Marketing is a strategic discipline that underpins other business activities and a corporate strategy (Groucutt and Hopkins, 2015, p.3). However, what is essential is that the business meets the needs of the customers. Typically, the interface between marketing and other business functions takes two forms; firstly, it is essential in developing business plans by coordinating with financial, personnel, procurement, R & D plans, and other strategic functions. Besides, marketing allows for the incorporation of marketing inputs in other corporate plans. Therefore, the relationship between marketing and other business functions such as finance, production, accounting, procurement, among others, is necessary for the success of any business enterprise. This paper provides a comprehensive understanding of marketing’s nature at Apple Inc. and the interdependencies between marketing and other business functions.
Apple Inc. is a leading international company producing various electronic products. The market performance of the company remains exemplary as it accomplishes its goals and objectives on time. Usually, the company launches new products annually to facilitate its attachment and retention of customers. The company focuses on specifications and design and the delivery of products to its customers.
Marketing Concept and Trend
Apple Inc. continues to use relationship marketing, which stresses consumer satisfaction and retention. Typically, communication between the marketing team and customers extends beyond regular promotional messages, making relationship marketing unique from other marketing trends. There occur more pleasant exchanges between transacting parties. In the case of Apple, customers have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with new gadgets and computers through the Apple Store. As a result, the company gets to know customers’ likes and dislikes and subsequently empowers it to understand what to keep doing and avoid keeping their clients loyal.
Functions of Marketing
Marketing facilitates the financing of the company. A business must use the money to make money. Efficient marketing enables Apple Inc. to access external finances from shareholders and investors who desire to inject their money into the business. Consequently, the company’s operations remain subjected to unlimited financing. Therefore, effective marketing is an essential means through which a company gains access to external funding.
Marketing facilitates in-depth market research. The market landscape remains dynamic, which enhances competition levels. To maintain relevance, a company must ensure it remains savvy to the new market developments. Typically, market research entails gathering relevant information about the target customers. A successful company like Apple conducts market research on who to sell the products to and why they should buy from it. Efficient answering of the questions will enable a business must engage in on-the-ground observation of the market trends and competing products. In-depth market research enables Apple Inc. to gain access to market information through efficient marketing.
Also, marketing enhances product promotion and customer service. Usually, the success of a business depends on promotional strategies and its relationship with its customers. After determining the target market and setting prices, the business must listen and respond to its needs and wants (Armstrong et al., 2014, p.20). Consequently, the company’s products are subjected to high demand. Therefore, product promotion and efficient customer service highly depend on the nature of a company’s marketing. Apple Inc. is one of the few companies with efficient marketing strategies.
The Interrelationship of Marketing with Other Company Functions
Marketing and Finance
Properly conceived marketing plans entail financial dimensions. For example, Apple’s marketing plan includes its cost and profit history, pro forma financial statements, budgets, and related marketing strategies. Although the marketing-finance interface is mostly used to exchange concepts and approached for better inputs, it is also an essential element in achieving a business’s financial objectives. For example, Apple Inc. incorporates a marketing approach to financial decisions such as the utilization of annual financial reports to evaluate the responses related to a price change, investors’ ad customers’ expectations, as well as the market price of its shares. As a result, the company gains access to funds essential in promoting innovation and efficient customer service.
Marketing and Research & Development (R&D)
Apple Inc. closely links its R&D with marketing to ensure efficient product development. For decades, many companies have failed to link their marketing efforts to R&D, resulting in products that accomplish the engineers’ dreams but remain a nightmare. However, avoiding the detachment of the R&D from marketing inputs requires a sufficient understanding of the two concepts. Typically, the linking element revolves around the new product development efforts of the company. In this regard, Apple links the two elements, thereby ensuring customer-oriented rather than engineer-oriented products.
Marketing and Customer Service
Pre-and post-purchase customer services characterize Apple products. Studies show that customer service should be viewed as a primary marketing tool. However, it remains under the indirect control of marketing. Therefore, a company needs to empirically assess this component’s significance to various stakeholders, such as consumers and channel members. Usually, the service department of any company is established to address the customers’ complaints. Regardless of the outcome of these complaints, they still impact a firm’s marketing decisions. They can offer relevant information needed for product improvement and the generation of new ideas. In Apple’s case, its customer service department ensures the customer needs and complaints are attended to, which has significantly transformed the landscape of its production to meet customer needs.
Marketing Plan for Apple iPhone 6
A marketing plan is a well-written document detailed with information regarding target markets, marketing programs, resources to be used, budget, and timescales (Brassington and Pettitt, 2012, p. 502). Typically, a marketing plan provides an opportunity for a company to outline its operational details and turns strategies into implementable actions. Usually, most companies develop their marketing plans annually. However, the focus varies with the type of organization. This plan may be based on its geographical setup, products, or orientation towards specific segments. Therefore, an efficient marketing plan forms the basis of the success or failure of a business.
The marketing objectives are divided into three phases;
A pre-launch will be carried out in the first phase, three months before the iPhone 6 is officially released into the market. With the increasing use of social media platforms, the marketing division will upload and spread a trailer of the iPhone 6. Nowadays, people have become more responsive to new products on the internet. However, key features and hardware will be withheld from the public until the launch date.
The second phase entails the launch month and release of the product to the market. The iPhone 6 will be released to authorized sellers and bundled packages based on limited production.
Finally, in the third phase, the iPhone 6 will be sold to online customers at an estimated gain of 50% of the target market. During this phase, the product will fully be introduced into the market, with sellers from across the world gaining access.
Market Scan for iPhone 6
Market scanning is a process in which a company continually monitors internal and external environments to identify customer needs, technological changes, and competitive actions that provide market opportunities or disruptions.
The iPhone 6 products are distinct and have recognizable features that distinguish them from other models like Samsung. Apple continues to provide stiff competition in the market. It has created a mark by being one of the largest smartphone producers in the world. Typically, the iPhone 6’s value proposition has seen the company enhance its market presence. Studies show that the product continues to attract a robust market base in the US and worldwide. Since many people tend to affiliate themselves with fashion, iPhone 6 models enable them to keep up with the market trends. As a result, the company has recorded a significant increase in revenue since its launch. Besides, the product enables the company to keep up with the market competition while also locating new markets. The distinct features of the iPhone 6 remain critical in boosting the company’s relevance in the market.
Moreover, the increasing demand for more innovative products provides a platform for the company to continue producing consumer-driven products such as iPhone 6. Ideally, the vast untapped smartphone market means that Apple has an opportunity to enhance its sales. Besides, the company has identified the increasing use of multimedia data among the consumers, prompting the company to invest in innovation and produce better devices. Since owning a smartphone with necessary features has become common, introducing the iPhone 6 has increased Apple’s market profile. The iPhone 6 enabled users to access information through real-time approaches. Therefore, the increasing interest in innovative products has enabled Apple to gain access to a booming business opportunity, which it has utilized to enhance its market presence and increase its market share.
iPhone 6 models’ unique features, such as unique look and distinct feel, attract loyal customers. The model is endowed with a multi-touch screen. The unique features can be associated with the creative designs that the company continues to employ. While the company’s internal environment shows a supportive trend, its external environment motivates its human resource. Ideally, the employees value the company because of its innovative, creative company’s d productive aspects. One would argue that the design consistenprovidesmotivateprovidesPhone 6 model gives Apple Inc. a market hit. The models are usually similar in outlook. The company does not employ significant changes in the models’ physical appearance since it focuses on the internal structure and features rather than the outward appearance. The unique features. The company and iPhone 6 model a vast market base, especially from loyal customers.
Additionally, the company’s multidivisional structure facilitated smooth operation and increased iPhone 6 models’ sales. Such a structure enhances its productivity by focusing on meeting consumer needs rather than creating an extensive burden on its top management. The multidivisional structure stipulates the roles of every personnel. On the other hand, producing quality products has prompted the company to impose high prices on iPhone 6 models as the multidivisional structure believes it is a value-based strategy. Evidently, with such brand equity, the company continues to target the top-grade segment of the market. However, the models remain costlier than other market competitions, such as Samsung who offer similar features at lower prices. Therefore, iPhone 6 models have increased sales resulting from the multidivisional structure despite the exorbitant price rates that characterize the Apple products and the availability of substitute products such as Samsung.
The strategy of the iPhone 6 is customer-based. Typically, knowing customers’ needs and wants forms the basis of this product. As a result, it is still the customers’ preferred product despite giving a slightly high price than the competitors.
The Marketing Mix (7Ps)
Product is an essential element in the marketing mix. It influences other variables that determine the product’s quality (JOBBER and CHADWICK, 2012, p.19). The iPhone 6 is equally exclusive to other Apple products. Typically, the base price of the product ranges from $900 to $1068. The price tactics that we will apply will encompass psychological and anchoring price, which does not affect the consumers’ needs. Therefore, the price mentioned above will attract consumers, as they will think that the price is not higher. On the other hand, the anchoring price above $1068 will make the product appear luxurious.
This trending product entails the newest technology, and business people will buy this product due to its versatility and new apps such as iCloud, Health app, and Podcast, among others. The iCloud will enable related business people to synchronize their devices, which will enhance their communication processes. A notable feature of this product is its ability to combine documents from all Apple devices in one place. Although iPhone 6 remains the preferred smartphone among business people, it faces competition from Samsung Galaxy S III. This product has also been successful, having replaced previous models. It is endowed with similar features as iPhone 6 and is seen as a substitute product. However, the additional features in iPhone 6, including the Health app, gives it a slight advantage over the Samsung product. The explanations above also indicate that the price will be higher than the Samsung Galaxy S III.
Productivity and Quality
Apple company not only produces limited products, but it also produces products of high quality. The preciseness of the target market means that only a few products would meet their demands. On the other hand, the high quality of the iPhone 6 enables the company to charge premium prices. Besides, the employees are efficiently trained to deal with the defects that may accrue during product use. With increasing competition from Samsung Galaxy S III, Apple company ensures the iPhone 6 model remains ahead of the latter by launching a unique program in which defective batteries will be replaced. As a result, consumers will prefer the product rather than a substitute.
The company headquarter is located in California. However, multiple independent service providers from part of its Consulting Network. These service providers are efficiently trained to deal with genuine iPhone 6 products with a strategic location in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. Besides, the company has over 200 stores across the US, UK, and Canada. The product is distributed through Apple Stores and other online platforms. The company’s close relationship with its partners gives the iPhone 6 an advantage over Samsung Galaxy S III as it avoids the hassle of distribution.
A unique operating system and process characterize the company. Although it has multiple production units worldwide, there is a systematic process for all of its products. The process is simple but highly sophisticated. For example, the products have unique website architecture. The employees are highly skilled and experienced. Besides, the company collects feedback from all its Stores and incorporates them in its Change Implementation Plans. Also, the company fosters bold public relations with its customers. Therefore, the reasons above enable the iPhone 6 to have an advantage over the Samsung Galaxy S III.
Apple Inc. incorporates elegance in the promotion of its products. The company’s prime goals focus on the products, which give the iPhone 6 an advantage over the Samsung Galaxy S III. Usually, the Apple promotional ads are precise and straightforward with elegant color choices. Besides, continued advertisements foster good communication and maintain a customer base. Typically, the company does not provide price-based offers since its premium prices help retain customer price and differentiate it from Samsung Galaxy S III.
Timothy Donald is the current Chief Executive Officer, having served under the company’s founder, Steve Jobs. The company has several non-executive members who monitor its daily operations. Besides, Apple employees are highly skilled and experienced who offer a high level of repair services and other services such as data transfer, data recovery, and system updates. The exclusive technological elements that characterize the employees facilitate the production of customer-based products. The employees are also trained to handle customers efficiently. The executive also remains conversant with the brand’s popularity in the market and strives to maintain its status. All the reasons above give the iPhone 6 a competitive advantage over Samsung Galaxy S III.
The price of Apple products is premium. It employs a Premium and Skimming Pricing Strategy involving high prices during a product launch. However, with time the prices are subsidized, making the brands affordable to all. Usually, the price of Apple products is dependent on the life cycle of a brand. For example, the annual launch of brands makes the previously existing brands less popular, resulting in a price reduction. In contrast, Samsung products employ a Penetration Pricing Strategy with appreciating prices as demand increases.
The Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning (STP) Analysis
The STP is a strategy that enables a company to identify the nature and diversity of customers’ needs and wants in the market (Brassington and Pettitt, 2012, p. 132). Through STP, Apple will determine the different needs and wants and identify the segments within the product-market of interest. Typically, the company targets well-off individuals who are willing to pay extra for its products with advanced design, function, and capabilities. It will use the behavioral, demographic, and psychographic factors in segmenting its customer base. Similarly, it will use the pleasant and differentiated targeting strategies to remain a top player in the smartphone market despite imposing a premium price iPhone 6 model. Additionally, it will adopt the usage and benefit based positioning strategies to differentiate the product from other players such as Samsung.
Resource Utilization Plan
The company has allocated $79.9 million for the advertisement of iPhone 6 for the period December 2020 to February 2020.
Monitoring and Control Plan
The company will monitor customer feedback through polls and surveys. Access to customers will be based on an online poll through the internet with specific questions about the iPhone 6 model’s quality. Besides, the marketing groups will conduct individual interviews by phone.
Target Market Sales
Identifying the target sales will be done through market surveys to measure iPhone 6 sold and revenue generated. Besides, the company will also use retail partners in identifying the target market sales.
The company will control its budget spending by monitoring its marketing budget, including travel expenses for trade shows and its marketing department’s internal cost to minimize spending and maximize profitability.
Market Share Milestone
The Apple company will project the marketplace changes at the end of the plan to determine the iPhone 6’s market share.
This marketing plan section entails a strategy for marketing iPhone 6 model. It illustrates the Apple company market mix, including product, productivity and quality, price, place, process, promotion, and people. The market mix identifies the competitive advantages that the iPhone 6 model has over Samsung Galaxy S III. This section also demonstrates Apple’s STP analysis, in which segmentation is based on demographic, behavioral, and psychographic factors. On targeting, the company uses a nice and differentiation strategy while it adopts a usage and benefit based positioning strategy. Additionally, this section outlines the company’s resource utilization and monitoring plans.
The company should introduce moderate products to meet the needs of average consumers. Apple products are offered at premium prices that only target high-income earners and subsequently remain unpopular among average customers. As a result, the average consumers opt for outdated models launched probably in the past three years. This reduces the market base for newly launched products.
Also, there is a need for the company to find other ways to differentiate its products since other countries tend to produce replica iPhone products. As a result, the company has struggled to maintain its image in the current competitive market structure.
The interrelationship between marketing functions and affiliated business functions remains integral in the success of a business. As a leading smartphone manufacturer, Apple’s marketing plan integrates other business functions such as finance and customer service to maintain its relevance in the increasingly competitive market landscape. The company has an efficient market mix involving the 7Ps that has enhanced its competitiveness in the market. Besides, there is a clearly outlined market segmentation, targeting, and positioning structure. There is a need for other companies like Samsung to adopt efficient marketing strategies to keep up with the competition from Apple Inc.
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