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Introduction: In this task I will describe how Apple uses market research to contribute to the making of its marketing plans and also explain the limitations of the market research used to contribute to the making of the making plans for Apple. I will also make and justify three recommendations for improving the validity of the marketing research used to contribute to the making of the marketing plans for Apple/
What is marketing research?
Marketing research is a systematic, collecting, recording and analysis of data about the matters relating to the marketing product and services. This research identifies the problem areas in a business or organisation. This research may also help a business understand the needs of current and new customers and why they chose a specific service over competitors (For example why a customer chose Apple instead of Samsung). Moreover, this research can also help reveal the main aspects of the competitors’ products, marketing strategies, services and target audience. So by using this information within businesses it can help to lead in the market over other competitors and add value to the business.
Why does Apple use Marketing Research?
Apple uses marketing research to improve their products by getting customer feedback and they also try to keep a good relationship with their customers by pleasing them and keeping them up to date with their products and informing them if there’s any new updates available for them.
A marketing plan is a broad document or design that outlines a business advertising and marketing efforts for the upcoming year. This plan describes business activities involved in completing specific marketing objectives within a specific time period.
Apple uses marketing planning while producing new products for their current target markets. By having a marketing planning it helps Apple stay organised and make quick decisions. It also helps the brand meet their tasks and deadlines and it also helps them create everything.
Understanding customers is important for a business, this is because they are the people who are buying the products from a brand and they are the reason behind why a business becomes successful.
Apple understanding Customers:
Apple understands their customers by getting customer feedback and by getting customer feedback they get the opportunity to improve their products by releasing a new product or by updating their IOS. So by making changes on their products Apple understands their customers’ needs as they adapt to their needs and wants which attracts more new customers into their store. If Apple did not listen to the feedback and suggestions from the customers then the customers would not purchase their products which would create a big loss for the business as they wouldn’t be making any money if customers didn’t purchase their products. This is why it is important to understand the research from the market research so they would be making much more money as a company.
Understanding competitors is also important for the business. This is so they can compete with their competitor’s price wise and software wise to make sure that they are the best company within the category which in this case is Apple.
Apple understanding their competitors:
Apple competes with brands like Samsung. Apple and Samsung both look at each other’s sales and the products that they launch. They both try to compete each other by having similar price ranges and getting out similar products. For example Apple and Samsung both have a smart watch. The Apple one is known as the ‘Apple Watch’ and the Samsung one is known as the ‘Samsung Gear S3’
Understanding market environment:
Understanding the market environment is also important as it would help businesses during the market research. During market research businesses have to analyse its external environments. A useful way to do this is by using a SWOT Analysis. This analysis observes the relationship between a business and as well as its marketing environment.
SWOT analysis stands for:
Strength: This refers to the advantages of the business and also the internal features of the business/organisation. This could be the location of the business or how well a business advertises their products.
Weakness: This refers to the disadvantages of the business and also the internal aspects of the business/organisation. This could be the amount of sales a business is making or the poor quality of products and services that a business have launched or produced.
Opportunities: This focuses on the developments of an organisation. This could include the business moving into a new market segments or new territories for a service or product.
Threats: This refers to the competitors which may be affecting a certain business as they may not be doing well with selling their products as their competitors are taking away their customers as they may have good price ranges and good offers available for customers. Threats refers to the damage in a business or organisation. This could include taxation which may be introduced on a product or service or a competitor has a new product or service.
Apples Market Environment:
Apple SWOT analysis:
Apple’s Strengths– Apple has launched many different products such as IPhone, IPad, IPod, MacBook and even an Apple watch ‘IWatch’ they have given many opportunities for their customers as there are a variety of different products for the customers to purchase. The have come up with everything a person may want and desire.
Apple is one of the most valued brand in the world. Their brand value in 2016 was $228.46 billion whereas now in 2017 the brand value is $234.67 billion. This shows that their brand value has increased by 6.21 % within one year.
Whenever Apple always designs its products they focus on their consumers. By getting feedback from them they are always relating back to their consumers and how they’d prefer their new products. This is why Apple has become successful as they are always thinking about their customers and are always caring about their happiness. Customers like to be satisfied with products which Apple certainly does do as they get a lot of customers purchasing from them.
Apple has also branded and advertised their company well. Apple is one of the most well-known brand world-wide which shows that they have caught everyone’s attention and have advertised their brand very well. If Apple didn’t advertise themselves properly then they wouldn’t be as successful and popular as they are currently.
Apple’s Weakness– One of Apples weakness is that their prices for their phones are much more expensive than their competitor Samsung. Apples latest IPhone 8 64GB is £699.00 and the IPhone 8 Plus 64GB is £799.00. Whereas the Samsung’s latest phone which is the Samsung S8 64GB is £669.00 and Samsung S8+ 64 GB is £779.00. This shows that the Samsung’s phone price ranges are cheaper and much more affordable than Apple, this is a weakness for Apple as not everyone likes to spend a lot of money which makes them step back when it comes to purchasing an IPhone.
Apple’s Opportunities– since Apple has become very popular and successful over the years the company now want to expand even more by launching their own car line. They think that they are almost ready to start something completely new which will get new customers into their company. This will attract people who are interested in cars and who are also looking into buying a new car. Apple now is hooked on ‘Apple Car’ which is supposed to be launching in 2020. Just how Apple are doing well by selling Iphones, IPad, IPod and MacBook’s Apple also thinks that they will do well or are hoping to do well when launching their own car line.
Apple’s Threats– Apples laptop MacBook has competition between Dell, Sony and Lenovo. This is because they are all very successful and popular laptop companies which are used and purchased by many different consumers. Apple does try their best to keep ahead of the game by launching different MacBook’s to get more customers as it is a popular laptop in terms of Apple but so does Dell, Sony and Lenovo. They all also get out new versions of their laptops just as Apple does with their MacBook’s. This is a threat for Apple because sometimes when they try to be ahead of the game other brands such as Dell, Sony and Lenovo end up being on the same level as Apple which makes it difficult for Apple to compete with them and be ahead.
This also goes for their IPhones as IPhones are the only phones which are from Apple whereas Samsung, HTC and Sony are from Android. Apple tries their best to stay unique and beat Android by coming out with new software’s but when Android see that Apple has come out with a new Software they also end up creating a similar and try to create a better software than Apple. This again is another threat to Apple as they want to compete with Android.
Qualitative research is subjective and is often open-ended. This type of research involves surveys, interviews and questionnaires. Qualitative research focuses on behaviour, opinions and intentions.
Apple uses this type of research by producing online questionnaires and surveys for their consumers to take part in. They look at the responses to see the thoughts and opinions of different people and put them in use when launching something new.
Quantitative research focuses on figures and statistics. It often relates to number and figures related to sales data, market value but it can include responses from customers. This type of data can be used to measure products on a weekly basis and it can also be used to track prices across different brands. This type of research can also estimate market shares of competing brands and can estimate market share segments.
Apple uses this research as they look at figures of different sales made by different companies and brands. They look at how much profit and customers their competitors are getting and how they can beat them and make more sales and profits than them (e.g. Samsung). They also use this type of research to find out of people like their products and services.
What is Primary research?
Primary research is information and data that businesses collect first-handed. This can be through interviews, focus groups, exit surveys and questionnaires. This is known as external primary research data. Internal primary research data include: sale figures for a business’s own products and customer data held on database.
The four main primary research are:
- focus groups
How Apple uses Primary Research:
- Apple uses surveys to get customer feedback and improve on their products. Currently on their website Apple has a ‘Market Research Survey Feedback’ where they have hired ‘outside market research’ to encourage customers to take part in the survey. This will give the customers a chance to give feedback on their experience with Apple and if there are any issues which may need fixing. Apple takes customer feedback very seriously and they try their best to resolve the issue as soon as possible as they don’t want to disappoint their customers. They rely on their customers to help them with changing and improving their products. This primary research helps Apple understand their customers as they may mention the areas of a product that might need improvements. So by seeing what the customers have given as feedback Apple may try their best to meet those standards but at the same time look at their competitors such as Samsung and how they are performing in terms of their product selling and also looking at their reviews. Apple may launch a new product and might try to find out information about Samsung, to see if they are going to be launching anything new and if so then what products. They do this to be ahead of the game and make a better product.
- Surveys is a type of qualitative research as surveys often tend to have open-ended questions. This is also a qualitative data as they are looking for improvements for products and services.
- Apple also uses questionnaires to get responses and feedback from different people from different age groups. The questionnaire is on a website called ‘Survey Monkey’ and the questions are based on what people prefer and what do they use the phones for. By doing this questionnaire it gives an overview of what people like and how and why they use their products. It also mentions which type of products they prefer in terms of Apple products such as IPod, IPad, IPhone or MacBook. By doing this it will show which products are more popular and are more in use. This primary research helps Apple recognise their most popular products. They are able to see which products people prefer more and which products are purchased more often. By seeing which products are more popular it may help Apple to continue producing those products as that’s what the customers may want. By seeing what the customers want it helps Apple understand them better. It also helps understand their competitors as Apple may look what products the Samsung customers prefer and which of their products are most popular. This type of research is also a qualitative research as it again has open-ended questions and they are again looking for answers which mentions improvements for Apple. But this type of research can also be quantitative data but it depends on the way the data is collected in the end. If they may some sort of a chart or a type of data for each question then it will include numerical numbers which will make it a quantitative data.
What is Secondary Research?
Secondary research uses information and data that already exists and that has already been collected before. Secondary research includes:
- Previous marketing research
- Reports from sales
- Newspapers and books
- Census data and public records
How Apple uses secondary research:
- Apple uses secondary research such as previous marketing research to improve on their products. They use old information and old data to come up with new ideas for their new launching products. By looking at previous research they’re able to see what their consumers prefers In terms of their products and what areas needs improvements. Apple looks at previous market research as they still want to continue their bond that they have between their customers, so if they are not paying attention or reading their customer feedback while launching new products then they may lose customers as they won’t be pleasing them and keeping them satisfied. Customers like to be heard and they feel happy when brands launch a product up to their standards as they are meeting customer needs. If apple doesn’t do this then they will be losing customers and also losing the relationship between them. This is why it’s important to look back at previous researches as it can help brands like Apple improve their products and become more successful and well-known.
By looking at this type of research it helps the company understand their customers better as the research may include different source of data and information and it may also mention reviews of the products and what is lacking in the product or what people might expect in the next launching products. This research also helps understand their competitors because they can read the previous market research from other companies and brands such as Samsung. By reading market research from other companies it can give Apple ideas and a heads up of what they are should be and are going expecting from other brands and companies.
This type of research is quantitative research as it includes numbers and figures from previous research. Apple would be looking at the figures of the market research and look for rooms for improvements for the upcoming years.
- Apple also uses reports from sales when they need to see how well they are doing in terms of making sales and profits and then comparing themselves with their competitors such as Samsung. By looking at report sales it gives the Apple Company a realistic amount that they are making and how much more or less they are making than other companies and brands. By looking at reports from sales it allows Apple to continue making more sales as we already know that Apple is one of the well-known brand and they are a very successful company so by seeing their own sale figures it may boost their confidence and may make them want to continue what they are currently doing. Moreover by looking at sales Apple will be able to see where they are losing out in money and they’d also be able to see which product is making them successful and which product is most popular. This type of research can help Apple understand their customers as they can see how many people are purchasing their products and how many are purchasing within a day, month or year. This type of research can also help Apple understand their competitors as they can see the amount of sales they’ve produced which can help Apple plan ahead.
Reports are a type of quantitative research as it again may include figures and statistics from previous years which gives a realistic overview of the brand and other companies.
- Apple also uses websites where they read and catch up on how their competitors are doing. They can also see how they themselves are doing as a business as there are a lot of websites where people compare Apple and Samsung products and prices together. Apple may read up on the comments on what people think of different products, this may give Apple an idea of what improvement that should be made in terms of product features or price ranges of the products. By getting information from websites it helps Apple understand their customers as a lot of people do give reviews of their products online and it also helps them understand their competitors as people may also give reviews of other different products from other brands and also might give their own perspective as an ‘Apple’ or ‘Android’ user which again would give Apple an idea of how they could improve their service and products.
Websites is also a type of quantitative research as it contains facts, figure and numbers for other brands and companies to see and read through. By having facts and figures on a website it makes it reliable and believable but only if the information is up to date.
Limitations of market research
What is limitations?
Limitations are the disadvantages of market research and market planning which avoid companies from carrying out effective research.
The limitation of Primary Research in Apple:
- Surveys: This type of research is useful for any data and this type of data is mainly primary data but it can also be secondary, qualitative and quantitative data. An advantage of this type of research is that you can get a quick response from people/customers.
One limitation of this type of research in Apple is that it can be time consuming. Making, planning and preparing surveys can take up a lot of time and effort for the company to create. It is also a long process to organise and set up especially if it’s done as an online survey. If Apple want to create surveys for their customers then they must do accurate research for it be valid.
Another limitation of this type of research is that customers may not understand the questions provided in the survey if it’s done online so they might leave it out as they might not have anyone there to explain it to them. Also some customers may not want to answer specific questions due to their own personal reasons.
- Questionnaires: This type of research is also useful for any data and this type of research is mainly primary research as the information is first handed but it can also be secondary, qualitative and quantitative data. An advantage of this type of research is that it’s first-handed information
One limitation of this type of research is that it’s expensive to produce and it is also time consuming. Collecting data for this type of research cost a lot of money which may cost a lot for Apple as marketers need be involved throughout this step and it’s their duty to plan everything.
Another limitation of this type of research is that the customers might lie while answering the questions which may make the research quite unreliable as they are not telling the truth. This would mean that Apple may not be getting honest reviews and answers which is what they intended to want.
The limitation of Secondary Research in Apple:
- Previous Market Research: This type of research is useful for any data but especially for brands, companies and organisations. It helps them improve their products and services by looking at their previous market research which can help them step forward. This type of research is mainly secondary research as the data has old research which also may have facts and figures included. This is also a secondary data as it’s not a first handed information.
One limitation of this type of research is that the previous information might have been inaccurate and there may have been some errors. This means that if the information is inaccurate and has errors then it would make the previous research not valid and would become false
- Reports from sales: This type of research is useful for retail companies and businesses who are looking to improve their brand or business. By looking at sale reports it will show the where their weakness is at.
One limitation of this type of research is that it may be difficult to access this type of information as it may be limited. Also sometimes the sale figures can be wrong which can affect the business to make new improvements.
Another limitation of this type of research is that expensive to create the reports in order for people to read them.
- Websites: This type of research is useful for all types of data. Anyone can read websites and search for different information’s. Business and brands use websites to read up on their competitors and know what people think of their business. This type of research is mainly secondary research but it can also be quantitative research as it may include numerical numbers and important figures.
One limitation of this type of research is that the information uploaded on the website may not be up to date so if a company such as Apple is reading information about their competitors then they may be reading old information and may take that as their latest information.
Another limitation of this type of research is that anyone can upload or write information about different brands and companies so those means that this source is not always reliable as anyone can write and upload anything.
The limitations of Qualitative Research:
- One limitation of this type of research is that professionals are needed to carry out this research. This may cost Apple money to find the right person to do this task. This may also take a lot of time for the professionals to do their research and thus this will effect Apple.
Another limitation of this type of research is that it is time consuming. Preparing and researching for questionnaires and surveys may take a lot of time and effort to arrange.
The limitations of Quantitative Research:
- One limitation of this type of research is that it leads to limited results drawn in the research scheme as the questions in the questionnaires may be closed-ended questions. So the results may not always represent the actual occurring, in a general method. Moreover, the respondents may have limited options of responses, made on the selection made by the researchers
Another limitation of this type of research is that it usually involves a big sample size. But due to the lack of resources this significant research turn out to be difficult.
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