Apple Inc., a technology giant, has been highly successful in recent years due to its innovative and charismatic chief executive Steve Jobs. Jobs was able to capture consumer’s attention by his ability to present Apple’s products. This had tremendous effect in terms of company's success with soaring profits, which turned Apple Inc. from the brink of bankruptcy to one of the most profitable companies of all times. In fact, Booth (2011) suggests that Apple‘s success should be squarely attributed to Jobs because of his outstanding marketing abilities.
The Issues Facing Apple
Unfortunately, with the death of Jobs and due to forces of the market coming into play, Apple profits have dwindled, which raised concerns about company’s marketing strategy. Apple's success in the last decade has been promoted by the fact that the company was a pioneer in customization of digital technology. This means that it exploited market dynamics that emphasized preferences of individual consumers. It was this strategy coupled with rigid market dynamics that were difficult for new firms to maneuver that gave Apple almost a monopoly status. However, numerous events in the digital world have made competition fiercer as other companies, such as Samsung, claim the market share with great effect.
According to Andy (2001), changes in market dynamics require firms to adapt in order to remain profitable in the long-run. In case of Apple Inc., because it has a highly successful brand to venture in different markets, it can be easily stated that it caters for the needs of their clients.
Apple Inc. must change its marketing strategy, which concentrated more on design and specific preferences of American populace in order to compete with other emerging digital giants. Its innovation has reached the optimum level and the company is well established in the United States. Unfortunately, it has failed to cater for international consumers in Europe and emerging markets in Asia and Africa. In fact, market penetration of Apple in developing countries remains minimal, yet the potential is great. It is, therefore, paramount it embarks on market research in order to establish consumers' needs depending on geographical location. John (2003) argues that market strategists must consider their target market, and although it is difficult to satisfy every customer, some trends can be established in accordance to what the majority wants and needs.
Tools for Analysis
There are several illustrations that were put forward by Porter, where Apple acts as a classic example in demonstration of what strategies should a company focus on. In the business world, firms that yield high returns always encourage entry of new firms to the market. In the begging, the incumbent firms are able to resist them because of the advantages they usually have, which include large market share, distribution channels, brand dominance, and to some extent, consumer loyalty. Laemer (2007) postulates the above advantages.
In the last few months, Samsung has toppled Apple in terms of marketability in local and international markets. It is not only is ahead of Apple in terms of sales, but it is also taking history of Apple, which has emphasized innovation and design. Consumers have, therefore, received an alternative, which has high qualities in terms of functionality and is still very competitive in terms of prices. This has consequently dethroned Apple as a leader in innovation and design, and if immediate and swift decisions are not put forth, Apple will remain on shaky grounds and it may never recover its lost glory.
The power of supply chain in Apple Corporation is highly influential on sales of its products. Apple shops give potential consumers a chance to use their products on display. This is a very powerful marketing strategy. Since they are well established, with fierce competition from rivals and dwindling returns, they may play a role in forcing Apple to change its strategies in order to keep the business in al leading position. Porter (1980) demonstrated that suppliers have great influence on the firm, and they may hurt firm's profits by demanding a large share of profit pie.
Other substitute’s products have flocked in the digital world meaning that consumers got an alternative. With cost of switching from one product to another being relatively law, it has become easier for consumers to change their preferences. Although some products do not entirely posses features that Apple products have, they at least take a chunk of the market share that Apple preciously enjoyed. Some alternatives have been manufactured by other technology giants such as Google.
Customers, on the other hand, may complain if the company increases prices or threatens mass exodus from a particular product. The firm, therefore, has to consider their say when it comes to pricing. Since rival companies produce alternative goods, it gives the company no choice but to comply with their demands in order to remain in business. Michael (2008) argues that since consumer lobby groups and public relations play a crucial role in maintaining the image of a company, the business can be held ransom by their customers
For the last decade Apple has been highly successful. In the process they have made unprecedented profits in the United States and other developed economies, they ignored other markets, which their competitors have successfully exploited. In order to continue being completive they need to diversify their market base. They should concentrate on emerging economies and developing world because they have a potential market for their products.
One of their greatest assets is the brand which is associated with quality hence entering new markets means they don’t need to start from scratch. They should understand the background of their target group in order not to manufacture irrelevant products and to have a touch with their customers needs
Van (1993) illustrates that preferences and tastes of consumers tend to be different depending on culture, economic ability, and other social factors. Although some of their software’s may be suitable and preferred in the United States, the dynamics completely changes in international markets. An example is iTunes, which has been a success in the United States as customers are more accustomed to buying music online. However, in some countries of Asia and Africa the culture of downloading music in mp3 format, especially illegally, is rampant.
This means that iTunes remains unpopular, and it becomes a tedious and almost impossible task to market such product in those markets. Apple should, therefore, adopt different marketing strategies according to locations and also produce products that will suit the target group.
In summary, it is possible to argue that business competition comes from various quarters. Although rival business can have significant influence on profit of a firm, other factors such as consumers, suppliers, and availability of alternative goods play an integral part in terms of influence. In order for firms to remain competitive and relevant, they need to find a balance in their marketing strategy. They also need to adopt different strategies depending on different composition of their clients.