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Apple Inc. is a worldwide company that has employed many forms of successful marketing mix strategies. This company has had times of historic highs and unforeseen lows. Apple Inc. has transformed over decades, while remaining fundamentally the same. For this paper, Apple Inc. will be inspected for its success and failures, presumably resulting from the various chosen marketing mix strategies used throughout the companies life. We will examine how, if at all, these strategies impacted sales, marketability, reliability, consumer satisfaction and expectation, and its overall commercial acceptance. We will be referencing articles that provide a timeline of events for the company, the products marketed, as well as advertisements used. We will explore the four P’s of marketing – Price, Product, Placement and Promotion.
Keywords: marketing mix, advertising, success, strategies, advertisements
The Genius Marketing Mix of Apple Inc.
Finding A Product and Strategizing Marketing
In the early 1970’s, personal computers were unheard of. Computer technology was reserved for the corporate environment. This reservation was based upon three reasoning’s. The first reasoning was cost; a computer was simply too expensive for the common household. Only a business had the financial means, outside of the extremely wealthy, to finance ownership of a computer. The second reason was usability. Early computers were not designed for an everyday user. A computer user during this time had to be educated with the knowledge of computer coding to be able to operate a computer. This in turn leads us to the third reason – purpose.
A business had multiple uses for computers – reports, databases, payroll, office networking, financial tracking and so forth. The main stream household had no real use for computers in everyday life. Not only was the use of the computer limited to corporate like functions, it required a computer educated user. All of these things lead two of men to come to an idea that would lead to an unimaginable product, the Apple Computer Inc. Company. Let us explore how and why this idea and the marketing mix employed to obtain their goals for this company and product, directly or indirectly affected this companies current state.
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, together, started a company in 1976 known as Apple Computer Inc. and built the first commercial computer. It was limited in its ability, but it was more affordable than any other computer available at the time. Their goal was to provide the common household with a computer that they could afford and operate. By 1984, Steve Jobs had created an operating system, known as Lisa, which was the first user friendly system. This gave them a product, a very marketable product. It was marketable because no one at this time had a personal computer. This was going to revolutionize technology in the home. Additionally, there was virtually no competition!
This created a prime product – no competition and unlimited demand potential. With a product that was available to only companies, being offered to everyday consumers, with an interface that was user friendly (you didn’t have to be educated in computer coding), and at a cost that a working professional could afford, amounted to limitless possibilities! The company soared for nearly a decade. With their product in line, their pricing set, placement was decided on, and now they had to promote it.
For their initial promotion of the home computer, they decided upon a slogan campaign. The slogan would reflect the company logo. Apple Computer Inc. set up a logo of an apple with one bite taken out of it. The slogan to match would be tech savvy, yet hold a double meaning that would allow a regular consumer to understand. This slogan would cross their promotional demographic; it would appeal to both everyday consumers who were ignorant to computer language, and to tech savy consumers that loved and understood computers, but could not afford a private one. The slogan utilized with the logo was “Byte into Apple”, with byte referencing computer language terms. This promotion was successful. Their sales began and Apple Computer Inc. was on its way up the corporate ladder.
By the 1980’s, Steve Jobs had become difficult to work with. The company held a board meeting, and in 1985 Steve Jobs was voted out of the company. During this time, a slew of other competitors came out of the wood work, advertising personal computers as well. Apple Computers Inc. had lost its competitive edge. It was no longer head of the technological frontier. People out grew the one item shop and began buying from other manufacturers. Without Steve Jobs, Apple Computers Inc. had not developed any new products. They attempted to examine its marketing mix, and in an attempt to revamp itself, decided to change its slogan – “Soon there will be 2 kinds of people.
Those who use computers, and those who use Apples” was now the company slogan. Yet, the company took a profit loss. So now, the company must again examine its marketing mix as its new advertising promotion was still not working. They had their product – the Apple computer for households with a user friendly interface. They had their price – well below the cost of a commercial computer and well within budget for working individuals. They had their placement – electronic stores and departments in addition to private retail outlets, readily accessible to consumers for home based computer systems. Apple Computers also had promotion – what type of person are you going to be, a person with a computer or with an Apple? A promotion directed at consumers, with an elegant touch of peer pressure to buy Apple, and a hint of arrogance that insinuated that a mere computer was not the same as an Apple computer. So why then were they losing profits?
After examination of the company, the board decided to bring Steve Jobs back. As a result, the company grew exponentially! Apple Computer Inc. was changed to Apple Inc. in 2007. Steve Jobs also created a large line of products. It is apparent now that when employing a successful marketing mix, there is slightly more than just having a good mix strategy. From 1998 to 2010 Steve Jobs created a multi-line product for one company. Apple Inc. encompassed not only computers, but also music players (iPod), cell phones (iPhone), hybrid phone/computers (iPad), music stores (iTunes) and a large line of computers with varying performance capabilities.
Additionally, all of these were marketable to both consumers and businesses alike. Perhaps most importantly, is that Apple Inc. and its products are marketable worldwide – as of today, Apple Inc. is accessible through their retail outlets, online stores, and phone sales for the purchase or support of Apple Products. This means that anyone, at anytime, can have access to purchase anything they desire from Apple, with or without a computer, with or without a phone; walk in, visit the web, phone in, even mail in. Apple Inc. has also grown to conducting business in 14 countries, which gives them an unprecedented ability to obtain peak profits. In researching Apple Inc. as a company, it is clear that their marketing mix has been nearly perfect. It took realizing that one product, one promotion, one pricing, and one placement is not sufficient.
For a marketing mix to yield optimal results, one of each of these would only suffice for a short amount of time. Just as people, civilizations, and the world evolves, so must a good marketing mix. Knowing your product – finding your niche, will be short lived if not handled correctly. Just the same, having a good promotion is limiting. One must know when to change it up and how – evolve the promotion with the target audience. Pricing is at the mercy of supply and demand, but still must be within reason for sales to be made, and the placement must be comprehensive. Apple Inc. has not always been able to successfully master each of these aspects of marketing mix … but, when they have mastered them, they have thrived beyond any other company because of it.
 Time.com Time Lists “The Apple Revolution: 10 Key Moments”  List of Apple Inc. slogans http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Apple_Inc._slogans  www.apple.com/about Contact Apple Inc. and obtain latest press releases  ifoAppleStore.com “News and Information about Apple Inc.’s retain stores – At a Glance”