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  • Subject Name : Marketing strategy

Fundamentals of Marketing

Market Audit

When developing a market strategy for a product it is important for the marketing managers to conduct a market audit and analyse a variety of factors including customer landscape (Stone & Desmond, 2007). The marketing managers should dedicate efforts to undertake market audit which will help them in understanding the market and the consumers of that market to appropriately position their product and thus increase sales.

This marketing audit in simple terms can be described as a comprehensive, and systematic analysis, assessment, evaluation and interpretation of the business marketing environment (Stone & Desmond, 2007). It considers the assessment of both internal and external business environment its goals, objectives, strategies, principles to understand the gaps and problem areas. This market audit also helps to define the opportunities available for the business and thus assist the marketing managers to develop and create and a plan of action and strategies to enhance the business’s marketing performance.

  • Market audit and consumer behaviour

Marketing audit also include understanding the customers or the consumer population of that market. Behaviour of consumers and their decision of buying a product or service is influenced by marketing factors like pricing and promotion (Kanagal, 2016). Consumer behaviour in simple term can be described as the decision-making process, actions that a consumer performs when purchasing a product of service (Wu and Li, 2016). Analysing consumer behaviour enables us to understand a consumer’s selection criteria and how their needs, wants and desires. It very essential for companies to record the behaviour of its customers to influence their buying decisions and gain competitive advantage. It is necessary for organizations to alter their marketing strategies and continuously adapt according to the changing consumers demands in this new business world. The marketing mix and this consumer attitude the of a business largely impact the sales and also the success of business (Achar et.al., 2016). More customer satisfaction results have positive effect on customer loyalty.

  • Factors affecting consumer behaviour

It is essential for the businesses to understand the mindset of consumer and how the social, legal, technical, legal and economic factors influence consumer buying behaviour. A firm often reuses and might at times alter its marketing and promotion strategy in different regions across the globe according to these factors and prevailing consumer behaviour of that region (Thieu et.al. 2017). The key for organizations to be successful in the market is to adapt communication and promotion strategies which will suit the consumer’s need and taste.

Business environment and consumer behaviour is strongly influenced by a number of internal and external factors like social, technical, legal and economic factors. The political factors take into consideration the political and legal situations of the market, the laws, tariffs and taxes related to businesses that the prevailing government levies (Fahy & Jobber, 2015). Apple company is headquartered in USA and thus has its major operations in USA. The political conditions of USA are quite conducive for its operations (Sathappan, 2017). Since, it has its distribution and operations other regions of the globe, it is important for the company to abide by the laws and trade tariffs of that region. The factors involve the economy and the condition of the market. The social factors consist of all the factors of culture, sub-culture, demographics, locality, ethnicity, social class, family, etc of the consumers, market and the influence of these on consumer buying pattern.

Since the company manufactures smartphones and computers, the products which are used by almost everyone today it attracts the younger generation more. Technology is every changing concept and businesses need to these ever-changing technological aspects (Fahy, & Jobber, 2015). In the case of Apple company, this is one of the most important factors that will have an influence on the company. The businesses need to analyse these factors, to understand how the consumers react to the technological trends and what are their needs. Apple is often is known to set trends in the technological market by bringing in technological advances quiet early with its each product launch and at a premium price.

SWOT Analysis

For the success of any business, it is essential for the businesses to understand and analyse the external and internal factors. These factors contribute to realize the trends in the market and thus implement the strategies accordingly. Along with the understanding these factors, it is also essential for the businesses to evaluate its competitive position in the marketing and thus act accordingly (Gurel, 2017). For this purpose, the businesses use different types of techniques. One of the techniques essentially used by any business before launching its product and also after its launch is the technique of SWOT analysis. SWOT analysis is the technique to assess the four elements of any product or business i.e. evaluating and analysing the strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities of that product or business (Gurel, 2017).

SWOT analysis assesses internal and external factors, as well as current and future potential. It understands the performance, competition, risk, and potential of a business. A SWOT analysis of a business helps to interpret about the strategies of the company. The companies maximize its performance on basis of its strengths and available opportunities. It is a strategic decision-making and management tool that gives insight about the most concerning issues faced by the company, on the basis of the internal business conditions and the external environment (Gurel, 2017). The strengths and weakness are the internal factors within the organization while the threats and opportunities are external factors to the organization. The internal and external factors of the SWOT analysis for Apple company can be describe as follows:

  • Strengths- the strengths of this company include its strong brand image, its innovative technological progress, high profit margin due to premium pricing strategy (Sathappan, 2017). This strength maximizes profits, even when sales volumes are limited. 
  • Weakness- understanding weaknesses is understanding the inadequacies of the company (Morgan, Whitler, Feng, & Chari, 2018). The weakness of this company includes limited distribution channels, high prices and the sales being dependent on high-end market segments. High product prices often attract only the customers with high spending power and thus is limited to a niche market.
  • Opportunities- the opportunities available to this company are distribution network expansion, higher sales volumes due to increasing demand and development of new product lines (Gurel, 2017). This company can expand and try to penetrate the untapped markets and thus increase sales volumes. Along, with premium products it can also develop new product lines which will cater to the other customers also apart from the high-income group.
  • Threats- the factors possessing threats to this company are aggressive competition, imitation and rising labour cost in various countries. Apple faces severe competition from other companies like Samsung, HP, dell, Microsoft, etc. (Sathappan, 2017). The company also has to face the threat of imitation. The local companies nowadays easily imitate the best features launched by Apple and offer at a considerably lower price, thus harming Apple company.

Many of the competitors of Apple are primarily the manufacturers of computers, laptops and smartphones. The biggest competitors include Dell computers, Lenovo, HP, Microsoft for computers and laptops, and Samsung for smartphones (Sathappan, 2017).

Marketing Strategy

Once the marketing managers conduct this market audit and evaluate the consumer behaviour and attitude, they need to define the marketing objectives and to develop marketing strategies to according to the interpretation based of these evaluations. Some specific marketing objectives which can be outlined for Apple are as follows (Sathappan, 2017):

  • To be increase its market capitalization and market share
  • To develop a more neutral marketing strategies for all the customer segment and increase their reach
  • To increase its brand awareness and brand loyalty
  • To develop promotion strategies to tap the unpenetrated market

Marketing strategies are required and essential to fuel the growth of the business performance and achieve the marketing objectives (Morgan, Whitler, Feng, & Chari, 2018). Developing and implementing the right marketing strategy is a key to achieve a market leader position and gain competitive advantage. Marketing strategies and communication activities impact the consumer’s behaviour and opinion for a product or service. Good and effective marketing and communication strategies enables the firms to stand out differently in the market place.

One such important stage of developing a marketing strategy is using the segmentation, targeting and positioning techniques for the market. These elements are very important aspect of a firm’s marketing strategy.

  • Segmentation, Positioning and Targeting

Market segmentation is classifying the population into groups according to certain characteristics. It is dividing buyers into distinct and measurable groups that have similar needs and wants (Andaleeb, 2016). Once different segments are identified, it enables marketing managers to decide on which target segments should they focus to support corporate strategy and growth. Targeting is choosing specific groups of people identified as a result of segmentation to sell and market product and services. Segmentation, targeting and positioning is the process of identifying, assessing and choosing a business’s potential customer, pursuing them to purchase the products and services and creating a value for these customers. A population of consumers can be divided into groups based on location, lifestyle, and demographics (Andaleeb, 2016). Segmentation, targeting and positioning is important in developing and determining the company’s marketing, communication, and marketing strategy. For example, an automobile company may divide its customers on basis of spending power of customers. Market segmentation, targeting and positioning provides useful information to the marketers about prospective customers and guide their strategic decisions and to ensure that marketing activities are more buyer focused.

Customer segment of the Apple company include the consumers who appreciate design along with quality and performance of technological products and services over the prices of that products. Positioning is the process of selecting of the marketing mix elements most suitable for the target customer segment. The Apple company has positioned itself as a premium brand in the minds of the consumers that offers products and services with advanced functions and capabilities for additional costs. The typical customers of this company are the ones who have an eye for sleek and modern design, and who desire concepts smart lifestyle and the inclusion of technology into their day to day life. Thus, the customer segment of the company Apple consists of consumers with high spending power and the ones who are willing to pay extra amount for technology products and services with advanced design, functions and capabilities.

Apple company has mostly used the technique of niche-marketing to market its products. It niche-marketing strategy comprises of the use of mono-segment type of positioning, that positions the company and its products and services in the mind of single customer segment and appeals to the needs and wants of only one customer segment (Rogan, 2017). Niche- marketing technique focuses and targets a unique set of customers. Instead of developing a common and universal marketing strategy for all customers these type of technique focuses exclusively on one segment or group of people. This technique considers the demographics and potential of the customers those will be affected and benefited by its offering. Thus, Apple company also targets its products to the customers who are well off and are influenced by the technological and advanced features.

 Value proposition is an important part of a company’s strategy that attracts customers to purchase its products (Andaleeb, 2016). Apple has been able to build a good value proposition in the market and good brand value. Apple company’s value proposition tries to convince the customers that its products are the best in the market and better than the competitors’ product to influence the consumer’s buying decision (Sathappan, 2017). Some of value proposition of Apple products communicated by the company can be outlined as follows:

  • Apple products are known for their modern, sleek and light-weight product design
  • The company is known to be a leader in technological revolutions and advancements with every new product launch (Sathappan, 2017).
  • It has an autonomous operating system, iOS with advanced security.

Marketing Mix- The Four Ps(4Ps) of Marketing

The marketing mix consists of all the elements associated with the marketing of a product or service, that influences the buying decision and behaviour of the consumer (Ganesh, 2019). For developing an effective marketing strategy, a company implements the idea of integrated communication mix and marketing mix This marketing mix comprises of four elements that have an impact on a product performance and sale. These four functions of marketing mix are also called as four Ps (4Ps) of marketing and include product, price, place (of distribution), and promotion (Masterson, Philips & Pickton, 2017). These four elements of the marketing mix can be described elaborately as follows:

  1. Product- product is the most necessary function the marketing mix. Product is a what a company offers in the market in exchange of a price. It is any tangible good or intangible service or experience that aims to satisfy the needs and wants of a target customer. The marketing strategies are designed based of this product. The product line of Apple consists of various electronic products like laptops and computers, smartphones, smartwatches, tablet computers, media player, etc. The main product feature of Apple products is advanced technology along with modern and sleek design.
  1. Price- Price is the money value or charged by a company for a product or service. It is what the companies gets in return for the efforts applied in manufacturing that product of service. Price is not just the monetary value of a product. But it is also the time or effort the customer is willing to spend to acquire it. The basic aim of this pricing element is to get an investment return. Pricing also helps in competition prevention and gaining competitive advantage. Accordingly, Apple company uses a premium pricing strategy or approach. By offering the premium pricing it appeals to the customer to offer the best customer experience. Most of the Apple products are of a high price range are thus are purchased by people of high income and high spending power. Although, nowadays Apple has also included product lines offering a vast range of products with medium pricing apart from premium pricing.
  1. Place- this explains the channel or place of distribution of the products and service. It includes the different channels and medium of distribution of the product and service. The basic aim of this function of marketing mix is to make the right product or service available at the right time and at the right place and also in the right quantities. In simple terms it can be referred to providing customers an access to the product. Apple has a vast distribution network. The products of this company are nowadays available across the globe. It distributes its products mostly through its proprietary or franchisee stores known as Apple stores. It also uses the retail and dealership counters for its distribution. With the modernization and technological advancement, Apple also extensively uses online platforms for its product distribution nowadays.
  1. Promotion- Promotion of a product basically is the communication process for communicating the information, ideas, product features and uses of a product to a target group of people or consumers with a view to motivate sales. It is a tool used by companies to create awareness about the brand. It motivates the customers to buy the product that is promoted over the products of competitors. Promotional tools used by businesses are advertisement commercials and campaigns, direct marketing, social media marketing, public relations, etc (Dimyati, 2015). Thus, an effective promotion campaign for a product is an essential to register that product or brand in consumer mind and to influence buying decision. Like most of the companies, Apple also uses the traditional methods of promotional activities. The company uses print media and advertisements tools like television commercials, print advertisements, etc. Being one of the technological advanced country Apple has also started the use of digital marketing strategies. Advertising the products on social media platforms, where people spend most of their active time nowadays, has helped the company to increase their revenue. Through its promotional activities its promotes try to create maximum value for its target segment.

Strategies are the processes to create product, pricing, communication, and customer management strategies. Product strategy aims to build the best value of goods and services for customers and extract the most from the customer (Thieu et.al., 2017). Offering products at different price level or by only making expensive products available first helps to achieve this. Pricing strategy relates pricing of the product. Communication strategy relates to advertising and making use of appropriate media to reach the target consumer group. For example, products young generations are nowadays advertised mostly on digital channels as such a segment spends more time on social media. Customer management strategies understands consumer’s behaviour which helps to develop the best approach to promote products.

Conclusion and Recommendation on Fundamentals of Marketing

Customer demands and preferences are now changing rapidly. It is important for business to develop new ways of maintaining the current customers and attracting the new ones. Thus, the companies are spending a lot of time, efforts and expenditure on developing and creating marketing strategies that suit these changing demands and preferences of the customers. Before developing and designing the marketing strategies it is essential for the businesses to spend some time on market audit. Market audit helps to analyse and evaluate the prevalent market conditions of the market in which the company plans to launch the product. Market audit also helps to assess the consumer buying behaviour and the other related factors. Based on these interpretations, the marketers then design appropriate marketing strategies.

While developing the marketing strategies it is important for the businesses to consider that marketing strategies are long-term and forward-looking approaches. A marketing strategy is basically a game plan of any business with the main goal of achieving a competitive advantage. The four marketing mix elements of product, price, place and promotion affect the consumer’s decision-making process in the today’s competitive market. It is important to consider all the four elements while planning and developing a marketing strategy and to alter as per needs according to the selected market, in order to create an effective strategy.

The marketing strategy of Apple company is a successful and appropriate strategy. Through its effective and efficient strategy Apple company has been able to successfully built a brand image in the mind of the consumers. The fact that, people usually refer their Apple products with the brand name of the instead of its generic name, makes its evident that the efficient strategies of the company have registered Apple as a premium brand in minds of the consumer (Moorman, 2018). Most of the people associated with Apple brand are found to be brand loyal. However, it is recommended for the company to move a step ahead of its premium pricing approach, and also target the population with medium affordability. Thus, the company should develop strategies and products to cater to the need of this segment and offer products with a lower price range.

References for Fundamentals of Marketing

Achar, et.al (2016). What we feel and why we buy: the influence of emotions on consumer decision making. Current Opinion in Psychology, 10, 166-170.

Andaleeb, S.S. (2016). Market Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-78635-746-520161006

Dimyati, M. (2015). The role of customer satisfaction in mediating marketing communication effect on customer loyalty. International Refereed Research Journal, 5(4), 75-87.

Fahy, J. & Jobber, D. (2015). Foundations of marketing. London: McGraw-Hill Education.

Ganesh, A. (2019). Influence of 4Ps of marketing on buying behaviour. Indian Journals Academic Discourse, 8(2), 34-43.

Gurel, E. (2017). SWOT analysis: A theoretical review. The Journal of International Social Research, 10(51), 995-1006.

Kanagal, N.B (2016). An extended model of behavioural process in consumer decision making. International Journal of Marketing Studies, 8(4), 87-93.

Masterson, R., Philips, N. and Pickton, D. (2017). Marketing an introduction. London: Sage Publications.

Morgan, N., Whitler, K.A., Feng, H. & Chari, S. (2018). Research in marketing strategy. Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/327107606

Moorman, C. (2018). Why apple is still a great marketer and what you can learn. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinemoorman/2018/01/12/

Rogan, D. (2017). Marketing: An introduction for learners in Ireland. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan.

Sathappan, S. (2017). Strategic Management Analysis – Apple Watch. Retrieved from: https://pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu/etm_studentprojects/10/

Stone, M. & Desmond, J. (2007). Fundamentals of marketing. London: Routledge.

Thieu, B.T., et.al (2017). Linkages between marketing mix components and customer satisfaction: An analysis on Google in Hanoi, Vietnam. Journal of Economics and Business Research, 23(1), 123-147.

Wu, Y.L. and Li, E.Y. (2016). Marketing mix, customer value and customer loyalty in social commerce. Retrieved from: www.emraldinsight.com/1066-2243.htm.

Remember, at the center of any academic work, lies clarity and evidence. Should you need further assistance, do look up to our Marketing Strategy Assignment Help

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