Apple’s iPod: Reasons behind the success and prospects for the future
Apple has had a huge impact in the personal computer market since the time it entered into it. The company already had a brand name in the market. It is known for its innovation, commitment, credibility along with high quality performance and efficiency. Apple computers were dominant in schools in the 1980’s. People were aware of the brand name so anything associated to Apple carried the image of the company. Previously there used to be MP3 players which were used as a portable audio device for playing music. But the functions of these devices were restricted to a couple of things. It was at this time that apple came up with the new product as it was keen to diversify into other markets and make a larger impact on the lives of many, young and old, who were their potential target market. It was in the year 2001 that apple introduced the ultimate gadget, we know as the ipod (Goodstein, 2007).
The company, Apple, was not new to the people therefore the masses welcomed it and very soon it became a leader in the market of portable mp3 players. It was meant for true music lovers as the gadget offered storing lots and lots of music and listening to it on the go. This tiny device was able to perform a variety of functions. Its functionality was not only restricted to the playing of music in the MP3 format but in many other formats, such as AAC and WAV, it could also be used as an educational device by students, as it was able to download books and literature (Goodstein, 2007). This feature convinced the parents who took it as a helpful device for students along with entertainment. It came in different types such as ipod Nano, ipod shuffle and ipod mini (Goodstein, 2007). Moreover, its classy and elegant look added to its features. It became more of a fashion statement for the teens. This fever among the teens raised the sales as everyone wanted to buy one.
Reasons for success
Ever since the time this new product was launched into the market it has been very successful the sales and growth of this product has been phenomenal (Goodstein, 2007). Even now ipods are in their growth stage of product life cycle. Apple started off with a plan and throughout the growth of the product they didn’t deviate from their core plan. There were different additions to the product over the passage of time but they were all secondary (Goodstein, 2007). The basic idea behind ipod creation was music. As more and more people are getting aware of it the sales graph is going up. However the high profit has attracted competition. When it comes to the success of this product then the success of the ipod is not confined to one factor only (Shur, Reed, 2007). It came with an effective marketing plan and the target market was clearly defined before hand which was young adults, male and female both, based on which all marketing and promotional activities were planned and later undertaken. However, many believe that there is a lot more potential in this product, and many more features can be added to this device, to ensure constant growth and substantial profits over a longer period of time, and which can drive out competition from the market and keep apple as the market leader (Shur, Reed, 2007).
Apart from the product itself being unique and innovative, the integration of all the elements of the marketing mix is essential for the success of any product. As soon as ipod got into the market, it was able to acquire the image of a prestigious product; it was positioned in the middle to high class people. Its high price made it look more of a high quality product and the brand name apple was there to support this aspect of marketing. It was available in different ranges for all kinds of people where there were variations in the features and price ranges according to different models that came over the time each varying in color, storage, design and accessories (Shur, Reed, 2007). Apple gave a one year warranty to its customers, adding to customer demand, and increasing brand loyalty for the company.
In today’s times people look for convenience in their work. The product does not involve any kind of complexities. It has an excellent user friendly interface. It’s easy to carry and use. One may keep it in the pocket and move around. Apple focused on what the customers wanted and based on that they provided an easy to handle menu system where navigation was easy. A lot of people loved the click wheel interaction panel that the gadget had. This easiness of use is one of the reasons for the success of this gadget.
An added feature of an ipod is the itunes software introduced in the year 2003 (Goodstein, 2007). This feature of ipod was used as a marketing tool and proved to be very successful contribution to increase its sales. It’s an online music and audio store that would sell digital files to its users who can download it from the website directly into their PC and into the ipod via a USB cable (Goodstein, 2007). Depending on the amount of storage capacity in the phone one may store as many songs as they want. These itune users had to buy an ipod to store the music and ipod users wanted itunes in order to get the music from the web therefore the business increased of both the sides. Around 3 million videos were sold by the year ended 2005 by the itunes store (Goodstein, 2007).
The advertisements have also proven to be very successful. Ipod has been associated to big stars and celebrities (Yoffie, Slind, 2006). This made an impact on the target market and created hype among the kids around the world. Every child wanted an ipod as part of their wish list on any occasion; let it be birthdays or Christmas. The popularity increased over the time. There were times when sales grew to the amount that there was a shortage of this gadget in the market (Yoffie, Slind, 2006).
There were even special kinds of ipods available in the market, which were associated with celebrity names such as Ashley Simpson ipod, the New York Yankees ipod, the Madonna ipod and so on (Valdés, 2005). This shows that the company kept the interest of the individuals intact with the product. These were various ways of attracting customers to buy the product and boost sales and apple had been successful in doing it over the passage of time. Apart from these there are other promotional campaigns used by the company as the back to school campaign officially launched by apple, it collaborated with Coca Cola to launch different itunes. Apart from this different kind of promotional schemes were used, which included distribution of free ipods along with a product, distribution of ipod coupons, etc. These were one of the promotional tools used by the company along with various others (Yoffie, Slind, 2006).
Ipod will continue to dominate the market in future too. However there are few things that need to be looked into. In order to stay ahead of the market the company needs to revise its plan and marketing strategies (- ipod and iphone). New competition might be a threat, however, the prospect of added features to the current gadget will help in differentiating it from others. The product is still in the growth stage and far from the market saturation (Yoffie, Slind, 2006). The new models are becoming better every time. The newer ones have the facility of watching photos and videos on the ipod. In the future the ipods can have features such as Bluetooth, games or even a built-in radio. Production targets need to be met on time and supply should match the demand. Letting the customers down due to failure to deliver them the product on time can hit the image of the company and the company can lose their customers too. Therefore care should be taken while organizing resources. The market need to be made aware of the product. Larger amounts of advertisements should be in those regions where there is potential in the market yet people are not aware. The costs should be minimized with a financial forecast being developed. The company is continuously innovating with style and has competitive prices to compete with others.
New products that are coming into the market are designed keeping in mind the ipod, such as, clothes in the market are designed in a way that it is easier to carry an ipod while wearing them (Yoffie, Slind, 2006). This shows that popularity is still at its peak. There are other companies that are making similar products but those are nothing close to the apple version of the ipod. Apple has seen huge turnover and profits over the years and the graph is expected to grow in future as well. The uniqueness of the product along with good quality, itunes and effective marketing plan and timing has lead towards the secret success of ipods. For the success of any product you need the appropriate mix of product, price, place and promotion along with good managerial skills. The product itself is doing well, the prices are competitive, the distribution channels will be expanded in future, and the promotion strategy are developed and changed with time. Apple has it all. All these ingredients are integrated well that is why the company and the product both are doing great today.
- Apple Marketing Strategy- ipod and iphone. Retrieved August 27, 2008, from Vertygo Team Web site: http://www.vertygoteam.com/apple_marketing_strategy.php
- Goodstein, Anastasia (2007, Aug 20). Teen marketing: Why Apple’s the master. Business Week
- Shur, Michael, Reed, Tyler (2007, Sept 22). iPod: The Marketing of an Idea. Retrieved August 27, 2008, from Scribd Web site: http://www.scribd.com/doc/2648710/iPod-The-Marketing-of-an-Idea
- Valdés, Pedro (2005).Case study: iPod for all tastes. Retrieved August 27, 2008, from Daemon Quest Web site: http://www.daemonquest.com/en/research_and_insight/2005/02/20/case_study_ipod_for_all_tastes
- Yoffie, David B., Slind, Michael (2006, Apr 12). Apple Computer, 2006. HBS.