iPad is the new innovation from Apple – an exciting and possibly trend setting product in the next few years. Since the launch of the product, the market feedbacks have been good and the sales is increasing. This article will investigate the internet advertising of the product in its website. The observed advertising and marketing practices employed by the website will be compared to the theoretical principles of advertising.
In theories, all marketing plans or campaigns should begin by investigating the needs and the demands of the consumers or customers. It is very important to identify the specific segment market that a marketing campaign is directed towards. To find out who is the target audience, it is important for a firm to profile the target audience in the first place – so that the marketing efforts can be directly targeted to them. There are four main categories of variables can be used in comprehensively profiling the target customers, namely, (a) geographic variables, (b) demographic variables, (c) psychographic variables, and (d) behavioral variables.
From the geographical perspective, the customers can be profiled according to the location of the customers. Several segments of customers can be profiled according to country, state, region, county or city. From this perspective, the customers are separated into different areas so that marketing activities can be directed to focus on somewhere that potential customers are abundant. From the demographic perspective, the mass market can be divided into different profile according to measurable variables such as sex, age, earning capability, marital status, educational level, religion or race. From the psychographic perspective however, the population can be separated into different profile according to the psychological differences among the people. For example, lifestyle, interests, opinions, personality, self-concept, motivation can be used as the several dimensions to profile a particular market segment. Lastly, the pool of customers can also be separated by the observable purchasing behaviors. For example, how the customers use the product, where the customers purchase the product, the brand loyalty of customers, and the responsiveness of customers towards price and promotion are all critical factors that can be used effectively to profile the customers.
From the products’ designs and features, iPad is definitely a cutting edge technological innovative product designed for the modern technology savvy consumers. The profiling of the customers according to various perspectives can be presented in table below.
|Demographic||Age||iPad is a product for a huge range of people from all ages. It is particularly appealing for teenage to working adults. Teenagers may be purchasing the products because it is trendy and cool; while the working adults may buy it due to the convenience and functions.|
|Income||The income level of iPad range from middle income to affluent customers. The pricing is set so that a huge portion of middle income individuals or family able to purchase it without much troubles.|
|Education||The user of iPad must be at least having some degree of technology savvy or experiences. Any individuals that able to operate effectively with a modern hand phone may be able to operate iPad without many problems.|
|Occupation||The occupation customers can range from students to all sorts of working adults. iPad is particularly useful for people who want to stay connected always, have a need to rely on modern technology for daily tasks or simply buying it for convenience purposes.|
|Psychographic||Lifestyle||Customers buying iPad are more likely to be of that trendy-seeking, technology reliant, and communication oriented customers. Customers are more likely to be living in a city, where he find the usage of iPad highly convenience in railway station, on a bus or in a car. Staying connected always is a requirement of the customers.|
|Personality||Customers purchasing iPad are likely to have risk-taking, fun-seeking and adventurous personality – as iPad is relatively a new product. This segment of customer may like to stay in front of the technological changes and love to try out new creations.|
|Behavioral||Usage||Customers buying iPad is primarily attracted by the products ability to stay connected always and access to personal data, video, books, music and games. Between the times waiting for a bus or friends, people with iPad able to fully utilize their time with entertainment or works.|
|Brand loyalty||Perhaps some customers are loyal to the Apple brand of electronics accessories. They have been buying Apple computers, iPhone, iPod and now iPad. This group of customers may buy whatever products offered by Apple – as having such a cool accessories is representative of their personal identify and style.|
It is generally agreed that the consumer buying decision process follow a five steps process as follow: (1) need recognition, (2) information search, (3) evaluation of alternatives, (4) purchase decision, and (5) post-purchase behavior. In such a process, the framework of antecedent states is outlined below.
The consumers buying decision of iPad is primarily invoke by the excellent advertising effects and the previous brand reputation impacts from iPod from the company. The company successfully creates a need to buy iPad with effective advertising on the functionality, attractiveness, convenience, cutting edge technology offered by the products. Te customers are guided to search the information regarding the product in internet – and they have nothing similar products to compare to. The iPad concept is the first products of its kind to the market place on a global scale – it enjoys a first mover advantage significantly. As there are no competitors’ products or effective substitute, the customer proceed to buy the newly launch innovative iPad, driven primarily by emotional factors with some part of logical thinking. The key factors observed to induce consumers to buy the products it due to the perceived convenience offered by the products, the reputable brand name, the perception that accessories offered by Apple is a cool and trendy one, and an urge to try out the new innovation ahead of others.
Positioning of a product is very important because it deliver critical messages to the prospective consumers – and may influence the buying decision making process of the particular consumer. According to researchers, the positioning strategy should consist of three dimensions: (a) customer targets (i.e., referring to the results obtained from the segmentation research); (b) competitor targets (i.e., referring to the results from external environment analysis); and (c) competitive advantage (i.e., referring to the research results from environmental analysis). In formulating the positioning goals, researcher is arguing that positioning is not what marketers do to the product, but what marketers deal with the consumers’ mind. Comprehending how a mind perceives events, stores or rejects information will enhance the probability of ensuring the positioning objective are successfully implemented with actual positioning in the target marketplace. In more general language, positioning is how the marketer frames a particular product offering to the marketplace – so that people will perceive that these products are what they desire to have and sought after. The positioning of the firm should be clear and appealing – able to attract the target customers’ immediately once the marketing communication channels are launched.
The positioning of iPad is brilliantly crafted – a fantastic marketing positioning by Apple. The tagline of iPad tells everything – ‘a magical and revolutionary product at an unbelievable price’ – essentially an excellent value proposition with fantastic pricing. Based on the previous research and discussion on the target market, Apple categorized its positioning strategy effectively to four distinctive segments of customers – as evidences by the layout design of its famous website. These four positioning and illustration of various distinctive features and wonderful benefits of the products are discussed according to the layout design by iPad as shown graphically below.
Table: Discussion on iPad Positioning Strategy
|Value Proposition||Explanation of the Positioning Strategy|
|The best way to experience the web, email, photos, and video. Hands down.||Such a statement is appealing to people who eager to experience a new way of living – to have a one stop solution for common daily task, such as able to check email, watch photos, access to videos and books in a portable iPad.|
|It’s hard to believe we could fit so many great ideas into something so thin.||The iPad is positioned as something small, light and yet highly powerful. This is trendy, cool and cutting edge. These features of statement will be particularly appealing to teenagers or students, or even working adults who seek a cool and trendy self-concept or personality.|
|Thousands of apps made just for iPad. With more coming every day.||This will be highly appealing for the technology savvy users, gamers or tech-nerds. These groups of people are buying the products to truly involve in utilizing the products to the fullest – and to stay knowledgeable in the new technological accessories offered by reputable companies.|
|iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G. The best way to stay connected.||This feature is particularly for people who want to stay connected always with friends, access to social media and networks, and highly involved with new internet social portal such as Facebook and Twitter.|
Marketing communication is often referred to the way by which a firm informs, remind or educate the consumers, either consciously or unconsciously about the products the company is offering. Marketing communication is important because it serves as the voice of the brand and the products, while at the similar time establish a dialogue with the customers indirectly. Marketing communication can often be used to demonstrate the usage of a product, the advantages and benefits offered, and often to associate the brands to certain criteria the marketer plan for.
Developing effective communication strategy usually involves eight steps. Firstly, it is important to identify the exact target audience. Secondly, the marketer must determine the communication objectives. Thirdly, the contents of the communication must be designed. Next, the communication channels are selected. Besides, the budget for the communication program should also be determined. The communication mixes are to be considered properly. After the communication program is implemented, it is crucial for the marketer to measure the communication results.
There are six major modes of communication to the customers – and they are often referred to as the marketing communication mix. The six major modes of communication include: advertising; sales promotion; events and experiences; public relations and publicity; direct marketing; and personal selling. All of these methods have their respective advantages and disadvantages. It is important for the marketer to decide on the best communication mode to be used to effectively reach and influence the consumers. Psychologically speaking, to convey their messages effectively, marketers should encode their messages in a manner that fully consider how the target audience will decode and absorb the messages. Apart from that, the marketers must also transmit the messages through effective media that able to reach the target audiences while at the same time develop feedback channels from the customers to investigate the customers’ response to the messages.
Various mass media and communication mediums are used by Apple to promote the newly launch iPad. Before the launch of the products, the company had already successfully built a sense of excitement in the prospective consumer minds. Besides, the previous products by Apple, such as iPhone and iPod are also successful and receive excellent word of mouth promotion from many customers. It is reasonable to believe that all these are setting up the stage for the company in launching a highly successful product in the future. The communication strategies of iPad are well-designed and carefully planned. The entire message apparently designed to reach the market at an internally consistent and mutually supportive manner – strong brand name, excellent and revolutionary innovative product, trendy and cool. All the marketing channels – namely the internet, television advertisement, the advertisements in newspapers or magazines, and the poster in shopping malls able to exhibit and communicate a focus message to the customers – the launch of a revolutionary and cutting edge products by Apple is around the corner. Eager customers are then trigger to search for more information on the company website.
After the formulation of the most likely to be successful communication strategies, the media used to channel the communication messages to the market place must be determined. Researchers have been categorizing the mass media into six different channels – namely: (1) advertising; (2) sales promotion; (3) events and experiences; (4) public relations and publicity; (5) direct marketing; and (6) personal selling. All of these channels have their distinctive advantages.
Advertising is any paid form of general presentation and suggestion of ideas, goods, services or offering by a specific sponsor. Advertising is a very common form of media used by firms today. Advertisement may be placed on television program, radio, internet and etc. Sales promotion, however, is the diverse collection of incentive tools design to stimulate purchase behaviors among consumers. The tools available under a sales promotion program include consumer promotion, trade promotion, business and sales force promotion. The third media for communicating the value proposition of a firm is through events and experiences. By employing this method, the marketer aims to use events and experiences to become part of special or more personal relevant moment in consumer daily lives. Provided the events and experiences programs are managed properly, consumers’ involvement or participation in events organized by a company can broaden and deepen the relationships between sponsor and customers. Recently, public relation is also a great channel widely used by firm to promote or protect a company’s image and its products. Under this program, the marketing public relation is set up to support the other marketing programs. The advantages of this technique is that it can affect public awareness at a fraction of the cost of advertising and it is often much credible.
A review of the various marketing communication channel discover that Apple does have primary and secondary communication medium. The secondary communication mediums are those advertisements in newspaper, blog, magazines, television and posters. All these mediums are to invoke the desire of prospective customers to search out the product. By increasing the desires and interests among the customers, the customers are guided to search the products on the internet, and ultimately, they will easily and directly directed to the Apple company website – featuring its new products – the remarkable revolutionary iPad. The website is well-design, clear, concise, and cool-looking. It is easy to navigate. Users eager to obtain the products are guided to obtain it from the various Apple Stores around the world. Not only that, a lot of interesting video are also being utilized to create a different experiences for the prospective consumers – further triggering their desires to buy and possess the new gadgets. Demonstrations on how to use the products are creatively presented – with nice video and flashy animation in the website. The website is indeed a very successful media strategy employed by the company.
Overall, the advertising of iPad is a successful one. This can be seen from the high sales volume worldwide since the launch of the product in April 2010. The marketing communication designed by the company is an excellent one – all elements are seemingly internally consistent and mutually supportive – effectively crafting a professional, cutting edge and modern image in the perceptions of consumers. The advertising campaigns designed and executed by the firm deserve serious marketers’ attention – a lot can be learned from marketing activities by Apple. It is a very rare case in recent business success stories.
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