This paper seeks to develop a marketing plan for Apple Inc. new product, iMemo to Hong Kong Market that will address the needs of a new strategic business unit. Strategic business unit, in this case, is defined as a business unit within the overall corporate identity, which is distinguishable from other businesses, as it serves a defined external market, where management can conduct strategic planning in relation to products and markets (London 2011). It incorporates the whole company or it may be a smaller part of the company that has been established to carry out a specific task. In relation to that, this paper will look at Apple Inc.; provide an internal and external analysis of the company, its marketing objectives, marketing plan and the marketing budget for its newly introduced product, iMemo.
Previously referred to as Apple Computer Inc., Apple Inc. is a multinational corporation, based in America that designs and sells computer software, personal computers and consumer electronics (Linzmayer 1999). Some of its famous hardware products include the iPod, the iPhone, the Macintosh line of computers and the iPad. The company software includes the iWork suite of productive software, Mac OS X operating system, Logic studio and Aperture. Apple Inc. was established in 1976, and has grown to be a global leader in the technology and telecommunications industry. Its annual revenues are estimated at $60 billion, which is attributed to the company’s distinctive marketing and advertising campaigns and its well-established brand name (Erick 2009). The company’s recent innovation is iMemo.
Apple is considered as one of the most successful companies around the globe. One of the success factors behind Apple Inc. is its strong brand name. The company can make use of this advantage to market its iMemo to Hong Kong. Apple also focuses on quality production, a fact that has made the company to attain brand loyalty, and thus, the company will be able to acquire new customers in the new market. Apple can also benefit from the economies of scale, since it has a well-established relationship with its supplies and retailers (Jim and Rick 1999). Another point of strength is that the company’s iMemo is simple and can be used with ease, and therefore, attract more customers to purchase it. Apple has also established continual investment in research and development to facilitate further discovery of its potential markets and the innovation of improved products and technologies. There are also enough financial resources that can be directed to the operation of iMemo
Apple’s products are highly priced, and therefore, iMemo cannot suit the target market, especially in Hong Kong, where poverty still persists. There is also the management problem, since there is no successor to take over the leadership of the company. For instance, the health problem of the late Steve Jobs led to a 3 percent fall in the company’s share prices. This may consequently affect the sale of iMemo. The simplicity and ease of Apple’s iMemo may result in image problems, since one of the company’s earlier innovations, Macintosh, is regarded by some businesses as a toy. The company acknowledges that a significant proportion of its profits rely on the global economy (Marc 2009). Therefore, economic downtowns can have a significant negative impact to the company venturing into Hong Kong Market. Another issue is that fluctuations in the foreign currencies make it difficult for the company to predict iMemo profits in the foreign markets (Scott 2008).
Apple is expected to develop a new mobile platform for advertising its newly introduced product, the iMemo. This will enable the company increase its revenues by approximately 20 percent. The company can also make use of its strong brand name to target the Hong Kong market and break into other markets that have never been reached. The company can also tighten its relationship with other companies with an aim of developing joint ventures that will enable the company thrive in Hong Kong Market. Considering the rate of online marketing increase, the company can use this opportunity to make online sale of its newly introduced product.
Apple Inc. faces stiff competition from other companies such as Dell, Sony and Toshiba. Microsoft, which is one of its competitors, has launched Vista; Windows 7 that is currently gaining a larger market share compared to Apple’s newly launched iMemo (Helft 2011). In addition, when it comes to pricing, Apple’s iMemo is considered to be highly priced compared to the prices for the products, offered by most of its competitors such as Dell. Moreover, the world of technology is rapidly growing, which, therefore, means that the company has to remain innovative in order to remain effective in the market. This is based on the fact that the global market today is highly driven by innovations, and customers prefer innovative products.
The latest Apples’ innovation is the iMemo, which was recently launched. The iMemo application allows users to train their vocabulary, acquire knowledge and prepare for a representation. This feature can be learned, using a flashcard way on iPhone or iPod Touch. To realize its vision, Apple Inc. established various marketing objectives that will help the company achieve is major product goal. These include:
- Increase its overall sales by 20 percent
- Increase the company’s revenue by 20 percent
- Increase the market share by 15 percent within the year.
- Gain a 10 percent expansion to the departmental stores
- Attain a 60 percent increase in its brand awareness
- Expand the existing markets by 10 percent in the next quarter
Market segmentation is a method of subdividing the homogenous and aggregate market into addressable, aspirations and targeted needs buckets. These buckets are, in turn, analyzed in terms of psychological, demographic, behavioural and geographical constraints. Through the application of market segmentation strategy, a company can drive a complete and unified product measures that are deemed harmonious with customer outreach, messaging and channel strategies for marketing and supporting clients (Kotler and Kevin 2006). Apple Inc. recognizes the diverse needs of their customers across the globe. To cater for this, the company will avoid mass marketing strategies and employ target marketing to compete accordingly with other major players and competitors. Ultimately, the company sales volume will go up due to the increased levels of customers’ loyalty (Grady 2009). The following segmentation methods will be used.
This involves subdividing the market in terms of region, metropolitan area, city size, and density. Apple Inc. will divide its customers, according to their locations. It is vital to acknowledge that the buying power of customers varies, according to their locations (David 2010). For instance, those customers in urban areas have a higher purchasing power than those in rural areas. As a result of this, product in these rural areas will be sold at cheaper prices to enable people in these areas to enjoy the company’s high quality and new product iMemo.
Demographic segmentation considers age, gender, life stage, race, marital status, and residence tenure in subdividing the market. It is certain that in up-and-coming nations, many young citizens are tending to be wealthier than the older generation. This is due to high levels of literacy in these groups of individuals and availability of employment opportunities (Kotler and Kevin 2006). In addition, the Apple’s product is very favorable and mostly preferred by the young generation. As a result, the company can subdivide its market in terms of age, targeting the young adults. For instance, in 2011, youths composed the larger percentage of Apple’s customers globally, as indicated on the table below.
Approximate Percentage of Apple products, bought in 2011 by different target markets.
As shown above, it is certain that Apple will target the youths who have technological know-how, thus, easily using the company’s new product.
The general behaviours of consumers change from one place to another. It is clear that, Apple enjoys great levels of brand loyalty, especially in European and American countries, where 3G network is highly used. The company has smart products such as iPhones4, having high levels of internet connection. In due course, many consumers have a preference for the new product, as it is very fast, smaller and lighter compared to its predecessor. With the iMemo, one can enjoy this application with the aid of 3G network.
This type of segmentation method is very significant in the Apple Company. The general habits and life styles of the customers are of importance as far as psychological segmentation is concerned. Like all other markets, products from Apple Inc. will increase during holidays, when the disposable income is high. During this time, the company will embark on vigorous advertisement campaigns as well as employing more sales persons to cater for the increased demand of their products. Further, Apple will give discounts to its customers as one way of boosting sales volumes during these times.
It is certain that many young people are tending to be wealthier than the older generation. This is due to increased literacy levels in these groups of individuals and availability of employment opportunities. In addition, the Apple’s products are very favourable and mostly preferred by the young generation. For example, in 2011, youths composed the larger percentage of Apple’s customers globally. Therefore, it is certain that Apple will target the youths who have technological knowledge, thus, easily using the company’s products, such as iPhone mobile devices, iPod, Macintosh Computers, and the new company’s product iMemo among other major products (Chad 2011).
Positioning and Differentiation
Product positioning and product differentiation are essential processes in every company. With the increased international competition in businesses, potential consumers need a good reason to buy a certain product. Such a reason comes from the company’s positioning and differentiation, as they explain what sets the company’s products apart. Without this, customers have no reason to buy a certain product, as opposed to that of the competitors (Sharp and Dawes 2001).
Product differentiation is the process of differentiating a company’s products from others, to make them more attractive to a certain target market. The process involves differentiating the product from that of its competitors as well as the company’s own product offerings (Sharp and Dawes 2001). Product positioning, on the other hand, concerns how a company differentiates a certain product. Apple Inc. has positioned itself to the wealthy customers and innovators. This is based on the fact that Apple’s products are expensive, thus, they are not affordable by a poor man. Though, lowering prices will increase the company’s sales, it is deemed to hurt the brand, as the company would not be able to increase such prices in good times (Keller 2009).
Apple Inc. has adopted various product positioning and product differentiation for its new product, iMemo, in order to make it unique, thus, attracting the target customers. The product has been differentiated in terms of:
- Quality, which is accompanied by price differences
- Differences in design and functional features
- Sales promotions. This involves such practices as advertising
iMemo is an application that assists users to train vocabulary, obtain knowledge and prepare for a speech or presentation. This product is compatible with iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone, and it necessitates iOS 3.2 or higher than this.
Effective marketing and sales programs call for a thorough understanding of the target market and the channels, used to sell the products. In addition, the price of the product should match with the quality of the product. The strategy, Apple applies, is that not all consumers can be regarded as business professionals, but all those who are regarded as business professionals are consumers. Therefore, a product that targets business professionals has a more limited audience than the one, targeting consumers. Apple’s new product, iMemo costs $0.9; customers will be charged the storage and connectivity costs (Helft 2011).
Apple Inc. distributes its products through wholesalers, resellers, both national and regional retailers and cataloguers, who distribute products from Apple’s competitors. Furthermore, the company sells its products and even resells some of its used products directly to its customers in most of the major markets. The company also distributes its products through online stores. In order to achieve the outlined marketing objectives, Apple has to ensure availability of its product to the targeted customers (Kotler and Kevin 2006). The company has, therefore, invested in certain programs to boost reseller sales. For instance, the company has staffed selected reseller stores with the company’s contractors and employees, since the company believes in high quality buying service from knowledgeable marketers who can convey the value and quality of the company’s product to the customers in order to attract and retain the existing customers. The company seeks to attain exclusive direct contact with its customers, because it believes this is the only efficient approach that can be applied to demonstrate the advantages of the new product to its target customers. Therefore, the company has increased its distribution centres for iMemo, so that its products are made available to the consumers (Sharp and Dawes 2001).
Launching promotional strategies for the company’s new product will meet the needs of its customers. The consumers will also be able to gain a deeper understanding about this product and the values that come with it. This will, in turn, help the company to boost its market share, sales and revenues. Ample sensitization of products, being offered to the customers, will be done through marketing campaigns and advertisements. Print press, such as newspapers, as well as media such as TV and radios can be used. The company can place large advertisements on the newspapers or radio, to create more awareness about its new product and how the interested customers can purchase it. This way, additional 15 percent of the potential customers will be reached. Billboards will also be erected on major roads and road junction to further create awareness of the new product (Helft 2011).
It is clear that Apple Inc. is a globally respected company in the electronic consumers’ goods. This is due to its strong brand image, resulting from high quality and innovative products such as iPod, iPhone, iPad and its new product, iMemo among others. Due to its success in the international markets in continents like Europe, Asia and Latin America, the company is expected to grow rapidly in the Hong Kong market, as a result of adequate marketing strategies and the favorable internal and external environments. Apple not only hopes to be the market leader in consumer electronic products but also the leading company in environmental conservation to improve the living conditions.