The internet changes everything it details. This assertion is even more exact explanation of Apple ipod device. Apple iPod's reputation is due to its unique design and features. Regarding to John Graham from The News, "The ipod touch is the anti-gadget. Gadgets have keys and switches that only provide to frustrate users, as the iPod's total ease allows it to become an extension of self. This is exactly what helps it be so compelling and essential. "
This article will be using the Gummesson's 30R and the six markets model. The report will concentrate on understanding the many marketing relations of Apple's iPod section. Let's go through the various stakeholders associated with whom the business needs to speak.
Stakeholders of Apple iPod
Public and the Press
Internal partners and
That is the Rival, Distributor, Accessory manufacturer's etc fall under the External partnerships. Subsidiaries of Apple, employees, talk about holders are categorized as the internal partnerships. Customer and Supplier fall under their respected categories.
Customers can be further labeled as
Loyal customers can be defined as customers who've been using Apple products since a very long time. These customers would try new Apple products irrespective of the price
These types of customers would buy Apple products because they want to be a part of the public and follow the latest fads on the market.
These will be the contractors who build the components as well as those liable of assembling the iPods
These could be the other companions like mass media, alliance partners etc
These are the accessories manufacturers who are dependant on Apple in a big way. They manufacture accessories for various ipod device models and form a large industry in themselves.
Source: Adapted from Morgan and Hunt (1994) and Doyle (1995)
That is the Competitor, Distributor, Partner organizations' etc are categorized as the Exterior partnerships. Employees, talk about holders fall under the inner partnerships. Customer and Supplier fall under their respective categories.
Gummesson's 30 R's:
Gummesson advised that there can be 30 tangible relationships that may be a part of a companies marketing planning. We will be concentrating on the next relationships that apply to Apple's line of business.
1) Classical Triad Marriage (Customer - Seller - Vendors Competitor)
The portable music industry shows a classical triad romantic relationship i. e. a three way marriage comprising of Apple, the consumers and the competition like Microsoft Zune, Creative music players etc. But the market is seriously dominated by Apple ipod touch with a 74% market share (Source: www. afterdawn. com - last accessed 9 Sept 2009)
2) Basic Network Marriage (Marketers - Company)
The relationship between your various marketers and the business are shown by the typical Network Relationship. In the case of Apple, the marketers could be the authorised vendors and the company owned retail outlets of Apple where Apple ipod touch and other Apple products can be found.
In the special market romance category, the next relationships connect with "Apple iPod".
1) Customer as a "Member"
Customer as a member connection is the crux of Apple's acceptance in the market. Among the major factors that differentiate Apple iPod from its rivals is the intuitive design of the merchandise. It's not merely iPod but all the Apple products were created keeping the customer in mind. In one of the press releases, Steve Careers said that the purpose of Apple's products is to make life simpler for the clients and this is shown in the ease of products and the reputation that Apple iPod enjoys on the market. Apple fully understands that all aspects of the customer experience are essential and that brand touch-points must strengthen the Apple brand. This is shown in the advertisements (all the ipod device advertisements will focus on the trademark earphones and the Apple emblem), the merchandise (using its prominent Apple emblem on the trunk of every Apple product. )
2) Green Relationships
The Green Romantic relationship is another important romantic relationship for music player industry. As almost all of the components in a music player are made out of vinyl and other components which may be harmful for the surroundings, it becomes crucial for a business like Apple to be sensitive towards environmental issues. Apple has a passionate team of folks trying to help make the ipod touch as recyclable as you possibly can and their products undergo some test to ensure they have Arsenic-Free goblet, their products are BFR-Free (BFR is a significant health risk to the customer. Apple has pioneered to make their iPods PVC free which makes them highly recyclable.
3) E-Commerce Relationship
Apple's website, www. Apple. com is a one-stop shop for all Apple products. Customers can get information about various ipod device models available; compare the features, read reviews about the merchandise shows, buy Apple ipod touch and various other Apple accessories. Apple has created a web based music store called iTunes, which complements the ipod touch. Apple has sold 70 million songs above the iTunes store and its success is a boost to the sales of Apple ipod device as well as the tracks purchased above the iTunes stores can be observed only on an iPod or a music CD. Apples iTunes model revolutionalized online music industry by bringing out single monitor purchase for 99 cents. Apple follow a delivery model a lot like Dell by giving them promptly delivery plus they provide product customization in conditions of laser engraving on the Apple products free of charge.
In the mega romantic relationship category, the next relationships apply to "Apple iPod".
1) Mega Alliances
This is a vey important romantic relationship. Apple has tangled up with many other industries in an attempt to expand inorganically. For e. g. Apple has ties with mega brands like Nike and Horsepower. Apple's co-branding strategy is a success in the sports activities segment. By tying up with Nike, Apple could utilize the sports segment catering to an extremely niche group of customers. Nike top quality their products as Nike+ and could sell these products at reduced price
. Source: www. Apple. com
Apple also offers ties with various carmakers like ford to get their vehicles iPod ready. Manufacturer stereos in most new vehicles own an MP3 input jack. Consumers can connect their iPod directly into a car music system and enjoy their favourite music.
Source: www. Apple. com
2) MEDIA Relationships
This is a very key relationship. Maintaining a good press relationship is vital for the company. Apple is known as. They deal with all the current communication which goes to the public at large, which includes advertisements, communications, press releases etc. Apple is well known for having grand press releases each year where Steve Job gives his keynote. The Apple event pulls hundreds of reporters to a multimedia event.
Ladder of Commitment (Source: Peck et al, 1999)
Source: Christopher et al. (1991): Relationship Marketing: Bringing quality, customer service and Marketing Together
The ladder of loyalty was propagated by Christopher et al. to show that customers can move towards a closer romantic relationship with the suppliers in some stages as time passes (GODSON, Draw). It becomes crucial for a small business to identify the latest level of devotion shown by its customers and invest in marketing efforts to move the target customers to the desired level on the ladder of devotion shown above.
The physique above demonstrates the gap between levels is equidistant which is not true in case of Apple. The effort of time necessary to move customers from customer to consumer to supporter is really small. Let's look at the loyalty that Apple enjoys from the suppliers and Customers viewpoint.
Apple Suppliers are available at the "Partner" level on the ladder of loyalty. Apple launched the ipod device in 2001 and in the past eight years managed to re-launch 17 variations of the iPod model. Also Apple gets the largest market talk about in the lightweight music player industry and with 50 million units sold worldwide. To keep up with the growing demand for Apple ipod device, it is crucial for Apple to keep its suppliers at the Spouse level in the commitment ladder because using a dedicated team of suppliers helps Apple ensure steady quality and performance demanded by the consumer. Also, time taken up to launch a fresh product is reduced as the suppliers are used to Apple's products and the learning curve is reduced considerably reducing the time it takes to deliver the merchandise to the market.
The Apple brand personality is about lifestyle; imagination; technology; passion; hopes, dreams and dreams; and power-to-the-people through technology. Apple customers can be labeled into two categories.
The Apple aficionado: These set of customers have been devoted to Apple since its inception. These set of customers will always buy Apple products without having to be too concerned about price. These customers are between supporters and advocates. They use word of mouth to propagate Apple products and peer- pressure to increase popularity of Apple products like ipod device.
The wondering customer: These customers lay at the low rungs of the loyalty ladder. They need most persuasion to adopt an Apple product. Apple is one of the few companies who develop products keeping the clients in mind. Apple's co- creator and CEO, Steve Careers, is totally focused on the customers' experience with Apple's products Apple features about its products and it is confident that once a person buys an Apple product he'll become a devoted customer permanently.
Six marketplaces model
The six market segments theory talks about the various relations that a firm has with six different groups of people. Marriage management is a progress targeted at understanding the demand of customers and provide products and service, besides build a long-term associations with customers. These customers could be present in any of the six markets shown below. Perhaps one of the most interesting relationships that Apple has has been the suppliers and Alliance market segments. Due to the success of Apple iPod, various accessories suppliers attended onto existence. The following section sheds some light on the ipod device accessories market.
The market for ipod device and iPhone accessories, like speakers and cases is another world where Apple rules. Apple can determine when accessory manufacturers can announce new products, and charges them a number of fees, including one for placing a MADE FOR IPOD sticker on the things. With over 1, 200 companies vying for a show of any Apple accessory market that's nearing $1 billion in annual sales, even rumours of a fresh product spur providers of iPod instances, boom boxes, and car adapters to scramble with their Chinese language suppliers to turn out a customized line of add-ons. Corresponding to Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis iPod keeps 70 percent market show drives the frustrating talk about of MP3 accessories.
Supplier and alliance
Staff recruits markets
Fig. Six markets model
Source: Christopher et al. (1991) Romance Marketing: Bringing Quality, CUSTOMER SUPPORT and Marketing Mutually. Elsevier
Apple has had a behavior of keeping its product launches a magic formula till the last second. This creates problems for the accessories manufacturers. As soon as rumours of a fresh product launch appear on the internet the accessories manufacturers have to start speculating about how the new product would operate and develop accessories consequently modifying the accessory to match the new product at the end. By retaining a level of secrecy, Apple tries to cultivate this mini-economy, which helps spur ongoing hype for its devices, by not developing many of its own competing accessories. The flourishing market is good for the retailers as well. Retailers like Aim for and Best Buy don't make a great deal of profit selling iPods but can demand higher margins reselling certified Apple accessories. Included in these are everything from custom-made conditions for the assorted devices to a range of special docks with built-in audio speakers and adapters to connect an ipod device or iPhone to a car's audio system.
The following matrix shows the various communication tools Apple uses to communicate to their various stakeholders.
Table 1: The communication matrix
We will look at 5 basis tools used by Apple to talk to the customers: viz. advertising, pr, sales promotions, direct marketing and personal advertising.
Apple has used a variety of advertising campaigns to market iPod. These include television commercials, print ads, posters in public places etc. All the advertisements have a consistent theme where in fact the people are shown in dark silhouettes and the iPods shown in white with the company supplied iPod earphones. Other promotional tools implemented by Apple include Apple iTunes gift card which is often used to shop online at the Apple store. These cards are available easily at almost all of the departmental stores and can be utilized in the Apple Store from across the world. Sample adverts are shown in the physique below.
Apple stores are one of the major crowd pullers. Unlike traditional stores where electric products are kept behind a wine glass shelf for display, Apple products are placed in such a way as to ask customers to feel the merchandise. Customers can spend as much time as they need in these stores and get accommodated to the products before making a decision. Thus Apple uses its employees as a function of communication with the possible customers.
The television advertising also have similar style of demonstration. The Apple iPod is targeted towards younger era with emphasis of men and women enjoying their music on their iPods.
Retaining the same design of advertising helps build a prolonged impression in the brains of the consumer helping build a more robust brand recall in the minds of the client.
Most of the developing for Apple's ipod touch occurred in China with various manufacturers providing components for the ultimate products. Apple has a huge control over its suppliers as it is the market leader. It has contract with the suppliers to ensure the design and technological information will not leak out to the competition.
One of the differentiating factors for Apple is what sort of company manufactures and conceives its products. Apple snacks its employees as customers and induces impressive thoughts and recommendations. Employees are treated as experts in their area. For e. g. within an Apple store, the employees are know as Apple pc experts or iPod experts who help customers make a decision which product best suits them.
CONCLUSION & Referrals:
Overall the strategies followed by "Apple" and the method of communication and channels used have been extremely effective and has turned out highly successful in the consumer market. But nonetheless there are few areas; the company can give attention to to bolster its romantic relationship.
Target economy segment consumers.
Apple has always been focused on innovation. Each product that Apple produces is targeted towards rewarding a nascent need to the customer. Due to the high price of the Apple products, the purchase price sensitive segment is overlooked. This section which forms a huge chunk of the population look for cheaper alternatives (duplicates of ipod touch) to gratify their need. Apple could re-price their models or turn out with more inexpensive variants to meet the needs of the price sensitive portion.
Apple iTunes and Apple store is popular in the american countries like Europe and USA. Apple has yet to open the web store for Asian market. Asia is checking to internet and e-commerce and can soon end up being the greatest online shopping portion. Apple's decision to not launch iTunes and Apple Store in India would be because of logistics issues or credited to insufficient scalability. Right now a huge chunk of the Apple's market is in USA followed by Europe. Though recently, Apple has increased its spending in retails chains in India, but it is still a long way from experiencing the huge probable of online customers in India. India established fact for its abundant music heritage and when Apple launches the iTunes store in India, a great deal of artists who didn't get an opportunity to publish their work. Also, most of the Apple products like the iPhone and the latest product iPad will not be available for years after their release. Apple could try and create a worldwide release method where products can be found around the world on your day of the release.
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