Regis McKenna Profile

  • Dubbed "the best p.r. man in the tech industry," he has transformed countless innovations from niche products to household items with his pioneering marketing campaigns.

  • Best known for his historic partnership with Apple, he turned the story of two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs into American folklore.

  • With a career spanning 50 years, his insider knowledge and stories about Silicon Valley are unrivaled.
  • Marketing legend, Regis McKenna took PCs from a niche hobby to a household staple. The industry pioneer often described as “the man who put Silicon Valley on the map,” has played a key role in incorporating landmark technical innovations such as Intel microprocessors, Apple computers, and retail computer stores into everyday life.

    McKenna’s five decades as a public relations guru for the technology sector clearly demonstrate that markets are not won, but rather created. Upon establishing Regis McKenna, Inc. – his own marketing firm aimed at tech companies – he practiced a holistic public relations model that went beyond selling advertising spaces and instead created much broader marketing strategies. By the end of the 1970s, he had already helped build up Intel and was working closely with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak to introduce Apple’s first personal computer as a must-have consumer product. Ultimately, his historic collaboration with Apple spanned from the development of their logo to the diffusion of the iPhone 4 antenna crisis.

    McKenna also architected the early business and marketing strategy of America Online, Electronic Arts, Genentech, National Semiconductor, Silicon Graphics, and 3Com Corporation. Though he is officially retired from consulting, he continues to serve as an advisor on several boards and is currently focused on high tech entrepreneurial seed-ventures.

    • View Extended/Alternate Bio
        • Regis McKenna founded his own high tech marketing firm, Regis McKenna, Inc., in Silicon Valley in 1970 after working in the marketing departments of two early semiconductor pioneering companies. Over the past 30 years, his firm evolved from one focused on high tech start ups to a broad based marketing strategy firm servicing international clients in many different industries and countries. McKenna retired from consulting in 2000 and is concentrating his efforts on high tech entrepreneurial seed-ventures.

      McKenna is included in the San Jose Mercury News′ Millennium 100 as one of the 100 people who made Silicon Valley what it is today. McKenna has written and lectured extensively on the social and market effects of technological change advancing innovations in marketing theories and practices.

      McKenna and his firm worked with a number of entrepreneurial start-ups during their formation years including: America Online, Apple, Compaq, Electronic Arts, Genentech, Intel, Linear Technology, Lotus, Microsoft, National Semiconductor, Silicon Graphics, 3COM, and many others. McKenna helped launch some of the most important technological innovations of the last thirty years including the first microprocessor (Intel Corporation), the first personal computer (Apple Computer), the first recombinant DNA genetically engineered product (Genentech, Inc.), and the first retail computer store (The Byte Shop). In the last decade, McKenna consulted on strategic marketing and business issues to industrial, consumer, transportation, healthcare, and financial firms in the United States, Japan, and Europe. McKenna continues to be involved in high tech start-up companies through his venture activities.

      McKenna pioneered many of the theories and practices of technology marketing that have become integrated into the marketing mainstream. Some of these include:

      • The process of diffusing technology across various classes of users ranging from innovators to early adopters to late adopters and laggards and the corresponding evolution of the “whole product.” (The Regis Touch, 1985).
      • The development of industry infrastructure modeling whereby a relatively small number of “influencers” establish and sustain standards.
      • The focus on “intangibles” as the benefits of technology products.
      • The development of “other” as a major, growing segment of market share with the result of “choice becoming a higher value than brand.”
      • His book, Relationship Marketing, was a pioneering work in the concept of one-to-one marketing.
      • The development of the concept of “Real Time,” whereby technology compresses time (from want or need to zero), creating “the never satisfied consumer.
        • McKenna has written five books on technology business strategies and marketing. His first two books were:

      The Regis Touch

        • and

      Who′s Afraid of Big Blue

        • . His third book,

      Relationship Marketing

        • , published in 1992, focuses on the interactive relationships vital to market acceptance in the “Age of the Customer.”

      Real Time, Preparing For The Age Of The Never Satisfied Customer, was published by Harvard Business Books in 1997. This book analyzes the effects of technology on the marketplace and describes how high-speed electronics enables ready access to information, products and services and in the process, generates increased expectations for immediate satisfaction.

      His most recent book, TOTAL ACCESS, Giving Customers What They Want in an Anytime, Anywhere World, published by Harvard Business School Press in March 2002, addresses the future of marketing as computers and the network do most of the work, from data gathering to customer care and response. The marketing function disappears into a network of relationships and responsibilities between man and machine throughout the value chain. Total consumer access to-and interaction with-the marketplace replaces the archaic broadcast model.

      McKenna has appeared on the television NightLine special on Time, The Jim Leher Report on technology at the Millennium and on The Today Show on venture capital.

      McKenna is Chairman of the Board of the Santa Clara University Center for Science, Technology and Society and was a founding board member of Smart Valley. He is a trustee at Santa Clara University, the Advisory Board of the Haas School of Business University of California Berkeley and the Economic Strategies Institute. He is president of the Board of Trustees for The Children′s Shelter Fund of Silicon Valley. McKenna is on the International Advisory Board of Toyota Motor Company, an investor and on the Board of Directors of a number of high technology companies as well.

      Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, McKenna attended Saint Vincent College and is a liberal arts graduate of Duquesne University. In 1962, he moved to Silicon Valley. In 1965, he joined the marketing department of General Micro Electronics, the first company to develop and market commercial MOS (metal oxide semiconductor) products, the basis for much of today′s electronics technology. He joined another start-up, National Semiconductor, in 1967 where, as Marketing Services Manager, he helped direct National′s marketing strategies in the early stages of the company′s growth.

    Regis McKenna Speaking Videos

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    Regis McKenna's Speech Descriptions

    Hailed as “the best p.r. man in the technology business,” Regis McKenna has a unique gift for bringing specialty products into mainstream culture. Drawing from an influential 50-year-career, McKenna shares how he translated high-tech innovations into products that the public would understand and clamor to incorporate into their lives.

    A long time trusted advisor and close friend to figures such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Steve Wozniak, McKenna has been a first hand witness and participant in the growth of numerous iconic companies, and has some of the best stories to come out of Silicon Valley.

      Suggested Programs:

      • Total Access: The Disappearance of Marketing as We Know It
      • Relationship Marketing: Successful Strategies for the Age of the Customer
      • Real Time: Preparing for the Age of the Never Satisfied Customer

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    Books by Regis McKenna:

      Total Access

      Marketing as we know it is disappearing, declares industry legend Regis McKenna. As marketers focus on advertising and promotion, the chief information officer is automating their core functions. As they obsess over brand, the chief strategy officer is dispersing their responsibilities throughout the organization. And as they squabble over whether marketing is an art or a science, McKenna argues that they′re completely overlooking what marketing has become: a technology.

      What does this displacement mean for the future of marketing and its role in today′s increasingly networked organizations? Who will manage the all-important customer relationship – and how? In this new book, McKenna marshals over forty years of experience as a marketing innovator, investor, and industry visionary to explore an emerging – and essentially different – marketing paradigm.

      Order Here

      Relationship Marketing: Successful Strategies for the Age of the Customer

      The bestselling author of The Regis Touch expands on his previous work to focus on building crucial relationships that help a company dominate–and own–the market in this age of the customer. Includes stories, insights, and advice to give readers an edge in today′s fiercely competitive climate.

      Order Here

      Real Time: Preparing for the Age of the Never Satisfied Customer

      From the author of Relationship Marketing comes a provocative book on doing business in a real time world-one in which time and distance vanish, action and response are simultaneous, and customers demand instant gratification…or else.

      Technology is continually transforming our existence in profound ways; and the pace of change is speeding up, not slowing down: we get cash in seconds at ATMs, we watch wars unfold instantaneously on live television. Almost all technology today compresses to zero the time needed to acquire and use information, to make decisions and initiate actions, to deploy resources and innovate. What does all this mean to the creators and managers who want to lead their organizations successfully in the real time world?

      Above all, says McKenna, management must be prepared for the eventuality of anything-anytime, anywhere, and in-your-face. The companies best equipped for the twenty-first century are seizing the opportunities that our real time reality presents. Their leaders understand that real time means exceptional responsiveness to customer expectations and ongoing adjustments to deliver.

      Fresh with stories from McKenna′s own experience as entrepreneur and consultant to the world′s most influential leaders, Real time will move readers to think in new ways, act with lightning speed, and break sound barriers of innovation. A BusinessWeek Bestseller.

      Order Here

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