SWOT Analysis of Apple
iPad 3 is an important electronic device by Apple Inc that is recently launched by the company in order to cover up majority of the market share for tablets. An effective marketing of the newly developed device is essential so that it can be targeted among majority of its customers. This marketing plan is developed in relation to effectively marketing the iPad 3 so that its promotion among the targeted customers can be achieved and higher market share can also be attained. In designing the effective marketing strategy, this marketing plan would consider the marketing context for Apple iPad 3 which would be followed by an identification of marketing issue to be investigated. In performing the analysis of marketing context, the situation analysis for Apple will be performed including the SWOT analysis for Apple Inc. In performing the given market research plan, the target market for iPad 3 would also be considered including the development of strategies for effectively marketing the product. Finally, there will be an implementation and control of marketing plan and recommendation would be provided to further improve the functioning of the organisation.
Background of Apple Inc and its iPad 3
Apple Inc is a multinational organisation that is highly popular in the electronics industry for developing revolutionary electronic products. Apple Inc is usually based in US and it produces various kinds of innovative IT equipments. The major products of the company include personal computers, mobile phones, iPods, iPads, TV etc. The company has developed significant reputation in the entire electronics industry as the most innovators in producing electronics products. The higher level of innovation has only been possible because of the revolutionary CEO of the company Steve Jobs who died recently due to ill health conditions. However, although the Steve Jobs is no more, but he did the planning for future with respect to most of electronics product to be launched in future (iPad, 2012).
Among all the major products of Apple Inc, iPad is an important electronic device that is a line of tablet computers designed for fulfilling various important needs of the users. It is primarily a platform for audio visual media which can serve a large number of applications including books, music, games, videos, applications and web content. Since iPad is an Apple’s application, it runs programs that are approved by Apple only. The iPad product of Apple is also launched in a number of series, as iPad was first launched in April 2010 and since them, Apple has launched second generation and third generation of iPad known as iPad 2 and iPad 3. iPad 3 is the most recently launched iPad of Apple and it includes various new features as compared to iPad 2. As for instance, some of its main feature includes retina display, amazing battery life of 10 hours, 5 megapixel iSight camera, ultrafast 4G LTE, iOS and iCloud, etc. All these features of iPad 3 differentiate it from its earlier versions of iPad (iPad, 2012).
Marketing is one of the most important tasks that are required to be performed in the instance of launching a new product. Effective marketing is essential in order to promote the products so that it can be targeted among the intended audience and higher acceptance of the product can become possible. In order to effectively launch the product, an appropriate marketing strategy is highly essential. The effectiveness of the marketing strategies is highly essential for the success of a product. As per the literature, the role of marketing strategies is extremely important for the firms as it allows them the opportunity to effectively create awareness among the customers about its products and services offerings. Ferrell and Hartine (2010) indicate that the firm success is highly dependent upon the marketing strategies. This is because, the intention of the firm is to sell higher products and an effective marketing program is essential for attaining such goals of higher sales. The marketing strategies should be devised in a manner as it would lead to not only the successful attainment of organisational goals, but also leads to the satisfaction of stakeholders of the organisation. Marketing strategies as identified by Ferrell and Hartine (2010) suggests that it is people driven and it never remain stagnant (Ferrell and Harline, 2010).
This implies that marketing strategies are crucial for businesses and they should pay adequate attention towards developing effective marketing strategies in order to market their products and services. In case of Apple Inc, there is also a tremendous need for marketing its iPad 3 so that higher level of acceptance among the target audience can finally be gained. As identified that the success of a firm depends upon the marketing strategies pursued by it and as such, Apple should design an effective marketing strategy that would lead to best possible target to the intended audience for whom the product is being developed. However, the task of targeting the potential customer for the product is not an easy one, as it requires the consideration of various important factors in the process of successful target of product to intended audience and these includes the development of marketing objectives, selection of target markets, designing marketing strategies, critical promotion of the product and finally, the implementation of the marketing plan to achieve higher level of success (McDonald and Wilson, 2011).
In order to effectively develop the marketing plan for iPad 3, it is essential to perform a situation analysis of the external environment as it will allow for the identification of market requirements and demand for tablets in the market. It implies that a proper analysis of both the internal as well as external environment of the market is essential before undertaking any major decisions to market the product (Smith and Zook, 2011). The analysis of external and internal environment for Apple iPad 3 is performed as follows:
Analysis of External Business Environment: There are various factors that are included in case of external business environment of an organisation. Among the various factors, the most important ones are discussed as follows:
- Political Factor: Monopolistic development behaviour is adopted by Apple Inc with respect to its iPad 3 and this is clearly evident from the fact that there are specific programs that are being developed and they works only with iPad. With respect to iPad, Apple Inc has started marketing its product initially from politically stable countries such as US, UK, Australia etc and soon thereafter, it has started its marketing programs to be specifically targeted at developing countries such as India, China etc. The prices for iPad are also different across countries which indicate that the entire marketing strategies of iPad are influenced by political factors.
- Economic Factor: The performance of the economy in terms of GDP growth, unemployment and inflation rates etc also has a significant impact on the performance of a company. The economic trends with respect to electronic equipments such as iPad or mobile devices have declined significantly and this is mainly because of the recession that has resulted into a decline in the disposable incomes of people. As a result of this, the tendency of people to perform investment in costly items such as iPad has declined heavily and the ultimate impact is on the companies providing such tablets.
- Socio-cultural Factor: The impact of socio-cultural factor is also quite significant with respect to modern IT equipments such as electronic tablets that are used in fulfilling wide range of purposes. There has been a sharp change being evident with respect to social trends for such IT equipments, as the demand for portable consumer products have increased tremendously. The preference for on-the-go devices is higher among the modern consumers as they prefer to remain in contact with others while on the move. This social trend among the consumer indicates a favourable position with respect to companies that develops these IT equipments.
- Technological Factor: The advancement as achieved in the field of technology has significantly improved the expectations of consumers from such technological equipments. As for instance, consumer prefers those technological equipments that offers them sound application and allows them in performing majority of their functions in a most effective manner. As tablets supports access to online books, staying online, establishing communications with others etc, they are highly preferred by consumers as these tool provide them with higher level of ease and convenience in performing their operations.
The analysis of the external factors indicates that all the major factors such as political, economical, socio-cultural and technological have a direct impact on the electronic products such as tablets and these factors needs to be given adequate attention while marketing such products and services in the market. Apart from these important external environmental factors, it is also highly essential that an analysis of the major competitors should also be performed before devising important marketing strategies for iPad 3. As for instance, the analysis of the tablet market indicates that it is highly competitive and there are various players that are included within such industry. The research work on Apple’s iPad indicates that it has been the initiator of tablets and also occupies the leading position in the entire tablet industry, but with the increasing number of tablet manufacturers entering into the industry, they are posing stiff challenges to Apple in sustaining the leadership position in the industry. As for instance, the major brands includes in the tablet markets are Google, LG, Samsung, Acer, Toshiba, Sony and various other local brands. As a result of this, Apple is facing significant threat from all these players in sustaining its topmost position in the industry. In addition to this, Amazon’s fire tablet and Barnes & Noble’s nook tablet are known for revolutionizing the entire tablet market (Apple May Finally Be In Trouble: Competition Stepping Up In Tablet Market, 2011).
Overall, the competition is extremely higher for Apple’s iPad because of increasing number of tablets manufacturers in the industry. Such higher level of competition necessitates Apple to effectively promote its iPad 3 with major emphasis should be placed on additional features offered by it such as ratina display, iOS and Cloud applications etc.
Internal Environment Analysis: Apart from external environment analysis, the internal environment analysis is also highly essential with respect to Apple’s iPad so that it can be effectively marketed among its intended customers. The internal environment analysis can be performed effectively through SWOT analysis as follows:
Strengths: The main strength available to Apple Inc is its brand reputation in the entire electronics industry, as it is known as the leader in the tablet market and it is the first to introduce tablets as well. As a result, Apple is having the first mover advantage which is likely to contribute positively towards achieving success in its third generation of iPad. Further, Apple iPad 3 has certain other positive features associated to it including the developer of most innovative iPads, latest features such as ratina display, longer battery life, and the most important one is its association with the brand name of Apple which is known for the producer of most innovative technological products (Dudley-Nicholson, 2012).
Weaknesses: Apart from having strengths, there are certain weaknesses that are also associated with Apple iPad 3. The major weakness is that it is costly as compared to other tablets in similar range. In addition to this, iPad 3 also shows certain symptoms of problems with respect to battery charging as users have complained that it takes huge time in charging the battery of iPad 3. It is also facing the problem of overheating and complaints are also evident regarding its auto fill feature which is not working properly (3 Million new iPad Units Sold: Top 4 Problems, 2012).
Opportunities: The major opportunity to Apple iPad 3 is that the trend for online book is picking up which would likely to positively impact the sales of iPad 3 in the future run. Apart from this, the impact of recession is also showing a declining trend and it would ensure positive overall growth for the iPad 3 of Apple Inc.
Threats: The main threats to Apple iPad 3 is the increasing competition from the other major players in the industry and the introduction of low cost tablets is also posing significant threats to the success of iPad.
Thus, the situation analysis as performed has indicated deep insights about iPad 3 and this could be utilised in designing effective marketing strategies for marketing iPad 3.
Investigation of Marketing Issue
Selection of Target Market: The task of marketing is not easy and it is poised with numerous problems to the company intending to market its products and services. One of the most important issues in marketing the products includes the selection of target market. The selection of target market is essential because 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 (Pride and Ferrell, 2012).
With respect to iPad 3, it has been identified that the product is designed in order to cater to the needs of higher end consumer groups because the prices charged for iPad 3 is slightly higher as compared to the prices of other major tablets offered by other major providers including Samsung, Sony, Amazon etc. As a result, the target market for iPad 3 should be higher end consumer groups that are comfortable enough in spending slightly higher prices in purchasing tablets. In addition to this, the trends as identified from the marketing analysis indicates that the users of tablets prefers to use it in accomplishing their professional goals such as remaining in contacts through emails, reading important documents etc. As a result, the target market segment should include the professionals working in organisations that seek to remain in touch with others while on move.
Product Positioning: The selection of target market should be followed by effective positioning strategy in order to effectively position the product among the selected target consumers. 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 (Sengupta, 2005). In case of Apple iPad, the most effective positioning strategy for iPad 3 is that it should be positioned as one solution for all the communication needs of people while on the move. It should be positioned as a distinctive product with innovative features offered by it such as ratina display, longer battery life etc. The positioning of these additional features would positively contribute towards improved acceptance among the target consumers, as they always prefer to get something new from the electronic equipments. Further, Apple Inc is always associated with the development of most innovative electronics products and the positioning of its iPad 3 as the most innovative tablet would assure higher benefits to Apple Inc in achieving high level of success for its products.
The success of a product to a larger extent depends upon the appropriate setting up of marketing objectives and with respect to iPad 3, the market objectives are indicated below:
- To occupy the leading position in the entire tablet market for iPad 3.
- To achieve the position of first priority among consumers while they decide to make purchases of tablets.
- To promote iPad 3 as complete solution for all the features that customers look in a tablet.
In order to attain the leading position for iPad 3 in the entire tablet industry, it is essential that it should be accompanies by effective marketing strategies. As in case of iPad 3, the most effective marketing strategy for Apple Inc in marketing its product is the combination of market penetration 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). The market penetration would help iPad 3 in getting higher acceptability among larger customer base and it would also allow for attracting the customer of its competitors such as Samsung, Sony and other major players in the industry.
Apart from market penetration, the market development strategy should also be partially considered because the past models of Apple’s iPad are already popular among the customers across the world, and this knowledge about the Apple’s iPad can be used as a basis in selling its new version of iPad 3. 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 iPad 3.
Implementation of Marketing Plan
The success of a marketing plan depends upon the implementation of various kinds of marketing strategies that have been proposed. This is the most crucial part as majority of the marketing plan fails because of improper implementation of marketing strategies. As in case of Apple Inc marketing plan for iPad 3, the task of ensuring success in the implementation process would be assigned to top management so that it can be ensured that the timely and most effective implementation can be performed (Havaldar, 2005). However, it is essential that the most appropriate managers should be selected in performing the task of implementation so that the success can finally be guaranteed.
On the basis of analysis as performed, there are certain recommendations that are considered essential for iPad 3 of Apple so that better functioning of the product and ultimately the organisation can become possible. These recommendations include:
- The prices of Apple iPad 3 are usually higher as compared to other major tablets available in the market and as such, the company can consider for the attainment of economies of scale in its operations and ultimately, prices for its iPad 3 can finally be reduced.
- The Apple iPad 3 can be made more versatile by introducing multi tasking features in it.
- The company can pursue the market penetration strategy for its iPad 3 by resorting to local dealers in every country, apart from selling directly through its websites and iStores.
- It is also recommended that there should be adequate promotional activities that need to be performed by Apple for its iPad 3 so that higher recognition among the target consumers can finally be attained.