IPAD Marketing Analysis
The competitive nature of the business environment in view of a globalized economy and a tremendous surge in technological developments on a daily basis has made the playground cut throat to not only sustain but also grow the business.
The success of an organization lies in its undertaking to a thorough investigation of potential opportunities in meeting the needs of the customer wants in accordance with the current trends which make them own the product in view of the image created.
Apple’s iPad has been one product which shows what the company is all about in terms of apple core values and equity as on the top most organization, brand persona in terms of innovation all through the year’s.
Statistically, the success of the marketing strategy can be gauged from the fact that, in the first quarter of 2014, Apple’s iPad and iPhone broke sales record with revenue hitting $57.6 billion in which iPad’s total is $26 million (Aaron Souppouris, 2014).
The marketing strategy of Apple has been a key factor in the success story it has been and, therefore, the report will focus on Apple’s iPad’s Marketing, Branding and Consumer strategy.
The focus will be on how Apple leveraged its key success factors of technology, manufacturing capability of hi-tech products and distribution strategy in lieu with successful marketing analysis and the subsequent plan.
The key focus for the organization are the customer’s it caters to; marketing management takes the lead in researching the customer and the markets, in order to promote strategies and make them user.
Apple as an organization has created a very strong image of the product line with regards to current trends and has a very loyal consumer base in view of its marketing and branding activities which keep them connected with its consumers and also create a new base of customers.
The magic and revolutionary technological aspect took a whole new level with the launch of iPad in January 2010. Launched with high claims with regards to its features and operational capability iPad has been ruling the new roost in the tablet segment of the industry as aforementioned (Aaron Souppouris, 2014), with regards to the revenues it has been able to generate.
The features of the iPad at the launch focused on LED screen, and its size, with touch system the iPad supported Wi-Fi and 3G and was primarily intended for Web, Maps and Applications, Emails that were in essence the value proposition and mission of iPad.
The primary function that iPad supported which created an interest in the consumers were, Ebook through iBooks app and iTune; also it supports Movies and Videos, and also used for gaming also most significantly utilized by professionals for business purposes (Apple History, 2014).
The number generated by iPad supports the fact that the launch was a game changer in the tablet PC section and sold over 300,000 units in its first weekend and by May after the introduction of Wi-Fi and 3G model in April, the numbers went up to 1 million (Rene Ritchie, 2013).
As an organization with a very small product range, the success in terms of revenues and branding is phenomenal, and Apple is the world’s leading & innovative brand in technological products ranging from iPods, iPhone’s, iPad’s, and Mac’s.
Apple as an organization has created an aura around its products and services through its communication, its leadership and technological innovation.
With the launch of iPad, Apple reiterated the fact that it sells ideas and an experience and not merely a product, the idea drives the creativity that has a positive impact on Apple’s business to attain a competitive advantage it enjoys.
The role of the hierarchy is critical in view of making decisions and also creating an image through the decisions made that carry the business both in the short and long run and also a set of decisions that will help the organization in bad times.
An organization of the magnitude of Apple has to explore and comprehend the strategic initiatives in terms of iPad standing in the market and the feasibility of a way forward in a profitable manner.
A marketing analysis is conducted in order to come up with the internal and external issues that are affronted by the organization and how to move ahead accordingly (Robert and David, 2009).
Thus accordingly the issues iPad face in terms of competing with computers and tablet technology and how it integrates in the life style of all and sundry will be explained through the following:
- SWOT Analysis
- Marketing Strategy & Mix
- Consumer Behaviour
- Promotion Mix
- Branding Strategy
The biggest strength is the brand name of the parent company Apple which has helped in the immediate sales of iPad at the launch in millions (Rene Ritchie, 2013). The sales were are expedited by the fact that due to an already successful product line i.e. iPods, iPhones and Mac the effect on sale was immediate by the loyal consumer base of Apple.
The features of the product are also one of the strengths with an extended battery time and the fact that it made the daily activities convenient.
The applications and eco friendly aspect are also of the strong suits of iPads in relation to its competitors.
The retail stores of Apple that saw extended lines at the launch is one the biggest strength as the staff sells the product features and performance in a very effective manner.
The Marketing and Advertising has been also major aspects in terms of delivering the core message of iPad to consumers i.e. magical, revolutionary, stunning, thinner, and lighter.
The ranges of product are limited and only after the launch newer versions were introduced in 2012. Incompatibility with other operating systems as it can only run in iOS operating system. Lack of an external drive for data transfers (Daniel Nations, 2013).
Patent infringement battles with Samsung impeding the brand value (Bryan Bishop, 2012). Issues of 3G availability in emerging markets are affecting sales.
The sales of iPad suggest that the market share will be strengthened with time and thus iPad mini as a new product is also launched to keep the revenues coming. Launch new products with new features in view of the expanding tablet market which will only grow with time (Rene Ritchie, 2013).
The competition is thick and strong as evident by Amazons Kindle Fire, Barnes and Noble’s Nook Tablet, Google Nexus and Windows tablet which has a supreme operating system than iPad’s (Jared Newman, 2012).
No low end product will eventually result in people going for competitor’s tablets and the pace of change and innovation will eventually catch up with Apple if they done keep the system updated consistently in terms of features.
Android is dominating Apple iOS and most significantly iTunes are directly threatened by Amazon and other online subscription companies.
Marketing Strategy & Mix
The marketing mix and strategy will entail the 4 P’s i.e. Product, Price, Place and Promotion which in essence helps the marketing team to create a demand through the communication and marketing collaterals used in Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC).
The marketing strategy of iPad is heavily focused on the product’s features in view of the category getting crowded with competition. And with the launch of the new iPad tablets, the intent is to maintain the dominance. From a marketing perspective, the specs of different products also herald a push to gain share lower price points with Google and Amazon. The newest version is lighter and thinner and has hardware improvements and a powerful processor. Giving premium product experience (Omer El Akkad, 2013).
The price of iPad is based upon the brand reputation of Apple; however the pricing strategy also takes into account the competition. The pricing strategy as evident by $500 for iPad Air and $400 for iPad mini suggests that Apple’s iPad will hold the high end of the market and the cut throat business will happen at the bottom tier.
Price cut is one strategy to counter cheaper product of competitors. Especially Google’s Android OS, which has affected the price conscious consumer and affected iPad’s business (Omer El Akkad, 2013).
Apple has very intelligently promoted their retail stores and Apple outlets as the key place to buy its product.
In the case of iPad, the retail stores were a key aspect of the promotion as it helped to launch the product in the mind of the consumers even before it was launched through customer service and marketing related questions.
Emails were also sent to all consumers, this strategy was applied by taking the emails of all the walk-in customers at Apple stores.
In a globalized world iPad is now sold all over the world, even in places like India where there are still issues with regards to 3G technology.
The key to promotion is to focus on the emotive connect of the established consumers and create new ones with advertising communication that creates a subliminal impact on the minds. In one of Apple's iPad ad campaign, the promotion was shown in view of the promotes 300,000 apps "for everything you love" and this focused on Apple's strong software lead ahead of Android, Windows Phone, Samsung's Bada, BlackBerry and other mobile platforms (Daniel Eran Dilger, 2013).
iPad’s promotion is done through an integrated marketing communication (IMC) plan, and Apple utilized social media genre i.e. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and has been using both tactical strategies i.e. giveaway and also strategic intent to promote iPad aggressively (WalkerTek, 2010).
In marketing analysis consumer behaviour is of prime importance in view of the fact that, from a behaviour perspective, the actions taken by a consumer to purchase a product is governed by numerous factors most prominently the attitude of the consumer towards a brand or an organization.
A consumer can have a positive perception for iPad and negative perception for competitor products and vice versa, however, it is important to note that the most important factor is the feeling of must have’ created by the brand aura. As stated by Lisa Feldman Barrett (2012) in her article and quoted by Peter Noel Murray (2012), that it is the desire to be part of the group creates a craving and the ‘must have’ enters the mind.
The brand image does help a lot in fostering a positive behavioural reaction in terms of buying and also positive word of mouth about iPad. The marketing communication of iPad helps in creating an image, in the minds of the consumers in terms of the product’s features and thus, forging a brand connection by showing both the product and functional attributes.
The product attributes shows the design and colour and the logo while the functional attributes envisage the usage of iPad as showing people enjoying music, video and doing work.
The campaign ‘How Green is iPad’ is a case in point, as it focused on a niche consumer, the environmentalist, still the message was relayed for the masses in terms of the utilization of recycled glass and aluminium, mercury free LCD and power utilization for battery and most significantly the emission produced by the iPad (Stephanie Buck, 2012).
The iPad consumer and their behaviour eventually do vary, from pre-school kids to retirees, the iPad satisfies the needs and wants of all with its applications and features in a very efficient and effective manner.
The promotional mix is one of the primary tools utilized by marketers to build a brand and, increase the sales by utilizing multichannel communication strategy. Advertising, Personal selling, social media, corporate communication (newsletters, magazines and product brochure), brand activation (outdoor) are some of the main promotional mix tools (Kristie Lorette, 2014).
The most important element of the promotional mix is getting the brand recognized and then result in eventual sales. In the case of iPad it came with one of the most prestigious brand names in Apple, and thus, the sales amounted to 1 million units in three months since its launch as mentioned in the background section.
Besides the TV campaigns discussed above and many other TV campaigns the intent has always been to promote iPad as a revolutionary, slick, magical and out of the box product.
Some campaigns as shown on My iPad News (2012), shows the promotional mix in terms of the target audience as the communication is geared differently for different consumer segments.
Social media and websites are utilized as collaterals in the promotional mix both for strategic and tactical campaigns as seen above in How green am I campaigns and also tactical campaign as elucidated in the Walkertek (2010) campaign.
The Late Steve Jobs using his stature promoted iPad with regards to its features and his speech in essence activated the brand ‘iPad’ in the minds of the consumers.
Apple is one of the biggest brands in the world and it has replaced Coca Cola as the best global brand and has revolutionized the way consumers work, play and communicate (Interbrand, 2013).
Corporate brands will be the only successful area of new brand building in the future. As the technology makes all products similar, Consumers will increasingly depend on their evaluation of any product by virtue of its corporate brand and that is what happened with iPad in lieu with Apple.
According to an article in Forbes by Glenn Llopis (2014), the 6 brand strategies detailed are the ones that iPad has followed successfully to be a brand strategic success.
Apple created path breaking product with iPad that in essence launched a new category and create consumer engagements in a creative manner through tactical campaigns and apple store activations.
The unique selling proposition i.e. the ‘experience’ that iPad associates itself with, and has established an identity that is relatable with the core consumers of brand Apple i.e. technology savvy and identification as an Apple consumer.
As a category, launching brand it has been an inspiration to not only its consumers, but also the industry in general as the brand to follow.
With the launch of iPad in 2010, new features as discussed were added and in 2012 new iPad were launched to create new revenue streams and satisfy the needs and wants of the loyal consumer base.
Not only iPad took into account the ecosystem friendly aspect in view of its screen but also a portion of sales is donated to charities globally by Apple.
iPad’s legacy is the capability of advancement in learning that it has provided and has made a great difference in the lives of people. The six aspects mentioned have helped iPad become one of the best consumer brands.
On a concluding note, the author wants to reiterate the fact that Apple’s revolutionary iPad has been a path breaking and one of the most impactful innovations of the 21st century which changed the life style and impacted on people lives from all aspects be it personal or professional.
The recommendations with regards to the study are as follows:
- Focus should be on improving product features making it more user friendly to maintain its dominance in the sector. With the influx of competitive products, it is important to keep the pace in terms of technological innovation.
- The price factor is a very significant aspect which needs to be taken into account as competition is winning consumers who focus on low end product, however, with regards to the first quarter result of iPad in 2014, iPad is growing strong, however the strategy to sell the old model is good for now, but in future new products with cost as a major USP should be launched to counter the competition.
- Focus groups, interviews, questionnaire and interactive sessions should be held on a constant basis to get input from the consumers. This will help in bettering the product and also gain first hand information with regards to competition and eventually create products with regards to the needs and wants of the consumer’s.
- And lastly, the author recommends that Apple come up with thematic brand activations and use tactical strategies in terms of rewarding the consumer’s and keep the emotive connect strong. T Media Activation, On Ground activities and In Store activities are some of the avenues which can be utilized for activating the brand in the minds of the consumers.
The future hold bright for iPads, in fulfilling its market potential in an effective manner and with strong product line and consistent attempt for innovation, led by a visionary leadership team and an efficient business model will only help in enhancing the true potential of Apple’s iPad.
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