Apple Strategy

Marketing strategies were central to making Apple Inc. a global success: Analysing how these strategies were so pivotal to their success. Apple Inc. made Apple brand and used it to establish an ‘Apple empire’, which accounted for many highly competitive markets, including the Smart Phone market, such as Apple IPhone. Consumer Electronics market with products, such as the Itouch and Tablet PC (personal computer) market, for instance, the Macbook Air. According to Chzain, Apple maintains more than 360 retail stores and it employs over 40,000 people, more than a million visitors come to Apple retail stores every day, Apple Stores are the best stores in retail history (2007).

Apple’s success was mainly due to it series of marketing strategies. This essay will summarize these strategies by focusing on Apple store, Apple’s aim of keeping product simple, the innovation of Apple’s product, Apple’s special product promotion and brand promotion, Apple’s sales management and Apple’s customer services and illustrate these strategies, which Apple Inc. chose, and will analyse how these strategies are so pivotal to their success. The first strategy was Apple stores. Apple made the brand experience stores, which was luxury and fantastic.

Steve Jobs, the Apple’s former CEO, tried to build a brand with customers, advocated consumers give their own advices about Apple product, gave consumers more "power of speech ", which also reflected the user’s right. It was not just a "simple" store, but Apple customers exchanged their opinions and experiences. The aim of Apple stores was ‘developing and maintaining customer relationship’ (Ferrell and Hartline, 2005:12). Marketers should make more effort to maintain and expand the relationship with their customers.

According to Ferrell and Hartline, since the last decade, marketers have realized that they can know their customers well, and make high profits, via developing long-term relationships with their customers (2005). Both customers and sellers can benefit from long-term relationship. According to Slater and Olson, ‘relationship selling is based on interdependence between sellers and buyers, sharing of critical information that is based on trust between the two parties, and longevity of the relationship that enables both parties to enjoy financial rewards from coordinated strategic investments’ (2000:815).

Customers always choose the sellers they trust and prefer to purchase products in a regular place where they have bought and satisfied. Therefore, the selling place is very important. Based on this, Apple established their store in the most popular place all over the world, such as the Apple Store in Fifth Avenue of Manhattan. The reason why Apple chose this strategy was that Apple knew it was a best way to make friends with their customers, the special in-store experience and the store itself could attract a lot of people.

As a result, Apple stores made a huge success, and via these stores, Apple maintained a long-term relationship with their customers. The second strategy was Apple keeping product simple. The reason why Apple’s products were beautiful, fashionable, impeccable, simple was that Apple ‘understanding consumer buying behaviour’ (Ferrell and Hartline, 2005:101). Marketers should know their consumer’s requirement and motivation first, then producing and selling. Ferrell and Hartline stated, make more effort to understand customer is pivotal because they provide necessary insight on how to design product and how to sell, and whether the product meets their needs (2005).

To improve the customized service, grasping the customers’ desire and the demand on the details becomes Apple’s soul, which makes people willing to purchase. This strategy help Apple to understand what customer needs and it was because Apple Inc. understanding the needs of customers very well, the sales of Apple’s products always leads other brands. The third strategy was the innovation of Apple’s product. As Doyle and Stern stated ‘innovation and new product development (NPD) have become the key strategic focus for today’s most successful companies.

Continuous innovation is perceived as the only way of sustaining above average growth and profitability’ (2006:195). Keeping innovating is not only brings high profit but also appeals to increasing number of customers. Only in the past few years, the Apple Inc. made significant innovation on the notebook production. Apple Inc. in the public mind was synonymous with innovation, innovation made Apple Inc. always lead the trend, every invention of Apple is the one and only and creative. If one day Apple created a no desktop computer, no one would be surprised.

The reason is that Apple’s products always gave customers surprises and updated fast, therefore, Apple was always in a leading position. The forth strategy was Apple’s special product promotion and brand promotion. Apple was famous for keeping secret of new product. Therefore, Apple always made great dissemination before the new product sold, including online advertising, press briefing, magazines, but never leaked information of its design and function. At the same time, Apple fans began to discuss and guess what designed of the new product and how about its function and then, curiosity and favourable impression were come into being.

This kind of advertising was the key element of the process of Apple’s dissemination. Ferrell and Hartline said that, advertising is generally one of the most apparent components of an integrated marketing communications program and is a vital element of promotion (2005). For this reason, an enormous sum of money has injected each year into advertising by Apple. As Apple believed its products were so good that the only way Apple need to do was making increasing number of people know its product.

Ferrell and Hartline reported that ‘Advertising can be a cost efficient element of an integrated marketing communication program when used to reach a large number of people via television, magazines, outdoor displays, or online ads’ (2005: 238). Advertising is a important and effective way to make increasing number of people know the product and this strategy just meet Apple’s ambitions, help Apple brand win support among the people all over the world. The fifth strategy was Apple’s sales management. As Barrow et al. said that, the key connection with the communications process between the company and customers is personal selling (2001). For this reason, make a reasonable and effective strategy of personal selling is the key.

Apple products were so popular, mainly due to controlling the market supplying, which made the market in a relatively "hungry" environment. This help to keep the prices of their products stable and the rights of product upgrading. Taking IPhone for example, Apple always adheres to limit the supply of IPhone. Apple’s sales management is the right way to use of people’s psychology of chasing fashion and to maintain high profit and market and to reach the aim of ‘personal selling’ (Barrow et al., 2001: 53). The sixth strategy was Apple’s customer services. Two kinds of customer services were typically provided by Apple. The first one is the after-sale service.

According to Apple official website, ‘all Apple hardware have free warranty for one year and at most 90 days of complimentary telephone technical support. Buying the AppleCare Protection Plan or AppleCare+’ can extend your coverage further (2012 AppleCare, n. d.). It means that Apple’s product was known for its quality. As Ferrell and Hartlin said that, pricing is a vital element in the marketing for services for connote quality on advance of the purchase experience (2005). As a consequence, Apple made the after-sale service of one-year free warranty, which is attractive and reflecting Apple’s value and quality.

The second one is the Genius Bar. As Lowensohn reported, one of the vital components of Apple's retail success has been its Genius Bar, its in-store service supporting that lets owners of Apple product bring in their gear to get looked at (2012). Genius Bar has become a defining feature and has given increasing important assistance to support service. These two characteristic services assisted Apple attracting increasingly attention.

To sum up, Apple Inc. has established an ‘Apple empire’, this is mainly due to the Apple’s own marketing strategies, such as Apple store, Apple’s aim of keeping product simple, the innovation of Apple’s product, Apple’s special product promotion and brand promotion, Apple’s sales management and Apple’s customer services. No company can compete with Apple now, other companies cannot copy Apple’s marketing strategies, but can learn the basic theories to develop markets. With the help of these marketing strategies, Apple Inc. has become very successful. Therefore, these marketing strategies were the key to Apple’s success. Word Count: 1363

References:

Apple official website (2012) Service and Support from the People Who Know Your Apple Product Best. http://www.apple.com/support/products/ Accessed: 03-09-2012.

Chzain, S. M. (2007) Marketing Apple. http://www.MarketingApple.com Accessed :03-09-2012.

Barrow, C., Brown, R. and Clarke, L. (2001) The Business Enterprise Handbook. London: Kogan Page Ltd.

Doyle, P. and Stern, P. (2006) Marketing Management and Strategy. 4th edn. Harlow: Person Education Limited.

Ferrell, O. C. and Hartline, M. D. (2005) Marketing Strategy. 3rd edn. Mason: South-Western.

Lowensohn, J. (2012) Parts of Apple's Genius Training Manual Leaked. http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57501770-37/parts-of-apples-genius-training-manual-leaked/ Accessed:03-09-2012

Slater, S. F. and Olson, E. M. (2000) Strategy Type and Performance: The Influence of Sales Force Management, Stragetic Management Journal, 21(8), 813-829.