Marketing mix is the combination of various factors that are considered important in marketing. In product marketing, 4Ps are usually considered: product, price, place and promotion. In services marketing, there are 7Ps, with people, process and physical environment added to the combination. What they mean and how they apply to Apple will be presented in brief here.
Brief Overview of Apple
Apple Inc. is an American multinational founded by Steve Jobs in 1976, whose offerings cover consumer electronics, computer hardware and software, as well as online services. Such variety brings Apple Inc. face-to-face with a number of rivals, such as Microsoft, HP, Google, Amazon, Samsung, Sony, IBM and others, all of whom are leaders in their respective fields. Therefore, Apple has a marketing mix that employs different strategies to counter these competitors, but there is a common thread running through them. As a brand, Apple is known for its innovative products and approach which have helped it to become the first company to hit the $1 trillion valuation mark.
A product is an intangible (services) or tangible (product) offering that is made to satisfy the needs of a category of people.
As mentioned earlier, Apple’s offerings are diverse and include smart phones such as the famous iPhone series, laptops such as MacBook, entertainment devices such as iPod and iPad, software such as the personal assistant Siri, fashion accessories like the Apple Watch and online content such as iTunes, among others. Recently, it has tied up with movie providers like Netflix to revolutionise television viewing by introducing the Apple TV. Many of these products have been outstanding successes, particularly iPhone.
The price of the product is the amount that a customer pays for it. Price is important as it determines the sales and demand for the product and consequently, the firm’s profit and survival.
Apple’s products have always been high-end and relatively expensive. The company justifies its premium prices on grounds of innovation, technology and quality, as well an upmarket image. When products reach their maturity, the company does not reduce prices, it just removes them from the market, thus retaining the value of the brand.
Placement or distribution involves the distribution of the product in a place that is accessible to potential buyers. This may include online and/or brick-and-mortar stores.
Apple used to sell through the normal distributor-retailer channel, which it still maintains in many countries, but is now shifting to its designer “Apple Stores” more and more. This gives it more control over prices, promotion and customer service, while ensuring better mileage and displays. Apple products can also be bought online.
Promotion is the process of employing tactics to boost brand recognition and sales. It may include several methods such as advertising, sampling, public relations campaigns and so on.
Apple’s promotion strategy has always been focused on innovation and differentiation, and has successfully won over the younger generation with its simple and forceful advertising messages. It was the first company to produce white colored computers, laptops and smart phones, which set it apart from the crowd, a trait that hit a chord with the youth.
The company’s half-eaten apple logo has been the same since the very beginning and one of the best-recognised worldwide. Discount sales are not a major promotional tactic, which shows that Apple is serious about protecting its upmarket image.