Marketing Mix of Apple (extended to 7Ps)
Apple is a renowned technology brand, recognized globally for its focus upon technological innovation, a premium product line, and great marketing. The visionary leadership of Steve Jobs helped Apple establish itself as a market-leading technology brand. Now, under the leadership of Tim Cook, Apple has seen faster growth in recent years. Apple is also the first brand to reach a market value of more than $2 Trillion (apart from being the first to have touched the $1 trillion mark).
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 brand that it was in its early days. However, the company has expanded its product range with wearables. It has also added a nice range of services that now account for a significant part of its yearly revenue. Apple has managed a system of compatible products and services. These products and services are either not compatible or have low compatibility with products made 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 markets. Here is an analysis of Apple’s marketing mix explaining the seven Ps.
Apple’s product mix has widened a lot in the last five years to include new products like Apple Watch and Apple Homepod. Here is a list of the leading products by Apple:
- 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.
- Apple watch
- Macbook Pro
- Mac Mini
- Mac Pro
- Swift Playgrounds
- Apple TV
- Ipod Nano
- Ipod shuffle
- Ipod touch
- Apple Music
- Apple pay
In this way, the product and services range of Apple has grown quite large with several new products including software being added in recent years to its portfolio. While the sales of Apple laptops and PCs might 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 released the iPhone 11 with a pro version in 2019 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 an 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 highly attractive. Apple is trying to further enrich its product portfolio through the addition of services. 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. Apple announced the complete acquisition of Shazam in 2018 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 ad-free to Apple users. In this way, Apple is continuously working to create a securer and highly engaging experience for its users.
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 in brick and mortar stores and online. People can shop for Apple products on its website, inside Apple stores as well as from resellers and e-commerce sites. Apart from its own site, Apple products are also available at the other e-retail sites like eBay, Amazon, and other local e-retailers in the various regional 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 mainly the following distribution channels:
- Apple website
- Online retail sites like eBay, Amazon, Alibaba, Flipkart, and other e-retailers.
- Corporate resellers
- Apple stores
- Local electronics retail stores
Apple has built the image of a premium brand. Its product portfolio includes only higher-end products.
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 brand image of the company. However, the company also released a few relatively cheaper models of iPhone to expand its customer base among middle-class consumers in the emerging markets. Its products are unique in terms of design, technology, and aesthetic beauty. However, their prices reflect the brand’s uniqueness and a 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.
Apple’s marketing strategy is also just as impressive 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 promote its products in various markets. 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 product-review and marketing websites which review, discuss, and promote Apple products. Apple is also trying to penetrate the Asian markets deeper and to 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. Apple has smartly introduced new products and is trying to diversify into new areas through a growing range of services. While Microsoft has challenged its position as the largest tech brand often, competition from the other brands is also growing intense. However, its competitive edge cannot be disregarded. Its innovative capability is still the reason that it is the mightiest among the technology brands which got proved after Apple’s market cap crossed $2 Trillion leaving its rivals somewhere a lot behind in the race to the top.
Technology businesses need to have the best talent on board to sustain their performance and growth momentum. All the leading tech businesses have elaborate HR strategies and policies that are focused on acquiring the best talent. The role of HR has become critical to find success in the tech industry. Apple being a leading technology brand always strives to hire the best technology minds. The company has changed a lot under its new leader and is now less known for the aggressive internal competition it was once known for. while it has sustained its innovative culture, the focus on diversity and inclusion has grown and simultaneously on career growth and work satisfaction of employees.
Foxconn is Apple’s leading supply chain partner that produces most of its smartphones. The Taiwanese electronics manufacturer produces around half of the total smartphones in the world according to a report in its iPhone factory located in Zhengzhou, China. A large part of Apple’s supply chain is located in the Asian region. Apple products are sold inside the Apple stores located in various leading markets of the company. The company stores also promote Apple products before the customers arriving at these stores.
Apple makes a large range of hardware products including the iPhone, Macbooks, iPad, and other hardware products. Apart from these products, the physical evidence of Apple Inc includes the Apple stores with the large Apple logo above their entrances as well as a large physical infrastructure that extends from the United States to Asia and other regions of the world. Apple has its beautiful headquarters, Apple Park located at Cupertino, California, United States. The headquarters of Apple is located in a sprawling 175 acres large campus. Its circular groundscraper design earned it the name of ‘the spaceship’ in the media.
The other physical evidence of the company includes the packaging of its products that carry the Apple logo.
Apple Annual Report