APPLE MACBOOK MARKET POSITIONING Zainabid Munir Akber
INTRODUCTION This report will identify the positioning of Apple’s notebook product line ‘MacBook’ to its relative competition by the use of marketing concepts such as; segmentation marketing, target marketing, buyer behaviour, product strategy and how the company has enhanced the product over the years. INTRODUCTION TO MARKETING & POSITIONING
The birth of ‘Marketing’ happened centuries ago where vendors in ancient times tried to seduce the oncoming customer by chanting in loud noises and catering to the customer needs by negotiation of price or assumption of what they might need aside from what they were actually looking for. Over the years, this process has been refined, given a title and has many sub categories. In recent times the product has moved away from the screaming vendor to a more global audience through the means of technology.
Where one product was sold to a customer when the customer went looking for it, now the product itself has an identity and comes to the customer via different processes. This identity has been described as ‘Positioning’. It is the perception of the desired product’s status in the target market by using relative marketing strategies such as; cost of the product, how it was promoted, packaging, distribution and who are the possible competition.
MARKET SEGMENTATION A market is divided normally into segments. It is indeed in the end an accumulation of customers of any given product. And the customer(s), the one who flourishes a market, are of different characteristics and behaviour. There are in fact many contrasting mind set of customers. Henceforth it is only natural that a market would be divided into different segments accordingly. Market segmentation is important because the customer of a product is not of an homogenous group. They vary according to their needs, preference, resource and behaviour. It is not possible to indulge every individual demand so marketers divide customers into segments by the factors they have in common. Through this process, marketers can identify the difference between segments and henceforth decide the appropriate strategy for each group.
The art of market segmentation was invented in process to achieve a purpose. Certain criteria are important to meet in order for it to be useful towards development and implementation of marketing programmes:
•Identifying different bases to segment the market
•Produce and design profiles of such segments
•Process to make segments attractive
•Select target segments Target Market For the selective target segments
Identify the advantages and start positioning concepts
•Development process of marketing mix of selected segment and chosen position Market Positioning
•Potential of segments, size, power and profiles can be measured. Measurable
•The Segments should be easily reachable and served through process of communication Accessible
•Segments should be profitable. No point in being sizeable without profit. Substantial
•Segments should comply with each element accordingly of different marketing mix. Different
•Segments should be able to attract and be compatible with the capability of the firm Compatibility Segments should be consistent in order to minimizing the cost of frequent changes. Endurable BASES FOR SEGMENTING THE CUSTOMER MARKET
This process involves dividing the market into segments and then paying attention towards few of the key segments. The most intelligent part of this process is how it incorporates promotion, prices, and distribution of the product while making it all cost effective. Target marketing is not same as market segmentation, which comes prior to this. Many selective process needs to be carried out beside segmentation in order to move on towards target marketing.
GEOGRAPHIC Region Size Population Financial Climate DEMOGRAPHIC Age Gender Purchase Capability Power Family Size Life Cycle Religion Occupation PSYCHOGRAPHIC Personality Activites Social Class Opinion BEHAVIORAL Occasion Attitude Personal Benefits Loyalty to Brand Response Process Towards Choosing Target Market It is not the same as market segmentation. Segmentation is a tool; purpose is to choose target market. Segmentation comes prior to target market Many different tasks are involved other than segmentation when choosing target market Look at each segment on its own as an individual marketing opportunity.
Potential worth of each segment To examine whether the whole market should be chosen or only few segments To find segments which are less satisfied in market from competitor brand. What is the advantage and the distinctive quality of firm when selecting the capability of a selected segment Finding out the current financial status of the company in order to able to process further of a chosen segments which chosen resources Selecting the appropriate segment for the firm
When considering Geographic base of the segmentation of customer market. It comes to the attention that MacBook line from apple is fairly new; released in 2006. The basic idea of changing from PowerBook G4 to MacBook was a huge leap in the own sense of the product. Even in the days of PowerBook G4 the aim geographically was towards the highly developed countries. Though at the times of PowerBook G4, the fair demand of the notebook was not as much as when the arrival of MacBook happened.
Through which the notebook had a new design and overhaul hardware configuration, therefore with the arrival of MacBook, the ideology of Geographic base under the segmentation changed completely though the base of it being only in developed countries remained. The reason behind this was because most people in those developed countries were the ones who were and are willing to pay to experience the advanced technology provided.
Though over the years since the release of the product it has broken and gone beyond the mainstream barriers with the advancement in all sorts of areas such as; music production, video production, graphic simulation and day to day ease of use. Therefore now it is provided in many more countries than before, because the demand of the product due to its supreme quality has acquired it to achieve major breakthroughs and has apprehended into the minds of customer hence diving into international regions they were not in before. For such reasons Geographic is an important segmentation role for this product.
When considering the remaining factors; Demographic, Psychographic and Behaviours parts of the segmentation. It is seen that under Demographic, purchase power capability shines through from the most parts. It is important as such a MacBook ranges from ? 867 – ? 2099. In the market of high-end notebooks, the value of the product equals the quality and with the current state of economy it shows that it is an important asset to keep the customers income level in mind. As that also shines lights towards their occupation, age and family.
When considering the Psychographic side of the segmentation, it can be seen that activity and personality shine through, as MacBook has been designed with utmost care and style in mind, so it can be presumed that it is easily pointed towards businessman who travel, and the ones in music business and video editing professionals but these are the only the high end side of the MacBook, the low end of it with the smaller 13inch versions are easily tied towards more style in mind, and again due to it being of high quality and very easy to carry, it can be assumed that it is catered towards students, and more of a young generation who like being on the go on day to day basis and hence can have the notebook with them to use as necessary.
Behavioural side of the segmentation shows us that Attitude, Personal Benefits and Loyalty to brand are the ones to keep in mind. As though it could be a controlled reason, but a person’s attitude towards the world creates a path which connects with the personal benefits section, some people like being in the loop with the future technology and high end gadgetry so hence you think about a product which is supreme in quality and thus with such capabilities, MacBook shines through from the rest of the swap of notebooks, with this in mind and future technology ever growing, it can be seen that easily most people connect themselves with one brand and hence become loyal to it.
Regardless of the consequences, you will see that person carrying the products of the company and letting others know the benefits of it. Only because the brand spoke to them personally, therefore all these segmentations are important. BUYER BEHAVIOUR “I think it is a process of trying to think your way through why people behave in certain ways. Or if not why, then what that behaviour is likely to be given certain kinds of products, certain kinds of… just stop to think. ” Professor Theodore Levitt. Buyer behaviour can be explained through this process: Buyer Character – Buyer Decision Making Process Marketing Stimuli Product Price place Promotion
Further Stimuli Economy Political Technological Social Buyer Response Choice of Product Choice of Brand Choice of Retail Choice of Dealer Timing of Purchase Amount of Purchase Frequence of Purchase POSITIONING Positioning was coined by Ries and Trout. It “starts with a product. A piece of merchandise, a service, a company, or even a person… But positioning is not what you do to a product. Positioning is what you do to the mind of the prospect. That is, you position the product in the mind of the prospect” (Ries & Trout, 1982). In other words, positioning is what one does to the mind of a prospect buyer to shape their thinking about the product.
Each brand has to be “Positioned” is a particular way, for example Mercedes is “positioned” for luxury, while Volvo for its safety. Five steps are required for effective positioning: POSITIONING STRATEGY It is important to grasp the concept of positioning before entering the mind set of what is it that you are going to be doing. Product should be positioned in the marketplace in such a way that it stands out from the competing brands. Pre-positioning marketing concepts discussed above play an enormous role in creating the path towards positioning. Positioning shows you where you, your brand and product stand for, who and what you are, and how would you like your customers to adjudge you. It is a simple transatlantic truth of the product. Documenting What most benefits to current and potential customers Deciding •The image you want for current/potential customers to have of the brand Differentiating •Who do you want to apprear different from, and how are you going to make your brand different from them Designing •How these differences are developed and communicated Delivering •Make sure that what you promised has been delivered Positioning strategy is divided in seven parts: MACBOOK POSITONING STRATEGY Exceptional Brand at an Exceptional Price The best strategy for a firm is to retain the same prices for their products or else its credibility and reputation will be obscured by the customers.
Thus Apple has followed this strategy over the years, which has led to an increase in their products’ integrity. However, this strategy has been questioned by some as being available to a certain class of customers. In reality this has in fact proven to be quite opposite and worked to its advantage. Apple’s exceptional positioning has been specially demonstrated in their MacBook product line. Even though the product has improved drastically over the years, they have maintained their exceptional price. Why is that such? In strategic terms, Apple has administered a trade-off plan for the MacBook; their main target is a less price sensitive customer pool.
If they were to lower their MacBook prices it would attract a wider range of customers, however they would run the risk of losing the credibility of those customers who are expecting an exceptional product. Hence it would create confusion and be damaging to the reputation of the MacBook, like it happened when the price of the iPhone was dropped and it caused a chaos in the market with the customers and Apple had to give a substantial amount of credit back to their customers. Creating Entry Barriers The reason that MacBook has sustained its place in the market is due to its exceptional price which has created a wall which PC competitors cannot easily climb.
It would be impossible for these competitors to make their product as exceptional as MacBook without losing their Attribute Benefit Use of application User Competitor Product Category Price/Quality current customer pool. MacBook’s exceptional quality cannot be reached in a short period of time. A huge amount of money, manpower, a brand new marketing scheme and time would be needed to reach MacBook’s peak. For example, recently Dell has tried to enter the market of exceptional notebooks with its Adamo product line; however it was an utter failure. They were unable to provide a product which suited their customer pool, hence the customers felt betrayed.
Dell’s market positioning was geared towards customers who are price sensitive hence when Adamo was introduced, it created confusion. They were not able to keep their current customers or take MacBook customers away. Hence, they were not able to cross the barrier that was created by MacBook. Therefore, Apple’s decision of not lowering MacBook’s price would be the correct decision considering the current notebook market and their customer loyalty. Think Different In any market it is crucial that one is different from its rivals and in this case Apple has rightly emphasized their slogan “Think Different”. This has not only crafted the perception of customers but in itself has created their main aim.
How was MacBook taken to a higher level? It is known that with a new production of a product, new costs entail. However, this was not the case with MacBook as the production costs were less than PowerBook G4. The revolution behind the product was its unibody aluminium enclosure which also used individual smaller components than its predecessor. The latter being heavier and more costly to produce. Therefore, “Thinking Different” strategic moved not only worked but it has increased MacBook’s profitability. MacBook’s “Think Different” features: Mac OS X Snow Leopard with iLife digital suite and iWorks package iSight HD camera integrated into the notebook with facetime
Synching across different apple products and platforms including windows using Mobile Me technology Backlit keyboard/Magnetic power adaptor/Multi touch trackpad Super long life battery with Superdrive disc burning technology CONCLUSION The aim of report was to identify MacBook’s marketing position relative to its competitors by utilizing marketing concepts such as: Market segmentation, Target marketing, Buyer behaviour. Firstly, MacBook’s marketing position is an exceptional brand for an exceptional price which targets less price sensitive customers. Secondly, their approach towards creating entry barriers for their competitors. Thirdly, their attitude towards taking their product to the next level by using “Think Different” motto.
All these positioning strategies have made sure that MacBook retains its privileged status in the notebook market. BIBLIOGRAPHY Apple Inc. http://www. apple. com Apple Inc. MacBook http://www. apple. com/macbookpro/ Ries, A. and Trout, J. (1982), Positioning: The Battle for your Mind, Warner Books, New York. Hooley, G. , Saunders, J. , Nigel, F. , Brigitte Nicoulaud, P. (2007), Marketing Strategy and Competitive Positioning, Financial Times/Prentice Hall Jakki J. Mohr, Sanjit Sengupta, Stanley F. Slater (2009), Marketing of High-Technology Products and Innovations, Prentice Hall http://www. osnews. com/story/3921/analyzing_apple_s_market_position http://blog. kitetail. com/2008/11/10/strategy-101-a-look-at-positioning-through-apple-macbooks/