Apple Marketing Mix: 4P’s

Marketing Mix of Apple: Product, Place, price and Promotion

Apple Marketing Mix

Apple is a renowned technology brand, recognized globally for its focus upon technological innovation. The visionary leadership of Steve Jobs had helped Apple take its initial steps towards global fame and after him, now under the leadership of Tim Cook, Apple has seen fast growth in recent years. Apple was also the first brand to reach a market value of more than $700 billion and the first past $1 Trillion (now very close to touching the $1.2 trillion mark). The brand leads the list of the world’s most valuable brands followed sharply by the other tech giants like Google, Microsoft,  Amazon, and Facebook.

While the market for PCs has declined considerably in recent years, Apple’s business has still soared. Now people agree that Apple is mainly a smartphone business and less of a computing business.  Traditionally, the technology giant has dealt in a limited range of products. However, it has expanded its array of products by adding new categories of hardware and software. It is planning further diversification into new areas. Apple has managed a system of compatible products and services. These products and services are either not compatible or have low compatibility with products by other brands. However, having its own operating system while reduces its dependence on other brands, also gives it an edge in both the smartphone and PC market. Here is an analysis of Apple’s marketing mix explaining the four P’s .

Products:

Apple’s product mix has widened a lot in recent years to include new products like Apple watch, Apple TV and several new apps. Here is a list of the products:

  • iPhone – The line of smartphones by Apple based on its iOS. The latest one in the iPhone range is iPhone 11 whose pro version (starting $999) has a triple camera mounted on its back. 
  • iPad
  • iOS
  • Apple watch
  • Macbook
  • Macbook Pro
  • iMac
  • MacOS
  • Mac Mini
  • Mac Pro
  • Ilife
  • Iwork
  • Swift Playgrounds
  • Apple TV
  • Ipod Nano
  • Ipod shuffle
  • Ipod
  • Itunes
  • Ipod touch
  • Apple Music
  • Icloud
  • Apple pay

In this way, the product range of Apple has grown quite large with several new products including great software being added recently to the portfolio. The technology giant has plans to further grow its product line by entering new areas. While the sales of Apple laptops and PCs have declined in the last few years, the iPhone (core product of Apple, accounting for the highest net sales and revenue) remains highly popular. Apple recently released the iPhone 11 with a pro version that has a triple camera and A13 Bionic chip which offers faster processing speed. The company is offering a one-year free subscription of Apple TV + with a new purchase of iPhone, iPad, Mac, iPod touch or Apple TV. On November 13, 2019, Apple released its latest and fastest ever version of Macbook Pro with a 16-inch screen, a magic keyboard and 80% faster performance. Apple’s new software complements the capabilities of its existing products and hardware.

Icloud provides a set of free cloud services for the existing Apple customers. These services work seamlessly with the iPhone, Ipad, iPod, Mac, and PC. Users can automatically and wirelessly upload their content in Icloud and then use it from all their devices. With so many devices and software, Apple’s product mix has grown quite large and attractive. Apple is trying to further enrich its product portfolio.  Its four software platforms — iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS — provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices. They empower people with breakthrough services that include the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Recently, Apple announced the complete acquisition of Shazam which is the world’s most popular and highly-rated music app that hundreds of millions around the world use. This app will remain available adfree to Apple users. In this way, Apple is continuously working to create a securer and highly engaging experience for its users.

Place:

Apple uses multiple distribution channels to reach its customers worldwide. From its own retail stores to online and offline channels it uses several channels for the distribution of its products and services. Apple’s products can be found both online and offline. People can shop for Apple products on its website. Build an account, sign in and shop at apple.com. Apart from its own site, Apple products are also available at the other retail sites like eBay, Amazon and other local e-retailers in the local markets. Apple has a global network of distributors for selling its products and services. These distributors are also known as corporate resellers. There are local retailers in most regions who also sell Apple products in their stores.

Apple uses the following distribution channels:

  • Apple website
  • Online retail from sites like ebay, Amazon and other small and big e-retailers.
  • Corporate resellers
  • Apple stores
  • Local electronics retail stores

 Price:

Apple has created the image of a premium brand. Low-cost products have never been a part of Apple’s product portfolio. It follows a premium pricing strategy. These products are meant mainly for higher-end consumers. These products are technologically advanced and cater to the diverse computing, mobile computing, communication, entertainment and other needs of the high-end consumers. From its iPad to iPhone, Macbooks and Apple watch, all these products carry a premium pricing tag.

Apple never prices its products lower than the competitors and that is important for maintaining the premium image it has created. Pricing its products lower can dilute the image, the company has created. However, the company also released a few relatively cheaper models of iPhone to arrest falling sales. Its products are unique in terms of design, technology, and aesthetic beauty. However, they are also priced in a way that reflects the brand’s uniqueness and focus on technological innovation. Apple’s pricing strategy reflects the significant investment that goes into the making of each product including R&D, raw materials and labor. Moreover, Apple has never made ordinary products. Its products are known for their simplicity and quality apart from their performance which makes them popular and this is what allows Apple to price them higher. People are willing to pay if they trust a brand and know that it is giving them in return what they are paying for.

Promotion:

Apple’s marketing strategy is also just as smart as its product line. It makes use of both conventional and unconventional techniques to promote its products. First of all, Apple products are so sought after in the market that most of them become a sensation before they are launched. Word of mouth marketing has always worked in the favor of Apple and it has always generated a lot of publicity about each and every product it has released. Apple products are promoted from its website and also from other online channels including social media. Apart from that, Apple has also used television and print media to market its products smartly. Its ads are meant to highlight the differentiating features of its products and their uniqueness. Media releases at the time of the launch of a new product are also a smart way of promotion that Apple utilizes in an effective manner. A lot depends on how value is communicated to the consumers and Apple does it in a really smart manner. There are thousands of review and marketing websites which review, discuss and promote the Apple products. Apple is also trying to penetrate the Asian markets deeper and reach its Asian consumers who are a bit price savvier compared to their western counterparts but equally enthusiastic about technology. So, it has also increased its investment in the marketing of its products in the emerging markets.

Apple has always been recognized as a premium brand that delivers premium value to its customers. Its products are unique in terms of design and technological capability. However, during recent years if its sales have declined then it is a result of increased competition, higher prices,  lack of compatibility with other brands and also the changing trends. Still, Apple has smartly introduced new products and is trying to diversify into new areas. While Microsoft has challenged its position of the most valuable brand often, competition from other brands is also growing intense. Apple is a mighty brand but then the control is in the hands of the customers and Apple would need to be even smarter with its strategy to retain its number one position.  However, its competitive edge cannot be disregarded. Its innovative capability is still the reason that it is the mightiest among the technology brands.

Sources:

Apple Annual Report

Abhijeet Pratap

Abhijeet has been blogging on educational topics and business research since 2016. He graduated with a Hons. in English literature from BRABU and an MBA from the Asia-Pacific Institute of Management, New Delhi. He likes to blog and share his knowledge and research in business management, marketing, literature and other areas with his readers.