Apple’s Marketing Plan

Apple’s Marketing Plan

Technology is mainly responsible for the witnessed shifts in the information technology (IT) market, and that is why players in the telecommunication sector struggle to outcompete each other. Apple Inc. is among the principal participants in the telecommunication industry that are active in making the technology-based business highly competitive. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started Apple as a personal computer producer in 1976 but faced stiff rivalry from Microsoft and struggled until 1991 when it diversified its products (Batinga et al., 2019). Behind Apple’s current success is a series of hurdles. For instance, between 1991 and 1996, Apple engaged in legal battles with Microsoft, and it had to undergo extensive transformation (Batinga et al., 2019). The company has endeavored to remain competitive by focusing on innovation and sales. Accordingly, this essay presents Apple’s marketing plan. Notably, creative marketing techniques and practical brand and customer service management enhance Apple’s competitiveness.

Competitive Analysis

Competitors

The telecommunication industry attracts many players, and thus, competition continuously increases. In this respect, since Apple offers various products ranging from hardware and software to entertainment and financial services, it has different business opponents. According to Danko et al. (2019), Apple’s lead rivals include Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Facebook. Nonetheless, high pressure seems to be coming from its counterparts in the smartphone sub-division. Therefore, Apple’s opponents incorporate Samsung, Sony, and Nokia (Gehani, 2016). The basis of differentiation is the type of products and services and market performance. Apple is doing reasonably well in the IT market. In this respect, Apple enjoys a high market share, substantial sales, adequate revenue, excellent customer service, and incredible brand establishment. Danko et al. (2019) suggest that Apple is the most expensive brand with a value of $214,408 million compared to $155,506 million, $100,764 million, $92,715 million, and $45,168 million for Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook, respectively. Correspondingly, Apple has the upper hand in outdoing its rivals.

Strengths

The firm is highly innovative, and that is why it invariably releases exciting products to the market. Danko et al. (2019) posit that Apple is the third most creative company globally, behind Google and Samsung. Apple has managed to transform the smartphone sub-sector through the creation of classic iPhones. In this case, the entity is on a mission of reinventing the telephone (Batinga et al., 2019). Besides, Apple’s products are highly competitive. Gehani (2016) submit that Apple’s current brand value stands at $76.6 billion compared to $32.9 billion, $9.1 billion, and $21 billion for Samsung, Sony, and Nokia, respectively. Additionally, Apple dominates the American market. As such, Apple has 41.6% of the total smartphone subscribers in the United States than Samsung’s 29.7%, while the other opponents scramble for the remaining less than 28% of the American smartphone users (Kim et al., 2016). Hence, Apple invest heavily in innovation to boost its competitiveness.

Weaknesses

Despite shining in the US, Apple is yet to capture a considerable market share internationally. Apple performs below Samsung across the borders given that Apple has 15.5% of the total smartphone consumers in the world, while Samsung has 24.7%, with the entrants of Huawei, Xiaomi, and BBK electronics likely to shrink Apple’s market share and profitability (Kim et al., 2016). Moreover, Apple is facing severe political and legal threats. For example, the European Union (EU) is dissatisfied with Apple’s App Store expensive services and considers limiting Apple’s activities, ultimately giving Google an advantage since the latter offer affordable advertising services with over 40% price reduction, and the likes of Facebook provide the cheapest advertising services whereas Apple’s remain exorbitant (The Associated Press, 2020). Apple focuses more on profitability than the sales volume. In this respect, Apple makes few sales at high prices while Samsung and Huawei desire to sell more at affordable costs (Kim et al., 2016). Therefore, Apple has minimal market penetration outside the US since it targets mostly high-end customers.

Marketing Strategies

Product

A product is any good or service that an enterprise renders to a specific market to meet consumer needs. The clients dictate what manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and service providers should offer. Hence, a product is any valuable thing that a business gives to its customers in exchange for money. Apple, as a telecommunication company, has developed to provide diversified products to the IT market. The common goods include iPhones, iPads, iPods, iMac computers, and smartwatches, among other hardware and software commodities. Apple is learning towards application services as opposed to the traditional hardware phones and tablets. For instance, Apple is now investing considerably in entertainment products such as iTunes, televisions, earbuds, and smart speakers, incorporating a high innovation level (Batinga et al., 2019). Developing such new products expanded Apple’s marketing scope since the customer range has significantly increased compared to only smartphone and computer consumers as it was before.

 

Place

After the commodity manufacture, processing, or assembling, it has to flow to the end-user. Therefore, place refers to the distribution channels a firm utilizes to deliver goods to customers. The supply strategies can be direct or indirect, and Apple applies both distribution channels. The entity sells through physical and digital Apple and App stores. According to Miles et al. (2019), more customers visit Apple stores and make more purchases than Microsoft stores. In this regard, Apple assures customers of a quality shopping experience through its outlets. Apple also avails its commodities to clients through authorized retailers, particularly, Walmart, Best Buy, and Amazon. The supply methods are functional since the projection is that they will generate over $50 billion by 2021 (Miles et al., 2019). Accordingly, Apple adopts customer-centric distribution mechanisms.

Price

The price is the monetary value for the product a business offer to the market. Conventionally, a price is a cost the customer will pay to acquire a good or service, for instance, paying $1,000 to get iPhone 11 Pro from an Apple store. Apple applies the premium pricing strategy to set prices for its products. All of Apple’s commodities are premium, and the prices are inflated since it strives to maintain a high status. Batarfi et al. (2017) contend that Apple allows its patrons to pick the products that suit them. Hence, the entity arrives at the extortionate prices through value-based pricing. Apple invests extensively in research and development, innovation, and product development. Thus, consumers anticipate Apple’s goods and services to be expensive. In this case, the company assigns prices to commodities based on the customers’ expectations. Correspondingly, Apple segment the market and price its products depending on what consumers in each segment await.

Promotion

Promotion is the marketing communication that establishments utilize to reach to the target customers. The typical conventional marketing promotion approaches encompass commercials, print advertisements, and direct marketing. Apple uses television advertisement during the launch of a new product and then switch to print adverts for usual Apple stories (Good, 2016). The corporation executes direct marketing through its stores. In this case, the company grants purchasers exemplary customer and shopping experience, further facilitating promotion by word of mouth (Miles et al., 2019). As for digital marketing promotion, Apple applies social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and content marketing. Apple engages with loyal and potential consumers on all social media platforms. Jackson and Ahuja (2016) suggest that Apple utilizes social media to benefit from customer evangelism. The firm employ SEO to increase the visibility of Apple stores. Additionally, the corporation practices content marketing by creating and disseminating promotion videos, audios, and texts through its website. Jackson and Ahuja (2016) state that Apple uses podcasting and banner advertisements to improve brand awareness. Therefore, Apple utilizes equally conventional and digital promotion techniques to increase customer engagement.

Competitive Advantage

Apple has competitive advantages in the product and promotion components of the marketing mix. Apple’s vision prioritizes continuous innovation and product quality (Miles et al., 2020). On the other hand, consumers desire to enjoy new commodities as frequently as possible. Consequently, the firm is outstanding when it comes to the creation and protection of intellectual properties. Apple currently has over 20,000 patents (Danko et al., 2019). Subsequently, the continuous release of captivating commodities has enabled Apple to have significant customer loyalty. The ongoing product development prove that Apple is competitive in utilizing innovation to improve productivity and motivate consumers to always dream about the next Apple product’s features (Good, 2016). Telecommunication entities have been working on the release of gadgets that use the 5G wireless network. However, Apple is already there as it is in the process of launching the iPhone 12, which is 5G enabled, attracting 55% of the total smartphone potential buyers ahead of Samsung’s and Microsoft’s Galaxy Z Fold 2 and Surface Duo, respectively (Sherr & Tibken, 2020). Notably, Apple is the lead innovator.

Apple applies competitive advertising techniques to promote its products. The company excels both in traditional and digital promotion approaches. Apple adopts effective advertising by using strong taglines that increase brand visibility. Batinga et al. (2019) contend that Apple uses symbolic slogans such as “we will reinvent the telephone” in conventional and online marketing. Moreover, the corporation utilizes robust branding methods, incredibly unique naming. For instance, Apple uses the prefix “i” in nearly all commodities’ names to allow the consumers to identify themselves with the products and attribute them with high value (Batinga et al., 2019). Furthermore, the entity manages customer interactions and experiences entirely through traditional and social media advertising. Batinga et al. (2019) postulate that Apple creates brand messages that promote humanity and promise satisfaction, building a healthy company/brand-client connection. Correspondingly, Apple adopts a functional communication mechanism in pushing its products.

Conclusion

Apple is over four decades old, and it has tremendously transformed the telecommunication industry. Although Apple’s inception was an idea of two college dropouts, the company has grown to the world’s amazement. The enterprise competes vigorously with other giant telecommunication companies such as Samsung, Microsoft, and Google, among other sector players, and Apple has managed to sustain competitiveness by leading in profitability, although it lacks behind in sales volume. Apple’s premium product is the iPhone, and it is doing well since all the iPhone versions are marketable. Apple utilizes a premium pricing technique given that its primary customers are high-end consumers, sales the commodities mainly through the physical and online Apple stores, and promote the merchandise through paid commercials and online advertising. The primary competitive advantages are the enhanced innovation that makes consumers obsessed with Apple’s goods and services and accomplished advertising that boost brand awareness and loyalty. Notably, Apple is exceptional in marketing, brand management, and customer experience promotion.

References

Batarfi, R., Guergachi, A., & Wahab, M. (2017). The life cycle of a feature: Modelling the transitions between feature states. The International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, 34(8), 1229-1251. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/IJQRM-08-2015-0120

Batinga, G. L., Pinto, M. d. R., & Guimarães, L. d.,Vasconcelos Machado. (2019). For an understanding of the material world: A biography of the brand ‘Apple’. Cadernos EBAPE.BR, 17(2), 263-276. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/1679-395167383

Danko, T. P., Vyazovikova, A. S., Kiselev, V. M., Rauskiene, O., Klimenko, O. I., Semenova, G. N., & Sekerin, V. D. (2019). Impact of intangible assets on competitive positions of the apple company. Journal of Advanced Research in Law and Economics, 10(6), 1850-1860. http://dx.doi.org/10.14505/jarle.v10.6(44).27

Gehani, R. R. (2016). Sensemaking corporate brand values in the smart-phone industry: Quarterly journal. S.A.M. Advanced Management Journal, 81(4), 37-46.

Good, J. E. (2016). Creating iPhone dreams: Annihilating E-waste nightmares. Canadian Journal of Communication, 41(4), 589-610. http://dx.doi.org/10.22230/cjc.2016v41n4a3058

Jackson, G., & Ahuja, V. (2016). Dawn of the digital age and the evolution of the marketing mix. Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice, 17(3), 170-186. http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/dddmp.2016.3

Kim, Y., Dwivedi, R., Zhang, J., & Jeong, S. R. (2016). Competitive intelligence in social media twitter: IPhone 6 vs. galaxy S5. Online Information Review, 40(1), 42-61. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/OIR-03-2015-0068

Miles, D. A., Garcia, J., Olagundoye, E., Brown, J., Clay, J., Cook, L., . . . Platt, P. (2019). Market research and applied statistics: The Apple store vs. the Microsoft store – A market research study on consumer behavior and retailer sales behavior. Journal of Marketing Perspectives, 1, 75-99.

Sherr, I., & Tibken, S. (2020, October 12). iPhone 12: Apple finally set the date for its latest iPhone’s debut. CNET. https://www.cnet.com/news/iphone-12-coming-october-13-apple-finally-date-event-announcement-screen/

The Associated Press (2020, July 29). Tech CEOs from Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook grilled by Congress on competition. USA Today. https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2020/07/29/ceos-amazon-apple-facebook-google-grilled-lawmakers/5538410002/

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