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The market segment of Apple Inc. products has been growing at a very fast rate. In line with this, there are numerous products that have been introduced in different markets across the globe among them the iPhone, the iPad and the iPod. Whereas some of these products have been able to establish themselves in different markets, some of them are still strategizing on different ways of entering these markets. Among these products is the iPad that has been working on entering into the Bulgarian Market.
To begin with, it is important to examine the market opportunity that iPad has in the Bulgarian market. Firstly, there has been a growing interest in technological products in this market. Furthermore, this market is projected to grow in the next few years. In reference to the Business Monitor International (2010), the total size of the Bulgarian IT market in 2010 is estimated by BMI at around US$1.0bn, up from US$990mn in 2009. Similarly, there are projections that whereas 2011 would be a hard years for electronic products in Bulgaria, this is poised to change in 2012. There are different characteristics that have been elicited by the Bulgarian market. In line with this, this market’s future growth would come from the development of business services among them outsourcing as has been observed by the Bulgarian officials (Zagorova 2010). The government of Bulgaria has also been working on different investment plans in IT that would account for a total of 10% of its GDP. This implies that launching the iPad in this specific could prove to be a valuable investment.
Apart from this, there are also other issues that have been portrayed in this particular market. To begin with, it is vital to mention that there have been weaknesses with the overall consumption traits in this market. In reference to Cushman & Wakefield LLP (2010), the demand for different products in the market was relatively low coupled with unemployment that has been rising, irrespective of the fact that the unemployment rate was way down below the European average.
|GDP||The worst may now be over, but recovery set to be slow|
|INFLATION||Likely to stabilize over the coming months|
|INTEREST RATE||Interest rates unlikely to be cut further|
|EMPLOYMENT||Unemployment continues to rise|
With this in mind, there are different issues that characterize the Bulgarian market that acts as strong points and as a result, could support the entry of the iPad into this market. To begin with, going by the fact that the current IT market of this market was put at US$1.0bn was a very critical factor to iPad’s entry into this market. Essentially, this reflected a large market that was not yet saturated with IT-related products, but was at the point of growing into an even more enormous market. Similarly, from the projections that have been mentioned above, the IT market in Bulgaria was growing and entry of new products could succeed within a short period of time. Furthermore, the investment in the industry by large companies and corporations such as HP and Dell as well as the commitment by the government to turn Bulgaria into an e-government in the next few years proved to be a perfect opportunity to IT-related product entrants.
Micro Environment for the Segment: Competitors/Distributors
The IT market segment in Australia has been growing at a very rapid rate, considering the investment by the government in the IT industry and the changing global IT environment. This is particular so for products such as personal computers and the advanced mobile phones that have been introduced in the current market. In line with this, the portable communication devices elicited a lot of competition from similar products that had been developed by rival companies. For instance, global research indicated that the iPad faced competition from other devices such as the Ereader, the Smartphone and hand-held consoles. However, it was noted that despite the high level of competition that these products offered to the iPad, there were projections that such competition would diminish over time, with iPad taking the center stage in future.
Apart from competition from the above mentioned techies, iPad also faced competition from Netbook and Laptops together with the mp3 players and the portable gaming console. However, Burnett (2010) argues that most consumers who participated in a survey of iPad’s daily usage and how this affected the usage of other devices in this segment would be reluctant towards acquiring products such as the Netbook/laptop, Ereader, Portable gaming device, Mp3 player, gaming console, Smartphone and MID. Therefore, competition against the iPad would possibly diminish during this period. However, it is important to state that this was a reflection of the US market as well as some other parts of the globe. In reference to Zagorova (2010), some of the main players in the IT industry who were establishments in Bulgaria include; HP, Dell, Suns, IBM, Fujitsu, and others.
It is however important to note that most of the challenges to the entry of iPad into this market would emanate from mobiles phones and personal computers. However, this could be overcome by the fact that the Bulgarian market has seen an increase in the demand for 3G products; of which iPad is one of them (Balkan Business News Correspondent 2010). In regard to distribution, Apple, Inc. is the official distributor of Apple products in the Bulgarian market. The distribution process of Apple products is facilitated by Bulgarian Business Systems that has been in operation since 1992. Similarly, PC dealer and sellers in Bulgaria could also act as important distributors of the iPad.
Justification of Key Marketing Strategies
There are different marketing strategies that could be used by iPad to enter successfully into the Bulgarian market. These strategies vary one from the other and can be used either as single entities or as a combination of two or more. Some of the strategies that could be used effectively by iPad to enter into the Bulgarian market are Unique Selling Proposition Strategy, Competitiveness, growth, promotion, advertising, branding and viral marketing. All these strategies have the capability of enabling iPad to be established as a brand in the Bulgarian market.
Unique Selling Proposition Strategy
Unique selling proposition would be among the vital strategies that would elevate the position of iPad as a brand in the Bulgarian market within a short period of time. In consistent with this, it is first important to state what USP is and why it is an important approach towards launching and establishing iPad as a product in the Bulgarian market. USP refers to the ability to define a particular brand as unique from all the other brands in the market (Buchta, Dolnicar & Reutterer 2000, p.127). In line with this, USP would play a vital role in demonstrating iPad as a unique product in the Bulgarian market. With this mind, iPad was different from similar products in the market as a result of its unique features.
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Competitive strategy involves defining the approach that is used by a brand and ensuring that a particular brand enters the market with confidence, courage as well as maintaining the focus that is needed by a brand to succeed. Therefore, for iPad to succeed, it has to include this strategy in marketing its products.
iPad would also need to utilize the growth strategy in order to create continuity in the Bulgarian market. In line with this, this strategy is particularly important in developing growth projections of iPad in this particular market. Similarly, the growth strategy would assist iPad in developing growth objectives and targets in the market. Therefore, it is an important strategy for iPad in the Bulgarian market.
Promotional strategy would also need to be implemented in the Bulgarian market as a way of enhancing the status of iPad in this particular market. To begin with, iPad is a new product on the Bulgarian market and therefore, the consumers need to be motivated to buy this product. In reference to Cohen (1995, p.12), two elements of the promotional strategy would need to be used namely; sales promotion and public relations. Sales promotions would stimulate consumers to purchase more goods in the market. On the other hand, public relations would play a critical role in creating awareness as well as the product knowledge for iPad.
Advertising too is an important strategy that could be used effectively to launch the iPad in the Bulgarian market. Note that there are no formal introductions of the product in this market that have been done so far. Therefore, apart from acting as a marketing strategy, the advertising strategy would also create awareness of the iPad in the Bulgarian market. Rogers (2001, p.35) argues that advertising also support public relations activities as well as reinforce marketing communications. In this respect, it is an important strategy that can be used alone or as a combination of other products in the market.
Branding strategy would involve creating a brand name, brand strategy and brand approach that would enable iPad to compete effectively in the market as well as create barriers of entry to other products that could create unfair competition (Knowledge 2001, p.29). Therefore, the strategy is important in creating the stability of iPad in the Bulgarian market.
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Viral Marketing Strategy
Viral marketing strategy involves the recruitment of customers to be sales agents and as a result spread word concerning a particular product (Gay, Charlesworth & Esen 2007, p.411). In line with this, the customers act as important sales agents by spreading the word concerning the particular product. This is an important marketing strategy that can be used effectively to launch and sustain iPad as a product in the Bulgarian market. Moreover, by taking into account the fact that this country would be investing billions of dollars in its IT sector, most consumers within its boundaries would be interested to acquire and use new technologies on the market. This would be coupled by spreading the word concerning the most effective technology among the many available technological products. Therefore, iPad can take of this factor and establish itself as a market brand in the Bulgarian market.