This report includes a critical assessment of the marketing mix strategy for Apple iPhone 4S. A brief introduction about the importance of marketing mix strategy has been presented which is followed by a brief description of iPhone 4S including its price and feature. iPhone 4S is Apple Inc’s mobile devise that is targeted at higher end and middle end consumer groups. The assessment of product strategy, pricing strategy and promotion strategy of iPhone 4S indicates that it is an innovative product and the prices are designed keeping in view the requirements of middle end consumers. The promotional activities for iPhone 4S indicates that it is promoted through TV commercial ads and the marketing mix adjustment strategies has also been proposed which indicates that the prices for iPhone should be matched with other similar range of mobile phones. The promotional activities should include a wide range of promotional tools including public relations through offering discounts, coupon, additional add-ons etc.
The introduction of new products in the market is performed on every day basis but majority of them fails to create an impact in the market because of inappropriate marketing mix strategies for their product. An effective marketing mix strategy is highly essential in achieving success for the product. The marketing mix strategy necessitates the need for development of effective product, pricing and promotion strategies for the product so that it can be able to create an impact on the target consumers and ultimately, a better overall success for the product can be achieved. This indicates that an appropriate marketing mix strategy is crucial for the success of a newly launched product in the market. The product developed by the company should have the potential to satisfy the needs of the customers, and its prices should be such that it leads to value for money to the consumer who buys it. Further, in order to make the consumers aware of the product, it is essential to develop certain promotional plans for the product as well.
In this report, an analysis of the product, pricing and promotion strategies for the product iPhone 4S will be performed with a clear assessment of its target market and the product features offered by the company. In addition to this, the promotional tools that has been used in order to communicate the product to the market will also be assessed which will be followed by an assessment of its pricing strategy by the company. Finally, the market mix adjustment strategy for iPhone 4S will be assessed and the entire findings about the product will be included in the conclusion section of this report.
Product and Target Market Description
As already specified, the product that has been selected for analysing its marketing mix strategies is iPhone 4S. It is a product of Apple Inc which is a multinational company based in US. The company is known for development of innovative electronics equipment and iPhone is one such innovative mobile phone developed by Apple Inc. Company has started producing iPhone since 2005 and thereafter, it has launched various models of iPhone in the market. iPhone 4S is the latest version of mobile phone by the company and it comprises of numerous functions and features to satisfy all the requirements of a consumer from a phone. As for instance, Apple iPhone 4S have important features including portable media player, 8 mega pixel video camera, web browsing capabilities, Internet client with email, 3G connectivity and wifi. There are various sizes and capacity in which iPhone 4S is available in the market including 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB. The price of Apple iPhone 4S for 16 GB is US $199, for 32 GB US $299 and for 64 GB US $399 (Apple Inc, 2012).
The target market for a product implies the target consumers on which the product is being targeted. The selection of an appropriate target market is essential so that it can be launched into the market with appropriate strategies that would lead to higher acceptance of the product by the targeted consumers. With respect of iPhone 4S, the target audience of the company includes mid tier consumers, as the company aims at targeting a large volume of customers instead of few higher end consumers. In order to ensure that the product is acceptable to wider customer database, it has made every possible attempt to keep the pricing of its iPhone 4S within the reach of middle class consumers (Apple iPhone 4S pricing designed to widen its appeal, 2011). Apart from this, the target market for iPhone 4S also includes the customers of previous versions of iPhone who wish to upgrade their iPhone to iPhone 4S (Smartphone wars: iPhone 4S vs. Droid RAZR, 2011).
Product Type and Marketing Mix Implication: iPhone 4S is a mobile phone device that is primarily designed for allowing consumers to establish communication with others and also to perform a wide range of functions including connecting with internet, sharing their thoughts and knowledge through social networking, storing images etc. It is a mobile phone that serves the purpose of allowing communication to its users with others. The marketing mix implication for mobile phone product is essential as the mobile phone companies are required to develop all the elements of marketing mix strategies such as product strategy, pricing strategy, promotion strategy etc. The success of mobile phones depends upon the effectiveness with which it is being priced and launched in the market. This indicates a greater implication of marketing mix strategies for mobile phones industry (Sandhusen, 2008).
Positioning Strategy used for the Product: The positioning strategy for a product implies the creation of desirable and distinctive position in the minds of consumers so that a higher acceptability for the product can be achieved on the part of consumers (Sengupta, 2005). As Apple Inc is known for the most innovative company in the electronics industry, it develops products that are highly innovative by nature. As a result, the positioning of iPhone 4S is mostly done as the most innovative mobile phone that presents a wide range of features to its customers. The iPhone 4S also includes certain new features over its earlier version of iPhones such as retina display and company has highlighted all these additional features to create an image of iPhone 4S as the most innovative product.
Product Description on the basis of three levels of Product: A product can be effectively defined on the basis of three important levels such as core product, tangible/formal product and augmented product. The core product implies the basic function served by the product and in case of iPhone 4S, its basic function is to allow people to communicate with each other. The tangible description implies the specific features and benefits of the product such as the quality, styling, brand name, design etc. Apple iPhone 4S is already having brand reputation of being the most innovative mobile phone and its design is also perfect as it is getting thinner and new features are also added on regular basis as the company launched new version of its iPhone. Finally, thede augmented product indicates the add-ons that are extrinsic to the product and they have the potential to influence the buying decision of consumers (Seaton and Bennett, 1996). In case of Apple iPhone 4S, its augmented features include its availability in instalments, better service centres from Apple in the form of i-stores etc.
The promotion of the product is highly essential so that the information about the new product can be brought into the knowledge of target audience. There are various promotional strategies that can be adopted in order to ensure that the most effective promotion of the product is being performed and the target customers are fully made aware of all the features associated with it (Odugbemi, 2008). With respect to Apple Inc, it has also used a number of promotional tools in order to communicate the features of its product to market. As for instance, the company has promoted its iPhone 4S through its own website by including detailed features offered in its iPhone 4S. Apart from this, Apple iPhone 4S is also promoted by way of TV commercials as well whereby company communicates the headline feature of its iPhone 4S-siri and also promoted about its siri in displaying musical notes to the users (Morris, 2012).
A copy of the television advertisement used to communicate with the target audience is given below:
The above mentioned TV advertisement by Apple Inc in order to communicate with its target customers and to promote its iPhone 4S can be accessible at:
Advantages and Disadvantages of using this Promotional Tool: There are certain advantages as well as disadvantages of using TV commercial in order to promote its iPhone 4S. As for instance, the most important advantage to Apple Inc from using TV commercial in promoting its iPhone 4S is that it can reach a wider target audience in a most effective manner. Further, television makes use of a wide range of effects to communicate the product features such as sound, print, video, still photos, motions etc in order to attract the attention of potential consumers. However, the disadvantage of using TV commercials is that it cannot be solely used to ensure that the product has been promoted among its entire target audience. For instance, the working people often have less time to watch TV and majority of the people switches to different channels during advertisements. As a result of this, those consumers cannot be considered as having complete knowledge of the product offered by the company (Shimp, 2008).
The promotion through TV ads suits highly in promoting Apple’s iPhone because through TV commercials, the attention of most of the customers can be drawn and as the commercial ads by the company explains the features available to users from iPhone, it can be regarded as a most effective promotional tool. Through TV ads, it became possible for the company to reach its target consumers on a wider basis and they are effective enough in creating an impact over the targeted consumers.
Pricing Strategy used for Apple iPhone 4S
The strategy with respect to the pricing of the product is another major determining factor for the success of the product. The pricing strategy of the product should be such that it allows the customers to develop a sense of feeling about the product as ‘value for money’ product. This can only be attained through developing an effective pricing strategy for the product depending upon the needs and budget of its target customers. As identified, the company aims at targeting the middle end and higher end consumers for its Apple iPhone 4S and as a result, the pricing objective for the product has been to keep it reasonable for middle end consumers to buy the product. The strategy that has been used for the iPhone 4S is to set different prices for different its different capacities of 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB models. As for instance, the prices of Apple iPhone 4S having capacity of 16 GB is US $199, for 32 GB is US $299 and for 64 GB it is US $399 (Apple Inc, 2012). The different prices allow the medium class consumers as well as higher end group consumers to effectively make its purchase.
The pricing strategy for iPhone 4S is discussed through the perceptual map during the introductory phase is presented as follows:
The perceptual map during the introductory phase for Apple iPhone 4S is compared with the phones in the similar ranges from other companies including Motorola, Samsung, Nokia etc and it has been evaluated that the quality of Apple iPhone 4S is at the top most position and the prices for iPhone 4S initially are also higher as compared to other phones such as Samsung Galaxy II, Motorola Droid RAZR and Nokia Lumia. The map also indicates that the quality of other phones remains within a reasonable acceptable level, but the prices for all other phones are lower initially during the introduction phase.
However, a tremendous change is expected with respect to the price of iPhone 4S and other major mobile phones, but the quality of Apple iPhone 4S would remain the same as indicated in the perceptual map below in the maturity stage:
The perceptual map in the maturity stage for Apple iPhone 4S indicates that the quality of the phone would remain the same but there will be decline in the prices of iPhone 4S because of lower relevance for iPhone 4S, as the company is planning to launch iPhone 5 with most admirable features. As a result, the features included in iPhone 4S will become less relevant as most the consumers would prefer to buy the latest versions of iPhone. However, with respect to prices of other phones, they are also likely to experience reduction in the prices.
Marketing Mix Adjustment Strategies
The assessment of the marketing mix strategies for Apple iPhone 4S has resulted into the identification of certain strength points as well as weak points of its strategy. On the basis of analysis, it can be said that the strategies with respect to pricing and promotion can be further adjusted to achieve higher level of recognition for the product among its targeted consumers. As for instance, the targeting strategies could be made more specific with identifying the specific consumer groups that can be targeted for its iPhone 4S such as business professionals or young people groups that have flair of using high features phones such as iPhone, Samsung Galaxy etc. In addition to this, the pricing strategy can be made more innovative and acceptable to more of its target market segment by keeping it slightly lower as compared to its major competitors such as Samsung and Motorola, and finally, there are a range of promotional tools to make the iPhone highly visible to its target consumers including public relations whereby company can offer discounts, or other offers such as buying iPhone 4S would provide them with additional add-ons with it.
Conclusion and Recommendation
A critical analysis of the Apple iPhone 4S has been performed with specific emphasis being placed on the marketing mix strategy adopted by Apple Inc for its latest version of iPhone. The target market has been assessed for Apple iPhone and it is identified that its target market includes middle and high end consumer groups which is followed by an assessment of its product, promotion and pricing strategies. The product strategy is assessed and it indicates that iPhone 4S includes all the important features that are essential to be included in a modern android phone. The company has also used promotional tools in the form of TV advertisement to promote its product and the pricing strategy indicates that the pricing for iPhone 4S is different for its different capacities.
On the basis of analysis, it is recommended that the pricing for iPhone 4S should be kept little lower as compared to its competitors such as Samsung, Nokia and Motorola phones in the same range, and there should be wider use of promotional tools in order to promote the iPhone among its target audience such as coupons, discounts, additional add-ons features etc.