisions.

The right marketing communicates the benefits… by getting the right information into the hands of the right people. It is not dependent on expensive and impressive advertising campaigns or slick PR. If you believe that your customers are intelligent, it’s a matter of finding them and providing them with accurate, in-depth information. They’ll make the right decisions.

– Guy Kawasaki, The Macintosh Way, 1990.

I recently rediscovered a book that inspired me a lot in 1990, shortly after my first child was born. I was the owner and creative director of a small graphic design and marketing studio in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. The only full-time employee was me, though my sister-in-law worked for me part-time while she studied art at Central Michigan University. The whole business had come about because I’d bought a Macintosh Plus computer in 1986 which had gotten me into the then-new field of “desktop publishing.”Somewhere in the midst of my Mac obsession, which included subscribing to two monthly magazines – Macworld and MacUser – I started learning about the crazy people who’d created this marvelous toy: the original Mac team. Among these enlightened souls was a man who had the nearly impossible job of convincing software developers to create programs for a platform that had no user base at the time: Guy Kawasaki, who was Apple’s “Chief Software Evangelist.” After Guy left Apple in 1987, he moved on to help found ACIUS (a software company that produced an elegant Mac database called 4th Dimension), and he also wrote a book called The Macintosh Way, which had the unsubtle subtitle “The Art of Guerilla Management.” In it, Guy described what made Macintosh – and Apple – different and allowed it to succeed despite long odds against it.

Guy explained that “The Macintosh Way of doing business means doing the right thing and doing things right…. It is a way of doing business for people who are foolish or brave enough to try to make a difference in a world of mediocrity.”

The easy choice as a marketer is to do what everyone else has done. Run the same campaigns, or copy what your competitors are doing. In my experience, the best marketing is the type of evangelism that Guy Kawasaki inspired me to do for myself and for my clients over 25 years ago: tell your story to the right people proudly, inspire people to not just buy a product but to share your dream and vision, and create lifelong fans who will, in turn, do much of your marketing for you. It’s not easy and it can be risky, but when done well, marketing evangelism is effective and long-lasting in a way that traditional advertising can never be.