Marketing Communications Plan for iphone in USA market
Marketing communications plans for iphone includes customer-facing materials such as websites and trade show presentations. The main focus for iphone was its internet connectivity; hence they based their marketing strategies on the internet. They were able to involve diverse group of people to create an integrated communication vehicle (Samiee, 17 1992)
The iphone company took a marketing strategy of announcing the product early. This was a positive move since they were able to outline their plan to distributors, suppliers, customers and partners and the overall result was building trust and gaining brand equity. Market anticipation also fueled financial returns. Their pre-announcements into the smart phone market were able to guarantee them an early industry direction and they were able to instill confidence to the needed support for their invention as well as promoting future plans.
This strategy is freezing the competitors out. They were simply telling other competitors that customers should be prepared to buy the kind of phone they have been waiting for long. This strategy was useful in the sense that iphone were able to entice its customers to wait for the iphone. Indeed, the process of pre-announcing the product earlier helped prepare customers to eventually buy the iphone (Schipchandler, 80 2000)
Another strategy that iphone used was the packaging. Iphone packaging was a stylish weapon that was very attractive to the consumer. The phone was decorated in a two- stacked primary package and a secondary package in a relatively small box.
Apple also attempted an international marketing strategy for iphone where it could extort different prices from different countries. In theory, this made sense for grey market to thrive. The fluctuation of the currency made the condition even more attractive especially for the Asian grey-market entrepreneurs who were selling the iphone in Chinese Yuan after buying them in US dollars. Iphone also supported the grey market through the use of multiple retail channels. Iphone was able to lock-out those consumers who were planning to buy the phone directly hence entitling them to 18 months warranty so they had to use grey market.
Apple also insisted that its stores would also be selling iphone hence reducing on operator contract. The idea was to show case the new sexy phone and therefore driving sales and ensuring brand consistency. Another reason maybe would be it wanted the grey market to boost sales and hence enhancing their quality status around the world (Perks, 344 2003)
Iphone used marketing mix strategy where it used the existing communication networks of AT&T of U.S., O2 in the UK and orange in France. This allowed Apple to maintain premium prices as well as claiming exceptional 15% of operator’s revenue. This arrangements presented avenues for grey markets to flourish. The middle ground between the official channel and clearly black market offered legitimate products through the back door.
Campaign communication objectives
Iphone marketing was integrated through revolutionary communications and audio/visual familiarity in all media advertisements. The main feature that differentiated iphone from the rest of the pack was its touch screen functionality. Subsequently, the brand prominence was associated with iPod’s revolutionary family. There was a massive TV campaign that reminded people of Apple’s ’84 super bowl advert and actually became a talk of everyone and hence generated further attention. This was followed by regular advertisement that maintained public awareness and communicated various messages to intended groups.
This was not easy task, therefore, personnel were sent to inform channel partners on how to market the iphone. This was a positive move since it helped attract, retain as well as motivating channel partners in selling the product (Perks, 344 2003)
The iphone was to have a 12 month warranty and an optional 3 year warranty on Apple purchase. The iphone packaging was exceptional just like all other Apple products. Subsequently, the Apple Company introduced iphone Beatles Edition in order to celebrate 40th birthday of Sgt Pepper. They also had another strategy in 2008 where they were to ship a cheaper and less advanced iphone together with the sophisticated iphone for the professionals and the upper income individuals.
Some additional features that were included in the iphone were: lower weight and slimness that would allow it fit into a wallet or become the wallet, 4G to allow it to be have incredible speeds hence being ahead of the competition, peer-to-peer wireless exchange which would allow users to share music and pictures, larger removable disk capacity which would also support USB, external HDD as well as digital camera memory cards, improved camera clarity and a longer battery life (Perks, 344 2003)
Iphone pricing was at a price of $349 for 4 GB categories and $399 for 8 GB category. There was also the sale of Beatles iphone upon the rollout. The major Apple took was lowering prices in order to establish market dominance in the shortest time possible The main consumer targets for the iphone were the young users who were not hesitant in using new products and they are always figuring out how to use new products. The young consumer targets were able to build relationship through wireless technologies (Hovell, 70 1972)
Key benefit claim
Under marketing research iphone are using a number of consumer research in order to further improve the iphone as the market changes. Notable strategy is the fact that they listen to end user complains through use of feedbacks from customers, focus groups and through encouraging brand awareness campaign throughout the world to ensure that the product is well understood by everyone. The target groups have been split into four groups; 15-20 years, 20-25 years, 25-45 years and above 45. These target groups were given different attentions to include lower and upper income individuals.
The young groups of mainly college-going students demonstrated social uses. The 25-45 year target provided the company an opportunity to determine the business as well as social application but the 45 and above year category provided a means where the company would engage in further marketing for the senior and more refined professionals (Hovell, 70 1972)
Iphone distribution is based on a world wide rollout at all highly regarded stores online along with cellular phone providers. All apple stores were able to dedicate sales to iphone and they also involved partner channels through providing product demonstrations. All apple stores were able to provide eye catching displays of iphone to make the product stand out from the rest. The display strategy was done a month earlier before its worldwide release. The idea was to entice customers into Apple stores and see a whole range of Apple products (Rossiter, 100 2005)
The marketing research was done through surveys particularly through portals for example iTunes and many other online applications developed by Apple for the iphone. Consequently interviews were performed in Apple stores mainly focused on the target groups listed above. The surveys not only targeted current Apple users but also future users not currently using Apple products. This strategy was essential for Apple to eliminate members who have a bias view and therefore ensured non- biased data.
The major users of 15-25 year category were mainly social category. Apple through iphone was able to change this trend into business-oriented category through product brand awareness. Frequent feedback helped also to change the social cool status into a more business cool category of users. Notable mechanism Apple used was offering incentives for the participants and this procedure encouraged more users to participate in the feedback process.
Also, iphone provided customer satisfaction studies through engaging third party firms to provide un-biased sampling. The process of also allowing users to design or customize their own iphone online was a positive move that encouraged future refinement for the future iphone models. Lastly Apple fan website is the best tool Apple has used against it products and this has allowed more understanding among the Mac faithful since they are the biggest Apple customers (Chiesa, 342 2000)
I-D-U benefit analysis
Importance and motivation to target customers
Iphone is very important to the customers because it enables the people to use a 3G device which is very comfortable when using and also enables quick access to the internet and also offers entertainment. This is why when marketing the iphone, Apple will first has to put the importance of the target customers and hence ensuring that the product is of high quality. It is in this effect that for the product to be of high quality the employees are given an incentive of five dollars for every phone that they produce and is not rejected. Iphone has several controls which have been implemented successfully. For instance, a $5 incentive is given to workers for every non-reject phone they produce.
Also a $10 phone six sigma is given out for every quality program as well as a compensation of $5000 annually for the best practice training. Above all, there is use of control measures that is able to monitor quality and end user satisfaction. The iphone has included an Apple customer service bar as well as customer service hotline in the phonebook in order for the customers to air any possible technical problems they may encounter. This has enabled the firm to react accordingly to any rising technical problems. Another strategy of detecting anomalies is through the monthly sales by segments and channels and accordingly with monthly expenses.
Incase of slow sales, Apple has offered refunds of iphone to customers who have only purchased other related Apple products. This strategy has enabled the Apple firm to develop a closer relationship with the upper-level customers whom style is the major determinant and also those who are aspiring to get an iphone in the near future. The process of also updating and lowering prices has enabled the Apple Company to build a market share and attract more buyers and channel retailers (Cavusgil, 20 1994)
Deliverable to the Brand
Iphone marketing strategy has four marketing organizations. However, for a better adjustment to international and local markets Apple required additional Apple marketing managers to carry out localization strategy which was best implemented through a top-down approach. Better relationship was strengthened not only to the team but to the product when the CEO Steve Jobs dedicated to work with iphone team of operations managers, Design engineers, marketing mangers, software engineers, business development mangers and product managers.
The strategy they implemented was that Steve Jobs was to be overall media spokesman while other managers like marketing manager would be required to seek advertisement agencies. Thereafter, operations as well as the engineering teams are required for the quick implementation and ensuring customer satisfaction. (Li, 476 1999)
Unique to the Brand
Iphone is a unique device which has had a very positive impact on the smart phone. It is for this reason that other vendors like Samsung saw the benefit of the launch of the Iphone by Apple and this is because the market was now ready for expensive smart phones and this means that the other companies will follow the trend by Apple. However, the Iphone brand will remain a unique brand even if other vendors start devices which are similar to the Iphone and this is because it is a pioneer in the market. The marketing of the device will be simple due to its unique nature in the market.
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