Marketing Plan of iPhone
This marketing plan is based on the development of marketing strategies for Apple’s iPhone 4S which is an innovative multimedia phone developed by Apple Inc. In performing the development of marketing strategies, a critical analysis of the background information of Apple Inc and its product iPhone 4S has been performed which suggests that Apple iPhone 4S is a revolutionary product by Apple which offers a wide range of features including internet, music, tracking stock market etc. In developing a successful marketing strategy, an internal as well as external environment analysis is performed through considering PESTEL and SWOT analytical tools and the analysis indicates that the market for smart phone is showing an improvement trend and the internal soundness of Apple Inc is also found to be effective. The performance of internal and external environment analysis is followed by the identification of target market and the most appropriate target market selected is the young people having flair of using multimedia phones and also the stock market and other professionals that need internet facilities on the go. The identification of target market is followed by the setting up of marketing objectives which has been to attain the leading position in the entire mobile phone market and in attaining such objectives, the marketing strategies considered effective is the combination of market penetration and market development strategy. Finally, the implementation and control plan has been developed which suggests that manager should posses certain skills for the effective implementation of marketing strategies for iPhone 4S.
Background Information about Apple Inc and Its Product, iPhone 4s
Apple Inc is a US based Multinational Corporation that specialises in the manufacturing of the innovative IT equipments. The company produces a wide range of electronic equipments ranging from personal computers to mobile phones and iPods. Apple Inc has significant reputation in the entire electronics industry as one of the most successful company in the world. The company pursues a strong innovative culture whereby each of its employees is encouraged to perform innovation in the equipments manufactured by them. Among the various products included in the product category of the company such as Mac Pro, the iMac, the MacBook, the iPod; shuffle, nano, iPhone etc, the product that has been chosen for developing an effective marketing plan is iPhone 4s. iPhone is the most important product designed and marketed by Apple Inc and the phone was first introduced by the past CEO of the company Steve Jobs (Apple Inc, 2012).
The development of iPhones began in 2005 by the company and since then, it has launched a range of iPhone models and each time it launches an iPhone, it characterizes advanced features over the earlier one. As for instance, the latest version of iPhone by Apple is iPhone 4S that includes a wide range of functions and features which distinguishes it from the other phones available in the market. For instance, the Apple iPhone 4S have a video camera, portable media player, an Internet client with email, web browsing capabilities, wifi and 3G connectivity and various other facilities. The product is offered in various patterns with different sizes and storage capacities of 16GB and 32 GB. The iPhone 4S has better features and capabilities among all other models that have been launched by the company in the past (Apple Inc, 2012).
The success of a product depends upon the effectiveness of marketing strategies adopted by the firm. The existing literature suggests that marketing strategies has a crucial role to play in allowing firms to make their customers aware of the products and services offering of the firm. The marketing strategies are crucial for firm’s success as indicated by Ferrell and Hartine (2010) as the main aim of the organization is to achieve higher growth by selling more products and this could possibly be attained through an effective marketing program in operations. The marketing strategy of a firm should be based on finding ways that would allow the firm to not only satisfies the needs of all the stakeholders of the organization, but it also leads to the successful attainment of organizational goals. There are two important features of marketing strategies as identified by Ferrell and Hartine (2010) which suggest that it is people driven and it never remains stagnant (Ferrell and Hartline, 2010).
In the words of Perreault (2006), an effective marketing strategy helps the firm in ensuring a proper match between its resources and the opportunities that are available in the market. However, an important consideration to be made in the development of marketing strategy is to develop one such strategy at a time rather than developing too many strategies at once. This is because, the development of too many strategies at a time leads to the failure of the entire marketing program (Perreault, 2006). The need for a solid marketing strategy is highly essential for a firm to succeed, as a sound marketing strategy allows the firm to reach its target customers and thereby offers the opportunity to achieve higher growth. However, it is essential that the marketing strategy of a firm should consider a wide range of aspects including the knowledge of the industry, competitors and their strategies, market projections and customer’s expectations from the product (Doole and Lowe, 2008).
Situation analysis is an important component of a marketing plan and it is concerned with analyzing the internal and external environment of the organization. A proper analysis of internal and external environment allows the opportunity to the firm in developing effective marketing strategies through which it can enjoy higher chances of success in the market (Smith and Zook 2011). With respect to Apple iPhone 4S, an analysis of the external and internal business environment is performed as follows:
Analysis of External Business Environment: The external environment of an organization comprises of various important factors that have a direct impact on its overall performance. The most important factors included in case of external business environment are discussed as follows:
- Political Factor: The political conditions prevailing in the economy have a direct impact on organizational performance, as for instance, in case of mobile phone industry in US, Congress is aimed at imposing internet regulations and this in turn would act as a major barrier for Apple to developing innovating internet applications for its new iPhones in the future.
- Economic Factor: The economic trend with respect to electronic equipments such as cell phones has declined recently particularly because of the recession that has adversely affected the disposable income and investment in the costly equipments has declined ultimately. The premium position of Apple in terms of costlier iPhones leaves it at a disadvantageous position.
- Socio-cultural Factor: The social trends as prevalent among the consumers of IT products across the world is quite changing as there is an increasing demand of portable consumer products as reflected in the social needs of consumers. Apart from this, the social trends also indicates that there is a higher demand of on-the-go devises among consumers which requires Apple to make alterations to its products as per the prevailing social trends.
- Technological Factor: With respect to the technological factor, the trends for electronic equipments such as mobile phones indicates that consumer prefers those cell phones that offer them technologically sound applications on their mobile phones. Technological innovation is highly prevalent in the entire electronics industry and Apple Inc has the advantageous position in the sense that the company also pursues an innovative culture in its existing operations.
- Demographic Factor: The demographic factor is highly crucial in case of electronics industry and the pattern for usage of mobile devises indicates that the costly products such as Apple iPhones are mainly preferred by young age people and that business professional that needs internet connectivity on the go. Apart from this, professionals working in the stock market industry also need Apple iPhone because of support that they achieve from using such phones.
In addition to all these factors, the external environment audit necessitates the need for analyzing the competitors in the industry. With respect to Apple iPhone 4S, the introduction of such phone by Apple has given rise to stiff competition in the mobile phone industry, as the competitors such as Samsung, BlackBerry, Nokia, Motorolla etc has also launched mobile phones with similar features and price range as that of Apple’s iPhone 4S. For instance, the Apple iPhone 4S is regarded as closely followed the features as offered by Samsung Gallaxy S2 and because of having large number of mobile providers, the level of competition faced by Apple iPhone 4S is huge (Ionescu, 2011).
Apart from the external environment analysis, it is also essential to consider the internal environment of Apple with respect to its iPhone products. An internal audit of Apple iPhone through SWOT analysis is performed as follows:
Strengths: As far as the strengths of iPhone 4S is concerned, there are various strengths associated with the iPhone 4S such as multiple features in a single devise, cool devise designs, easy to use, higher brand reputation as it being the Apple’s product, great physical design, durability, better support to internet connection, unisex phone, longer battery life, integration of advanced applications, quality videos and music etc.
Weaknesses: Apart from having several strengths, the weaknesses associated with it includes highly expensive as compared to other mobile phones offering similar kinds of features, catering to the needs of higher end consumers only (Apple iPhone Review - Advantages and Disadvantages of Apple iPhone, 2012).
Opportunities: As far as the opportunity to iPhone 4S product of Apple, the major opportunity is the higher growth rate of the smart phone segment, higher preference for innovative mobile phones among the consumers, improving consumer buying potential because of recovery of economies from financial crisis of 2008 etc. All these provides significant opportunity to Apple iPhone 4S in creating a good share in the mobile phone market.
Threats: The main threat to Apple iPhone 4S is from the increasing competition in the industry especially from Samsung and Blackberry, changing regulations for internet in mobile phone devises in countries such as US etc. These threats act as a major barrier to the company in achieving higher growth for its iPhones in the mobile industry Apple iPhone Review - Advantages and Disadvantages of Apple iPhone, 2012
The selection of an appropriate target market is highly essential for a company in successfully launching its products in the market and thereby to attain higher success in terms of greater overall growth. An appropriate selection of target market would ensure the effective positioning of the product among the targeted consumers for whom the product has been designed and ultimately ensures higher level of success. However, before making the selectuion of an appropriate target market for its product, a company should perform a critical research of the market so that the trends and expectations of the customer can be identified and better targeting strategic can be developed (Pride and Ferrell, 2012). The performance of market research for iPhone 4S indicates that the most common trends among the consumers indicates that customers expect various features to be supported by the multimedia phones such as 4G connectivity, better sound quality and video capturing devises, full support for internet connectivity, better application support, better features in comparison to similar products of the company as launched in the past etc. iPhone 4S Released, But Does Not Meet Expectations, 2011
Consumer Behavior: In case of the multimedia mobile phone industry, the selection of an appropriate target market requires a proper analysis of the behavior shown by consumers. An analysis of the consumer behavior would allow the firm to devise the most appropriate strategy in targeting its potential customers in a manner as desired by them (Lake, 2009). As for instance, the analysis of the consumer behavior from the multimedia mobile phone devises indicates that consumer uses the smart phones as mobile computers rather than just a cell phone for contacting others. Thus, a mobile phone offering the facility of using it as a computer devise would likely to achieve higher success as reflected by the behaviors of consumers for such smart phone devices.
Selection of Target Market Segment and Positioning for iPhone 4S: With respect to the Apple iPhone, in successfully marketing its iPhone 4S, the target market segment that would be considered appropriate are the young people in the age group of 22 years to 35 years because they have the flair to use highly innovative and multimedia phones as indicated by the market research (Kleinmann, Chen, Jaderstrom, Pinkerton and ONeil, 2012). Working on internet and listening music are quite common trends among young people and since, Apple iPhone 4S possess especial quality in terms of sound and providing internet connectivity platform; it could be highly suited to those young people. Apart from this, the Apple also provides a large number of stock market applications for its iPhones that allows the users to keep a track of all the stock market activities. Thus, the iPhone 4S could also be targeted at the stock market professionals that keep an eye on the stock market performance while on the move as the internet connectivity and specific iPhone stock market applications would effectively allow the company in satisfying the needs of its target customers, and also on the young people that have a flair of using multimedia mobile phones (Hughes, 2011).
Apart from the selection of target market, it is also highly essential that the product should be effectively positioned among the selected target markets for better results. Market positioning is related to the arrangement of the product in order to have a clear desirable and distinctive position in the minds of the consumer in better way that the other competing products. With such considerations the company would be able to position its product in the target market in a unique way. The company would have a competitive position in the future run if it positions its products to good level in the entire market of multi media phone industry (Sengupta, 2005). The market for multimedia phone devises indicates that there are various mobile phone operators providing similar kinds and features of mobile phones as that of Apple’s iPhone 4S and in particular, the Samsung’s Galaxy SII competes heavily in comparison to Apple’s iPhone. Further, as Apple is known as the highly innovative company in the entire mobile phone industry, it could position its Phone as the most innovative products that include distinctive characteristics. Apple’s iPhone 4S is highly suited to those customers who looks for quality sound and longer battery life from its products and as such, these advantageous features can be used to position it as a mostly innovative phone in the industry.
Marketing Objectives Setting
The success of the marketing plan for iPhone 4S requires the statement of certain specific marketing objectives that could act as a guiding factor from the entire marketing program. Every company has certain objectives from marketing its product which is to create higher level of awareness among its target consumers and achieve higher recognition for its product in the market. With respect to the iPhone 4S, the marketing objectives are stated as follows:
- To attain higher level of awareness and acceptance of iPhone 4S among the targeted consumers so that higher market shares in the entire mobile phone industry can be achieved.
- To attain the leading position in terms of innovative multimedia mobile phone providers in the entire industry.
- To became the first choice of customers while they decide to purchase multimedia devises.
- To make its target consumers identify that all the personal and business needs can be met with iPhone 4S.
- To promote it as a complete solution in performing a wide range of e-commerce activities.
These are the major marketing objectives that the company wished to attain from marketing its iPhone 4S.
In order to effectively meet out the marketing objectives, it is essential to make considerations for certain marketing strategies. In effectively attaining the higher market share which has been the primary objectives in marketing iPhone 4S, the marketing strategy that is considered appropriate is the combination of market penetration strategy and market development strategy. In case of the market penetration strategy, the focus is on increasing the sales of products by undertaking various initiatives such as altering the purchase patterns of existing customer, so that they can be persuaded to but the company’s product. It also involves the attraction of users of the competitor’s product so that sales can be increased and higher market share can be attained (Cavusgil and Zou, 1994). By following the market penetration strategy in marketing iPhone 4S, the customers of Samsung Galaxy S2 and other similar products can be attracted. For instance, the special consideration that is required to be made while penetrating the iPhone 4S in the market is to engage in critical promotion of the specific features of iPhone to the customer such as longer battery time, higher sound quality, retina display, capability to support wide range of applications and programs, technical details about its core processors etc.
Apart from the market penetration, the market development strategy should also be partially considered because the past models of Apple’s iPhone are already popular among the customers across the world, and this knowledge about the Apple’s iPhone can be used as a basis in selling its new version of iPhone 4S. The knowledge of the product is the major advantage in case of market development strategy (Dickson and Ginter, 1987) and this strategy could highly beneficial to Apple in marketing its iPhone 4S and thereby in creating an impact on its target consumers (Stevens, Sherwood and Dunn, 1993).
Implementation of Marketing Plan: This is the final process in effectively attaining the marketing goals of the organization i.e. to implement the various kinds of marketing strategies that have been proposed. This is the most crucial process as the literature indicates that majority of the marketing plans fails because of ineffective marketing implementation strategies. The main task that is essential to be performed in the implementation of marketing plan is the conversion of marketing strategies into action plans. However, a proper and continuous monitoring of the actions plan is highly essential to ensure that timely execution of all the stages is performed in a most effective manner. With respect to the implementation of product development and market development strategies at Apple Inc for its iPhone 4S, it would be the prime responsibility of the top management to ensure that the implementation process is performed effectively (Havaldar, 2005).
The literature indicates that there are various challenges that are to be faced by managers in performing the implementation of marketing plan and majority of the challenges are posed by other functions of the organization such as production, R&D, advertising and industrial engineering. In case of Apple Inc, the managers need to consider the expectations of all its functions so that any kinds of challenges from any of these functional areas can be effectively dealt with. However, in the successful implementation of marketing plan, there are certain skills that are needed on the part of managers for the purpose of effective implementation of marketing plans and these include allocating, monitoring, organizing and interacting. Through the allocation skills, managers at Apple Inc can perform the most effective allocation of resources in various activities included in the marketing strategies such as promotion, advertising, etc. The organizing skills would allow for the organization of all the tasks and they can be monitored continuously to check whether they are being implemented according to plans (Havaldar, 2005).
Thus, the analysis indicates that the task of implementation is very important and difficult one as well, as it requires managers to proactively involve in the process of implementation of all the tasks.
Control of Marketing Plan: Apart from implementing the marketing plan, it is essential for the managers that they should ensure proper control of all the activities that are essential to be performed in the implementation of marketing strategy process. For instance, the managers need to continuously monitor that all the activities are performed as per the planning while implementing marketing strategies into actions. As for instance, the effectiveness of the marketing plan can be checked against the successful attainment of its main objectives from the implementation and any kinds of deviations need to be controlled through proactive actions by the management.
The development of marketing plan for Apple Inc in order to market its iPhone 4S has been performed which includes a critical analysis of the internal and external environment. The situation analysis indicates a good potential for Apple’s iPhone 4S to achieve higher growth in the market which leads to the selection of appropriate marketing strategies to effectively market it in the market. The marketing strategies that are considered effective includes the market penetration and market development strategy which is followed by an analysis of the implementation and actions plans for bringing the strategies into action.