Marketing Plan for the Apple iPod
- Length: 2193 words (6.3 double-spaced pages)
- Rating: Excellent
-SWOT Analysis_______________________________________________ 4
-Competitor Analysis ___________________________________________ 6
Marketing Objectives__________________________________________ 7
Identifying Target Market
-Selecting Target Market______________________________________7
Developing Marketing Strategies
Implementing the Marketing Plan__________________________________10
Monitoring and Controlling
-Developing a Financial Forecast____________________________________10
-Comparing actual and planned results________________________________11
-Revising the marketing strategies____________________________________11
The focus of this report is on new Apple Ipod product that has created increasing demands in various outlets.
This product allows consumers to download not only their favourite music but also books and other literature which can be read and listened to. Additionally this Ipod can be used in your car and in other mobile settings.
This report is for Apple to give a brief description of this product. Within this marketing report there is an insight of the situation analysis of this product, marketing objectives, the target market, marketing strategies that have been used and the forecasted strategies, monitoring and controlling.
-Management: Effective management is required for the training and development of employees for the continue innovation of Apple Ipod and for retraining sufficient funds during competitor introducing new product.
-Capital Availability: Competition may cause mishap in the cash flow. Sufficient funds must be available when competitors unpredictably put forward their product in the market.
-Technological Adoption: Technology must be adopted to improve overall efficiency. It must be integrated directly into operations (to increase productivity), as well stay on date with the amounts of Ipod抯 ordered, made and delivered.
-Competitors: Competitors will regulate what, when, how and why strategies will be adopted. The introduction of new products will greatly influence Apple Ipod.
-Overseas Influences: The breaking down of barriers between countries can increase the sales of the new Apple Ipod, as more people are made aware of the product.
-Demographic Patterns: Males and females from the age of 12years and over will be in favour of this product because of its new innovation to be able to not only play music but also books and other literature which would in fact appeal to them.
X- The stage that Apple Ipod is currently in.
Apple Ipod is currently in the growth stage, where more and more people are aware and purchasing the product, increasing product demand.
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Sales are growing rapidly and profits are rising quickly, however competition is increasing as competitors are more cognisant of the tactics of Apple Ipod i.e. using new features to market their product. During this stage there are also opportunities for wider distribution, which will result in higher sales.
?There are enough financial resources that are allocated for the operation of this product.
?Appealing to both males and females
?Good competitive skills
?Past products have had a good reputation
?Advanced key technology
?Product innovation skills ?The product has a narrow product line therefore unable to expand into other markets
?High prices may push potential customers to competitors with affordable prices
?Introducing a new product, when the niche market is already controlled by other competitor抯
? Poor use of promotional strategy, as consumers were not properly introduced on the products significant use.
?Opportunity to capitalise financially
?Develop an admirable/exceptional goodwill that can have monetary value in future
?Opportunity for fast market growth as parents may see this as an educational device as it is able to read books.
?Growing market trend
?New competitors continually enter the market.
?The threat of not appealing to target market at all therefore generating a loss as opposed to profit
?Entry of imitators
?Vulnerable to the business cycle
?Tough laws being placed on internet MP3 downloads
Competitor No.1 Competitor No.2
Competitor Name Rio Carbon (5GB) iriver H10
What are the product objectives? Increase sales of this product by 10% by the next year. To be the leading supplier of MP3 players in all markets in which the company operates
What is the products current strategy? Sell off the products at competitive and profitable prices and maintain customer satisfaction To top competitors product technology by innovating the current product
What are its strengths? Rio Carbon offer their product at affordable prices which appeal to consumer抯 while maintaining strong quality The iriver H10 out classes the competition in the features that they offer to consumer抯
What are its weaknesses? The Rio Carbon is a new competitor in the competition and therefore it may be difficult for them to gain market share because of the unknown brand loyalty The iriver H10 comes at a very costly price which may lead customer抯 to purchase competitor抯 products at an affordable price
How does the Apple Ipod match up against the other products? The Apple ipod is much more popular because the market is aware of their product giving them an advantage over Rio Carbon although Rio Carbon is a new competitor which may intimidate Apple Ipod with their associated low costs. The Apple ipod is much more popular because the market is aware of their product giving them an advantage over iriver H10 although iriver H10 has been receiving outstanding reviews on their excellent use of new technology which may be a threat to Apple Ipod抯 sales.
The various marketing objectives that will assist in the achievement in the overall product goal are:
?To be the leading supplier of MP3 players in all markets in which the company operates
?Increase in sales by 20%
?Increase in revenue by 20%
?Progressively increase market share by at least 15% within the year.
?Expanding distribution to department stores by 10%
?Increasing brand awareness to 60% of potential customers
? To expand existing markets by 10% in the next quarter. A promotion campaign will be introduced to encourage present buyer to increase the use of the product.
Identify Target Market
Selecting target market
?Apple Ipod is aimed at young adults particularly those between the age of 12-25
?It will appeal to both males and females
?Targeted at the niche market creating product desirability
?People who have a passion or interest in music and/or literature
?This is large enough to engender revenues and profits
Target Market Strategies
Apple Ipod has adopted the differentiated market for their products as its products are characterised in age, gender and desire for image. Apple ipod is used by young adults and teenagers and for both male and female.
Develop Marketing Strategies
This product allows consumer抯 to download not only their favourite music but also books and other literature which can be read and listened to. Additionally this Ipod can be used in your car and in other mobile settings (refer to appendix A for product).
Positioning ?aimed at the middle to high class, therefore product will be positioned in department stores associated with prestige products. This will create a strong, clear and consistent image of the product in the consumer抯 mind which is essential.
Branding ?Apple Ipod will give consumer抯 one year warranty to assure consumers of the quality of the product. This will associate a level of quality with the brand and will not only increase brand loyalty and repeat services, but also sell products at a premium to competitors.
Packaging ?Apple Ipod抯 packaging will:
- Have product identification so easily separated from its competitors
- Product differentiation so it is unique
- using the most cost efficient method of packaging
This will make the product both functional and desirable to possible consumers.
Apple Ipod will use cost base method to derive its prices. They will add a 65% profit margin to the cost of the product to gain efficient revenue.
Price and quality interactions ?
- In this way, price creates perception of quality.
- High price attract an image of quality
- This will allow Apple Ipod to increase its market share
By promoting the Apple Ipod this will satisfy the needs of the customer抯 and business. Consumers will gain better understanding of the product and how it can satisfy their needs, but on the other hand will help Apple Ipod increase their profits and market shares.
Advertising - Apple Ipod will spotlight on a successful advertising campaign comprising of magazine and television advertisements focusing on (refer to appendix B for magazine advertisement):
- The target market (teenagers and young adults)
- How often they want the target market to be exposed to the advertisement
- When they want to reach their target market
- Most cost efficient methods to fulfil the above
By doing this Apple Ipod will add value to their product by altering consumer perceptions
Below-the-line promotions ?Apple Ipod will use a direct method to induce customers to purchase their product by offering any Ipod accessory (refer to appendix C for accessories) per customer for half the value price with every purchase of a new Apple Ipod. This will allow the business to directly measure the success of the campaign by observing the sales rate of the promotional tool.
Distribution channels ?Apple Ipod will use indirect distribution where an intermediary organisation will be involved in the process. The intermediaries will provide functions such as:
- Fragmenting bulk supplies of inventory
- Give financial services to retailers
- Increase ease of customer purchase
This will assist Apple Ipod as they can concentrate on other areas of the business
Transportation ?Apple Ipod will lease trucks in order to transport the inventory to intermediaries. By leasing the trucks Apple Ipod will accumulate extra funds to utilize else were.
Warehousing ?inventory will be kept in a warehouse close to the intermediaries which will minimise transport costs.
Implementing, Monitoring and Controlling
Apple Ipod Company will change because of the new added features to the product range. For its success, Apple Ipod Company must impose several key changes. Production needs to be on time and meet the quota demanded from wholesalers. It must also be efficient so as not to build inventory stocks and inventory prices. The marketing needs to be motivated and knowledgeable about the product. The forms of promotion such as advertising must be attracting and enticing to the target market to get the greatest amount of exposure possible for the product. This will ensure the success of the product in the stores. Distribution of the product must be efficient. This problem has already been taken care of with convenient transport routes to commercial areas and transport already being arranged.
Developing a Financial Forecast
?To achieve a healthy and continuous growth in profit.
?To attain a 15% increase in market shares within the annual and achieve positive growth in the sales of the PRODUCT!
?Minimising distribution cost
Financial forecast- marketing
Revenue $16,800 $16,800
Fixed costs $9,350 $0
Variable cost $6,670 $6,670
Total costs $16,020 $6,670
Net profit from marketing $780 $10,130
return on marketing investments 5% 152%
Comparing actual and planned results
Financial forecasting - Apple Ipod predicted that there would be a 20% increase in their level of sales, but sales figures were lower than expected and showed a 10% increase in sales. It is suggested that Apple Ipod change their strategies to motivate further sales.
Market share ?Apple Ipod predicted that there would be a 15% increase in market share, but this was due to external factors were there has been a large boost of competitors in the Mp3 industry threatening Apple Ipod抯 market share.
Profitability - Apple Ipod predicted that there would be a 20% increase in revenue, but sales figures were lower than expected and showed a 10% increase in revenue. It is suggested that Apple Ipod change their strategies to motivate further sales.
Revising the marketing strategies
After 6 months have elapsed we have found that you need to change your marketing mix strategies to fix the above problems.
As mentioned above Apple Ipod received a decrease in sales, it is suggested that Apple Ipod change one of your marketing strategies to solve this problem. Apple Ipod should introduce a public relations scheme to improve the relationship between the company and their markets. Rather than advertising which is aimed at improving the public image of Apple Ipod, public relations is aimed at increasing a business抯 sales.
In order for Apple Ipod to gain competitive advantage and increase market share you must readjust your marketing strategies. It is advised that Apple Ipod add an extra feature to their current product. A new innovative feature you may consider is cordless earphones that send the sound via Bluetooth technology. This will differentiate your product from current competitors and will result in an increase in market share.
Optional Ipod Accessories
iPod Dock, iPod mini Dock or iPod photo Dock Kit
iPod Camera Connector
iPod Power Adapter
iPod Dock Connector to FireWire Cable
Sony Car Cassette Adapter
Belkin Auto Charger
Griffin iTrip FM Transmitter
Monster iCase Travel Pack
Belkin TuneDok Car Holder
Belkin Media Reader
Griffin iTalk Voice Recorder
iPod Remote and Earbuds
Monster iCarPlay Wireless Plus
Bang & Olufsen A8 Headphones
Incase Travel Kit
Belkin Battery Pack
20GB/30GB or 40GB/60GB iPod Carrying Case
World Travel Adapter Kit
iPod Stereo Connection Kit
USB 2.0 + FireWire Cable
Every company has a different technique or way that contributes to their success. For some, it is the way they advertise their products/services and for others it is way the product/service is presented to the customers. However, most companies are known for their marketing strategies used in the marketing mix. The marketing mix is a planned mix of the controllable elements of a product’s marketing plan commonly termed as 4Ps: product, price, place, and promotion. The marketing mix is a powerful strategy that contributes to the success of Apple Inc.
Apple Inc. is an American corporation established in 1976 by Steve Jobs that designs and manufactures computer hardware, software and other consumer electronics. The headquarters of the company can be found in Cupertino, California while there are 284 retail stores located 10 different countries. Apple currently has more than 33,000 employees and revenues that exceed $42 million. They carry a variety of products such as iPhones, iPods, iMacs, and the list goes on.
However, the most successful products of Apple is in the mobile phone industry. This includes the iPhones. Apple has released eight generations of iPhones since 2007 when the 1st generation was released. Recently, the iPhone 6/6 Plus was released and it said to be the biggest seller product of Apple. Now, Apple dominates the mobile phone industry with 86% share of the profits. A part of Apple’s big success relies on their marketing strategies, specifically, the marketing mix.
This paper aims to investigate the extent to which Apple’s marketing mix assists the company to be successful in the mobile phone industry hence the question ‘To what extent does the marketing mix lead to Apple Inc. success in the mobile phone industry’?
Part 1 – Price
In the marketing mix, one of the four P’s is price. Price is explained as the amount consumers are charged for a product, indicating the value customers perceive the product to have. A firm’s pricing decision is often aimed at attracting a particular market segment. There are many pricing strategies within the marketing mix which is very important when it comes to selling the product. They are cost plus pricing, hour based pricing, penetration pricing and skimming. Cost plus pricing is when the price of a particular product is determined by calculating how much it costs to do the job and adding on a given percentage as a return for the job. Hour based pricing is when the business determines the price for every hour of work they complete, typically seen in small businesses. Penetration pricing is when a business starts off by offering the product or service for a low cost and when market penetration is achieved, the costs are raised. Last but not least, skimming is when you offer a product for a high price because many customers are interested in it due to the brand of prestige it has. Apple’s pricing is quite different from other companies in the mobile phone industry. The pricing mix of Apple iPhones includes costs, competition, mark-ups, discounts and geographical area. The Apple iPhone costs usually start at $99 with contracts and it increases depending on the features such as the amount of GB and the company service that the phone operates with. The company reduce prices after the initial launch of products, usually using the skimming strategy. For example, this is seen when Apple started selling its 8GB product for $599 and later reduced the price of the same product to $399. The benefits of the skimming strategy is that it allows the company to reach its target market, products are perceived as high-quality products so consumers will be attracted to it and consumers who are status conscious may purchase higher priced goods for prestige which allows the company to get more recognition. This strategy is very successful with Apple because, generally, the products of Apple are purchased at by high class people who can afford it so no matter how high the price is, it would be sold in large amounts. However, the disadvantages of the skimming strategy is that it limits its sales which means that it cannot lower costs by building sales volume, if the price of the particular product remains very high for too long, it may delay or entirely prevent acceptance of the product by the general market and early customers of the product may be highly annoyed when the company later drops its price for the product, and as a result, generate bad publicity and cause a very low level of customer loyalty. As an Apple buyer, I can attest to this disadvantage because it can become irritating when the prices are dropped after buying the iPhone at a high price because I would’ve rather purchase it at a low price.
Furthermore, Apple implements the premium pricing strategy which ‘involves setting the price of a product higher than similar products. It is usually used to maximize profit in areas where customers are happy to pay more, where there are no substitutes for the product, where there are barriers to entering the market or when the seller cannot save on costs by producing at a high volume.’ The advantages of premium pricing is that if a company invests heavily in its premium brands, it can be extremely difficult for a competitor to offer a competing product at the same price point without also investing a large amount in marketing and there can be an unusually high gross margin associated with premium pricing. However, the disadvantages of premium pricing is that the costs required to establish and maintain a premium pricing strategy are massive, and must be maintained for as long as this pricing strategy is followed or the premium brand recognition by consumers will falter, and the company will have difficulty maintaining its price points, there will be a continual stream of competitors challenging the top tier pricing category with lower-priced offerings and since the company using this strategy is restricting itself to low sales volume, it can never generate the cost reductions that a high-volume producer would be able to achieve.
Overall, Apple’s pricing contributes to the company’s success in a major way, specifically when it comes to the iPhone in the mobile industry as it encourages consumers to buy products due to their strategies involved. For example, in July 2007, Apple released the iPhone for $599, which was a high costing phone at the time. However, the product was the most innovative on the market which gave Apple the freedom and ability to price their phone at whatever cost they chose. Also, since the iPhones are usually aimed towards business people and younger customers, they have a higher chance of the product being bought due to the income of their customers and brand loyalty.
The most important area of the marketing mix is the product itself. According to Armstrong and Kotler, product is defined as ‘ anything that can be offered to a market for the attention, acquisition or consumption that might satisfy a want or need.’ Product decisions involve deciding what goods or services should be offered to a group of customers and it also involves differentiation, product lines, branding and image positioning.
Since Apple Inc. is one of the leading brands in the mobile phone industry, the company takes product into great consideration. The marketing mix of Apple is mainly product driven. Due to the rapid change in customer’s taste and technology, Apple is continually updating their products, specifically iPhones, adding features to satisfy the wants and needs of the customers. For example, Apple has released the iPhone 3, 3GS and 4 which are all considered to be of the same product line because they all derived from the same product with similar physical characteristics, customer segments, distribution channels, pricing methods and promotional campaigns. However, what makes the versions different is the innovations added to the features of the phone to make it up to date and trendy.
There are four major distinctions about the Apple iPhone that makes product so important in the marketing mix. ‘Firstly, the quality which people loved in the iPhone was access to the prominent Apple iOS operating system. As android and Windows operating systems came later on smart phones, Apple was able to spellbind its customers with its mobile operating system. Secondly, the operating system was not enough to keep customers attracted because it required processing speed as well. iPhone hardware was quite compatible with the software and the OS used to run smoothly. Therefore, the high quality processing speed also contributed the popularity of the product. Thirdly, iPhone does not compare itself with other companies. When promotions are given from Apple, they are independent from competition. It would be a communication of what Apple has done in its current version of iPhone as compared to its previous versions. Therefore, on the product level, Apple does not enter competition with other smart phones. Finally, iTunes is the major attention grabber for Apple iPhone. The Apple store has more number of apps than the Google play store which is a compliment for the large developer network which iPhone has. As a result, iTunes, the Apple store and the developer network form the secondary products for iPhone’. Although there are many good qualities to the features of the iPhone, it has its cons as well.
Furthermore, Apple ensures that the iPhone is at its best. ‘One thing that the company ensures is that the iPhone will have a full year warranty. They also ensure that the iPhone is packaged as attractive as possible to mirror other Apple products.’ ‘Additionally, to ensure that the product keeps afloat, the company intends to introduce unique editions of the iPhone which will attract more customers through the provision of quality services. Apple has shipped a cheaper less advanced iPhone in 2008 which best suited professionals with the following features; removable disk storage capacity which supports USB memory sticks, the product had a lower weight and was much thinner, and the battery life was extraordinary’.
Generally, the iPhone as a product has been a big money-maker for the company as it dominates the total sales of Apple with a 39% lead percentage. Apple invests a lot of thought, time and money and their products and it is specifically seen in the creation and upgrades of the Apple iPhone. Therefore, the product of Apple in the marketing mix contributes greatly to their success because of the good qualities it possesses.
Place refers to a product’s location or channels of distribution used to get the product to the consumer. Usually, businesses decide their place and how the product should get to the consumer by seeing which way would be most cost effective and accessible to them. The business decides on their channel of distributions and if they decide on having retail stores, this involves setting up stores in convenient locations then designing a store that would be most attractive and inspirational to the consumer. There are several different methods that can be used for the channel of distribution. One method that be used is where the product is given to the manufacturer by the producer where it is manufactured , then taken to a wholesaler which sells the products to the retailers where the it can be purchased by the consumer However, this method is not as cost-effective and can result in a low profit margin for the producer. Another method that can be used is where the retailer is cut out and the products are sold from the wholesaler who allows the consumers to come in and purchase the products either in bulk or smaller quantities. However, with this method, there is a lower profit margin for the manufacturer. Also, a business can use the method where the products can be purchased directly from the manufacturer without any middleman involved. The fourth method that can be used is where the wholesaler is cut out of the distribution channel and the products are purchased directly from the manufacturer and sold in the retail stores. E-commerce can also be a way of distributing products to their consumers. This is where a business can set up a website and allow customers to visit the site and purchase items directly from their stores. In this way, a business can spend less on marketing products internationally because the site can be used for distribution and promotion. With the channels of distribution, more than one method can be used for one business. Likewise, a business can be their own wholesaler and retailer and just use an outside manufacturer to make their products for them.
In this case, Apple Inc. satisfies a few channels of distribution methods. Their aim is to cater to the needs and wants of all of their consumers on an international basis. They have an online store, retail outlets as well as wholesales involved in their distribution strategy. With the online store, customers can purchase the iPhone of choice at any point, 24/7 and it can be directly delivered to the consumers. Using this method, it saves the company the cost of maintenance of the physical store, however, the disadvantage is that they will have to pay for shipment, taxes and import duties. Apple Inc. is a multinational Corporation Company whose headquarters is located in 1 infinite loop, Cupertino, California State with about 394 different numbers of retail stores that designs, develops and sells consumer electronics. They are located in Asia/Pacific, Africa, the Middle East Europe and Latin America. Their retail stores are located in premium malls and outlets. They are commonly referred to as iStores and they are given the product directly from the company at the best discounts. Additionally, the iPhone can be distributed from a carrying and forwarding agent. Whereas, in some cases, individual stores can be given the product through distributors. With all their locations and in all of these countries, the iPhone is known to provide an excellent service backup.
Apple takes a big initiative to make the customer’s buying experience unforgettable. Recently, Apple was given the latest trademark certificate by The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office which represented the ‘distinctive design & layout’ of all of their stores. The trademark has two designs where one is in black and white and the other is in color. The typical store layout had wide tables in the middle with and benches around the sides where customers can try out new products. In my opinion, this is quite effective because it allows customers to feel good and welcomed when entering their stores and it can also attract customers into buying the products as they allow them to try it before purchasing. Figure 1 gives an overview look on how the store would be set up.