The Effect of Apple’s Marketing Strategy on Consumer Purchasing Behaviour Hamza Sajed BA International Marketing (Hons) 2013 I certify that all material in this dissertation which is not my own is duly acknowledged. I have read and understand the section in the programme handbook dealing with plagiarism HONOURS DISSERTATIONS SESSION 2012/2013 Business School Library Registration Surname| Sajed| Forenames| Hamza| Banner ID| B00112858| Degree Title(e. g. BA Management)| BA International Marketing| Dissertation Supervisor| Mohammed Boussoura|
Dissertation Title| The effect of Apple’s marketing strategy on consumers purchasing behaviour| ABSTRACT Apple has a track record of brand loyal customers, who repeat purchase from Apple, especially on the launch of a new product. The current study attempted to determine consumer purchasing decisions from Apple and non-Apple customers. To do this, the study- through the use of questionnaire’s looked at consumer based emotions and attitudes towards such products, to decipher how Apple maintained a strong sense of brand loyalty- which in turn causes consumers to repeat purchase.
Analysis of consumer opinions in regards to branding and advertising was taken into consideration, to conclude whether these variables affected the mind-set of the consumer. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS All praise be to Allah for blessing me with the best opportunities in this life. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Mohammed Boussoura, who has advised me on this project throughout the last year and has provided me with the knowledge to complete this task. I am very grateful for your help.
None of this would be possible if it weren’t for my my beautiful wife, Elisa, who has supported me throughout the duration of this project. She, over the last year has been a mother, wife, student and genius simultaneously and without her help and guidance I would have not completed this to the best of my ability. Thank you, you are amazing. For my amazing daughter, Ava. You have come into my life and made everything better. This is for you. You are my motivation to succeed. The copyright of this dissertation rests with the author.
No quotation from it should be published without his/her prior written consent and information derived from it should be acknowledged TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter 1: Introduction1 1. 1 Apple Incorporated 1. 2 Research Question 1. 3 Objectives Chapter 2: Literature Review5 Chapter 3: Methodology13 3. 1 Research Philosophies 3. 1. 1 Ontology 3. 1. 2 Epistemology 3. 1. 3 Philosophies 3. 2 Business Research Techniques 3. 3 Design 3. 4. 1 Hypothesis 3. 4. 2 Sample 3. 4. 3 Method 3. 4 Challenges 3. 5 Alternative Methods of Research Chapter 4: Results and Analysis24 4. 1 Results 4. 2 Weaknesses . 3 Context 4. 4 Conclusions 4. 5 Summary 4. 6 Research Potential References55 Appendices57 Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION As a new product enters the retail environment, its arrival must be made apparent through the use of clever marketing ploys and campaigns that tease the consumer towards its advent. This millennia has seen vast digitalisation and technological advancements into which consumers are magnetically drawn to, with products which are not only designed to make life ‘simpler’ and ‘up-to-date’ but also containing the latest must have applications and power and speed credentials.
Marketing has proven an effective tool in determining the status of such merchandise, and one company as such has marketed its products differently to competitors to achieve somewhat of an advantage over other leading market competitors, influencing attitudes and behaviours of consumers. 1. 1 Apple Incorporated Apple Incorporated is one of the most successful multinational corporations to have ever existed, specialising in the design and development of consumer electronics, computing devices and computing software. In the fourth quarter of 2012, Apple sold 26. million iPhones which seen a 58% unit growth over the same time last year. Also in the final quarter of 2012 Apple sold; 14. 0 million iPads, a 26% unit increase, 4. 9 million Macs, a 1% unit increase and 5. 3 million iPods, thus generating a net income of $41 billion. (Apple Inc. , 2012). By analysing these numbers it is clear why Apple is the largest publicly traded corporation in the world by market capitalization. 1. 2 Research Question But why? Has Apple adopted a differential style of marketing technique that has a preferential advantage over other market competitors that has favoured in its success?
The aim of this thesis is to determine the ways in which Apple chooses to market their products to consumers, and how these differentiate from other similar market competitors. In order to further understand consumer behaviour with regards to branding and marketing, this research paper aims to gain an in-depth understanding of the process and attributes that lead to the customers’ evaluation of Apple as a brand and the key drivers to building brand loyalty. In this thesis, the author aims to investigate (with particular reference to Apple Inc. marketing techniques deployed by such companies and how it affects consumer behavioural patterns in terms of purchase. In order to address the above aims a research question must be drawn; “How does Apple’s marketing strategy achieve a differential advantage over its competitors in the minds of the consumers? And how do these tactics affect the behaviour of the consumers? – How do they affect the attitudes of the consumers towards their products? Does apple’s marketing influence the motives of consumers? ” 1. 3 Objectives
To investigate these patterns of purchasing behaviour, the author has identified these following objectives; * Determine the impact of Apple’s marketing and branding on the consumer purchasing decision making process * Evaluate the effect of apple’s marketing on their consumers motives for purchase * Assess how attitudes of consumers are changed or developed by apple’s marketing * Assess how Apple retain a strong customer loyalty throughout the evolution of their products * Determine consumer attitude and purchasing behaviours towards a variety of consumer electronics brands * Explore consumer emotion, attitude and personality towards the Apple brand. In order to meet these objectives the author will gather data using the following; * Mass media; to analyse advertising used by the companies under investigation * Sales and progress reports * Interviews of consumers on their purchasing decisions, their attitudes towards apple’s products and brand image and what motivates them * A variety of literature
The author will need to look into the theoretical area of consumer behaviour to understand the consumer and how their decision to purchase and their views on products and brand’s can be affected by marketing to be able to develop the correct questions to ask consumers to analyse whether apple’s marketing affects the behaviour of the consumer and how they manage to do this? When looking into consumer behaviour the main aspects that the author needs to pay attention to are attitude and motivation. The author has chosen this specific subject area as this specific research question has interest to the author, as a keen electronic enthusiast. The author also feels that the research question is modern and current and will provide a sound amount of information and interest for a dissertation topic. It is hypothesised by the author that Apple’s brand structure and apparentness in today’s economy is responsible for behavioural purchases by consumers.
It is thought that as Apple is a popular and “must-have” brand in the current climate, it is pushing sales boundaries due to clever marketing techniques and consumer manipulation through brand promotion. This will be further analysed throughout the remainder of this thesis. This thesis will include; a literature review in which the author will discuss and evaluate previous and known literature regarding the research question, whilst reviewing relevant literature related to the topic area, methodology, where the author will set to establish research into the chosen field whilst detailing type and amount of data used, results, in which the author will present results of research findings, and finally an analysis of the results found including a discussion regarding the research question. Chapter 2 LITERATURE REVIEW
This section of the thesis will focus on research and theories already completed in the area of research in question. The author has gathered a variety of literature from various sources in order to analyse perspectives and discuss ideas from a diverse range of authors who have published work in this area. Over the past few years, Apple Inc. has become a company which has grown in profit and popularity dramatically. The geniuses behind the “i” branding have innovated products which are essentially one in the same, yet completely polar opposite at the same time. There have been many published works which claim to detail the secrets behind Apple’s success, in comparison to other electronic giants such as Samsung and Research in Motion.
Whilst business economists such as Rubin (2007) claim that “Apple has a long history of exceptional advertising, starting with 1984”, other business minds are gathering notions that Apple has deployed techniques to the psyche, using cleverly played psychological techniques to draw in consumer motivation, such as the research carried out by Fitzsimons et al, 2008. Brand consciousness in relation to consumer decision making has become a popular choice in research in present times due to the brand exposure we are subject to in everyday life. The appeal of such products has been identified by many different theorists as a psychological determent, with research carried out by Fitzsimons et al (2008) being due to “brands becoming more psychologically meaningful than existing empirical work would suggest”.
Before work carried out by Fitzsimons et al, there seems to be a gap in the suggestion that consumer purchasing habits are result of clever branding and marketing which appeals to the psyche rather than the popular belief that the same habits are based on marketing and branding ideals. Testing and research was undertaken by Fitzsimons et al (2008) to determine whether Apple’s branding was more appealing to the creativity of participants and therefore more likely to purchase. IBM was used as a comparison brand, as they had a different technique of marketing. The study consisted of 341 students who were “primed” into behavioural constructs (half primed with IBM and half with Apple) Participants were then required to answer a questionnaire . It was shown in the study out of 341 students, 219 of those where shown to be more creative after indulging in Apple’s marketing techniques.
Fitzsimons et al (2008) gathered from this information that as Apple’s advertising was centred around positivity and creativeness, this rubbed off on the participant (consumer). The motivation surrounding the advertising had inspired the Apple primed participants to answer creatively. This research suggests that advertising can affect one’s mood, and therefore affect purchasing habits. (Fitzsimons et al, 2008). So does this research suggest that we are “primed” into liking the brands we do? Through mood enhancing techniques, and feel good imagery, it would almost seem like something subliminal. Subliminal advertising has caused much controversy since the introduction of the television.
Illegal in Australia and the United Kingdom, the Federal Commission in the United States take a back seat and claims that “apparent” subliminal messaging is not allowed, other forms are; “We sometimes receive complaints regarding the alleged use of subliminal techniques in radio and TV programming. Subliminal programming is designed to be perceived on a subconscious level only. Regardless of whether it is effective, the use of subliminal perception is inconsistent with a station’s obligation to serve the public interest because the broadcast is intended to be deceptive” (Federal Communications Commission Record, 2001) Other research in branding and marketing suggests that different methods of appeal and marketing are deployed rather that a subliminal approach.
There are many viable and valuable literary sources which detail Apple’s “strategic” marketing change, contrary to the afore mentioned Rubin (2007) who claims that Apple’s marketing techniques have always been “exceptional”. The original “Get A Mac” campaign was described as an attempt to differentiate between the Mac and the best selling computer at the time, the PC, by rival company Microsoft. The campaign was designed to flaw the PC and fill those voids with the simplistic, casual style of the Mac (Sahoo, D. , 2012). Dr. Sahoo claims that the objective of the “Get A Mac” campaign was to gain market share and engage viewers, through the use of well known actors, and create the visible competition between Microsoft and Apple.
This carefully structured plan from Apple to gain market share worked, gaining 70% of Microsoft’s viewers within the first 7 days of launch (Sahoo, D. , 2012). In order to market successfully, copious amounts of strategies and short term plans are adopted by the company , to target the needs, and more recently, wants, of consumers. A process, known as ‘marketing mix’, coined by Neil Borden (1964) is generally put into place, as a rough guideline. This process involves the use of the “Four P’s” (place, product, price and promotion). Although not set in stone as such, this process has proved to be an effective framework in order to brand and market a product successfully starting from the initial conception of the product to the time it hits the shelves.
Apple has stylishly designed their marketing process towards consumers using the ‘Four P’ perspective, highlighted here in a table produced and sourced by the author. Fig. 2. 1: PLACE| In the case of Apple, this refers to the distribution and availability of the product. Cleverly, Apple developed the “Apple” store, an exclusive, student hang out where hi-tech gadgets and gizmos are available for widespread use. The iconic Apple store would have lost its effectiveness if not for the availability of other Apple products such as the “i” branded products (iPod, iPad, iPhone), and is now considered a “cool” hang out. The brand influence has been directed towards students alike, and when an Apple store is visited, the thriving community of “Apple fanboys” is very much apparent. PRODUCT| Apple first began with the then-seen over priced “MacIntosh” computer which in the 90’s was seen as an innovative, stylish alternative to the PC. Still a niche in this time- it was a tool for applicators and geeks to enjoy design features and an alternate operating system. Jobs and his team cleverly evolved the Apple family to extend to the “i” branded products- most of which dominate their individual market shares. Coveting a stylish and innovative design, the Apple products today contain the latest “App’s” which are downloadable from the Apple App store, some paid for and some free, containing a wide array of games, education, health care and other useless/useful applications. This was a clever move by Apple who opened a whole new kind of market through their products. PRICE| Apple has extended its distribution amongst many third party retailers such as catalogues and high street stores, however has remained assertive in price control. This price control allows the brand a sort of ‘exclusivity’ as discounting Apple products of any kind is seen to devalue the brand. A smart move by Apple- allowing the exceptionality of the brand, and again, stressing the exclusivity of the brand. | PROMOTION| Applying the last ‘P’- Promotion to Apple is simple. This comes in the form of advertising and direct marketing to the consumer. Apple’s budget for global advertising has dramatically increased to $1 billion in 2012 from $500 million in 2009 (Apple Inc. , 2012, 2009).
One thing not to be forgotten is word-of-mouth marketing, which Apple could essentially be the so called poster child of. | As this ‘Four P’ framework shows, Apple likes to maintain a sort of exclusivity- which translates to excitement and high quality to the consumer. Could this be the reason behind Apple’s success amongst consumers? Surely this ‘Four P’ principle is easily applied to other electronic companies? If we take Samsung for example, the release of the Samsung Galaxy S3 was highly anticipated by technological enthusiasts due to the technological workings of the phone, alongside the ‘Android’ software available with the handset- a close rival of the iPhone.
These Four P’s were more than likely implemented to the Galaxy S3, but Samsung fails to even come close to the exclusivity of Apple. Applications for example- created and endorsed by Apple, have been created in an Andriod version, and are available through the Android market (Android’s equivalent to the App store) but still remain as an Apple “creation”. When companies advertise their new App’s they tend to follow the advertisement with “Available at the App store” therefore reinforcing the exclusivity maintained by Apple. Along with Applications, Apple has pioneered the way into the tablet market, a handheld device-which much to the luxury of the owner, is a glorified laptop.
A consumer study by Dealnews has shown that upon the release of the iPad 3, more than a third of non-tablet owners have said that they will be buying one this year, and more than half of those surveyed who already own either the original iPad or the iPad 2 also wish to upgrade to the third-generation Apple tablet in 2012 (Poeter, 2012). ‘s In this consumer survey it was shown that first time tablet buyers wish to purchase the new iPad, which equated to nearly 80% of respondents. The 22 percent who want a different tablet, just under half of those would like to purchase the iPad 2. In the same consumer survey, 44% of the minority first time buyers who do not wish to obtain the new iPad are choosing to opt for an Android device. % of this minority are looking for a Windows tablet (surprising as only a few years before Microsoft had most of computing market share), 2% opted for “other tablets” and a disappointing 0% for Research In Motion’s Blackberry Playbook (Poeter, 2012). From this consumer survey gathered by Dealnews we can gather a series of conclusions; * The iPad dominates the tablet market, not only for purchase but for desire also. * Android is Apple’s greatest competitor. * Apple has a strong sense of brand loyalty, with consumers willing to pay for upgrades regularly. * Apple’s upgrades are highly anticipated (as this study was completed months prior to the iPad3 launch). These findings take us back to our research question. How does Apple’s marketing strategy achieve a differential advantage over its competitors in the minds of the consumers? And how do these tactics affect the behaviour of the consumers? – How do they affect the attitudes of the consumers towards their products? Does apple’s marketing influence the motives of consumers? ” We are starting to gather evidence from literature available which shows how the tactics deployed by Apple affect consumer behaviour into a form of enthusiasm and hysteria when a new Apple product is launched. As research stands, prior to the 20th century, obtaining viewer feedback on advertising campaigns was almost impossible unless through word-of-mouth or questionnaires.
With the availability of “YouTube” and the internet, obtaining consumer feedback has never been easier. A study conducted by Campbell et al (2011) viewed comments left by YouTube users on advertising campaigns run by Apple and other companies, to better understand consumer behaviour and motivation. This was loosely based on the framework of Berthon et al (2008) which identified and outlined basic motivations of consumer generated advertising, these were; • Intrinsic enjoyment • Self-promotion • Perception change The study found that using comments provided on the internet and on YouTube proved to be useful in determining what motivated consumers into purchasing patterns and attitudes towards products.
The author has taken this on board and intends to use this useful tool when gathering research towards attitudes of consumers, therefore assisting the author to answer the research question effectively, along with the research and study the author has carried out thus far. It is important to understand consumer behaviour as this provides sound knowledge to a business in operating its markets (McGoldrick, 2002). An observation by Meyers and Eagle, 1982 has shown clearly that consumers make their choice of product not based on the projection of goods but on the basis that the product they buy has distinguishable differences than other products similar to it.
From the information gathered, it is apparent that Apple’s advertising campaigns are of much discussion. The author will be then able to assess the motivation and behaviour of consumers using information from studies previously completed and the author’s own study. The author has gathered this information to assist with the authors own hypothesis. The author will use this information and the information from the study the author has produced to draw a suitable conclusion and answer the research question. Chapter 3 METHODOLOGY Business Research may be defined as the “systematic and objective process of gathering, recording and analyzing data for aid in making business decisions” (Zikmund, 2002).
Methodology serves as an essential part of the research process as the author must determine which research method serves the correct purpose. In order to successfully answer the research question, a collection of data must be analysed discussed. This section will involve the analysis of various research method, theoretical definitions of such and the design and method of the current study. According to Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2009) research has a number of characteristics; * Data is collected systematically * Data is interpreted systemically * Data has a clear purpose With this in mind, it is essential that the author analyzes various research methods available to determine which one it suitable for the current study.
Business research is used to find out a specific question in a systematic and methodical way, therefore increasing one’s knowledge on the given area. Results obtained through research must, and will be critically analysed to provide meaningful and logical results, that relate back to the research question. 3. 1 RESEARCH PHILOSOPHIES Johnson and Clark (2006) note that we, as business researchers need to be aware of which philosophical commitment we make through our chosen research strategy as it has a powerful impact not only on our actions and what we do, but on our general understanding of our investigation. In research philosophy there are two major divisions of thought: Epistemology and ontology.
Each division has contrasting views which in turn influences the way the researcher thinks about the research process. The ontological approach to research is concerned with the nature of reality- the theory behind the truth, where as the epistemological approach concerns the theory behind the knowledge. If the researcher does not accept either approach then they are more than likely considered a ‘pragmatist’, which argues that rather than adopting one position of philosophy, it centres on linking both practice and theory to obtain a rounded answer to the research question. When passing human judgement about research and attempting to carry it out, the axiological branch of philosophy is introduced.
This is essentially the role of the researchers own values in research. 3. 1. 2 ONTOLOGY Ontology is concerned with the theory of the truth. There are two aspects of ontology; objectivism (social phenomena and their meanings exist in reality and are completely independent of social actors) and subjectivism (social phenomena are created from perceptions and actions of social actors and exist because of this). An objectivist view would that if something was not understood by the researcher then it is down to human imperfection, lack of training etc. A subjectivist view would see the same misunderstanding and put it down to their own views, made up of their own belief system. 3. 1. 3 EPISTEMOLOGY
Epistemology is concerned with the theory behind the knowledge. It is concerned with the origin of the researched knowledge and the limitations of human understanding. 3. 1. 4 PHILOSOPHIES There are four main research philosophies associated with business research; * Positivism: Positivists believe that reality is stable and can be observed and described from an objective viewpoint (Levin, 1988), i. e. without interfering with the phenomena being studied * Interpretivism: interpretivists contend that only through the subjective interpretation of and intervention in reality can that reality be fully understood * Realism is a position which relates to scientific enquiry.
It is reliant on what the senses tell us is true, and that objects exist independently and aren’t a faction of the human mind. * Pragmatism, which mentioned before links both epistemological and ontological theories together to obtain a rounded view of research rather than being bias. The philosophies as illustrated below are crucial to a researcher in how the researcher collates research and how the researcher answers the question. The table below reflects comparisons of the philosophies in management research. Table 3. 1 | POSITIVISM| REALISM| INTERPRETIVISM| PRAGMATISM| ONTOLOGY (the researchers view of the nature of reality or being)| External, objective and independent of social actors| Is objective.
Exists independently of human thoughts and beliefs or knowledge of their existence, but is interpreted though social conditioning. | Socially constructed, subjective may change, multiple. | External, multiple, view chosen to best enable answering of research question| EPISTEMOLOGY (the researchers view regarding what constitutes acceptable knowledge)| Only observable phenomena can provide credible data. Focus on causality and law like generalisations, reducing phenomena to simplest elements. | Observable phenomena provide credible data, facts. Insufficient data means inaccuracies in sensations. Alternatively, phenomena create sensations which are open to misinterpretation. Focus on explaining with a context or contexts. Subjective meanings and social phenomena focus up on the details of the situation, a reality behind these details, subjective meanings motivating actions. | Either or both observable phenomena and subjective meanings can provide acceptable knowledge dependent upon the research question. Focus on practical and applied research, integrating different perspectives to help interpret the data. | AXIOLOGY (the researchers view of the role of values in research)| Research is undertaken in a value-free way. The researcher is independent of the data and maintains an objective stance| Research is value laden; the researcher is biased by world views, cultural experiences and upbringing. These will impact on the research. Research is value bound, the researcher is part of what is being researched, cannot separate and so will be subjective| Values play a large role in interpreting results, the researcher adopting both objective and subjective points of view. | Source: Saunders, Lewis, Thornhill (2009) 3. 2 BUSINESS RESEARCH TECHNIQUES There are many different types of research approaches available, which type is chosen is usually determined by what is being investigated. Researchers may use one, or more different research conditions to gather data regarding their research question. Common business research techniques include; * Case Study * Survey * Questionnaire * Interview * Observation * Archival and Historical Data. Of these methods, data collected can be either qualitative or quantitative.
Qualitative data is non numerical data and cannot be quantified, where as quantitative data is numerical data which can be quantified. Both data types can be meaningful, dependent on the research undertaken. Qualitative data for example can be meaningful for categorisation of research and collated data is not standardised and can/will be most times, expressive, giving the researcher a larger means for discussion. The same goes for quantitative research which is meaningful in the sense that data can be organised through the use of diagrams and can be translated into a statistic. The table constructed by the author details differences between qualitative and quantitative data. Table 3. 2 QUANTATIVE DATA| QUALITATIVE DATA| Data collected is numerical * Meanings derived from numbers * Analysed using diagrams and statistics| * Data collected is non standardised and is often formed into categories * Expressed through the use of words rather than numbers * Analysed through conceptualisation and knowledge of the researcher| The author, with this knowledge has decided that in order to answer the research question effectively, the use of both quantitative and qualitative data will be administered in the design of the research. This is so that the author can obtain statistical data and also views and opinions from consumers to analyse in the discussion section of the process. 3. 3 DESIGN The author has chosen the questionnaire research method in order to answer the research question effectively. The method chosen is a questionnaire, consisting of questions which constitute of qualitative and quantitative data.
The author has chosen the questionnaire as data from this can be quantified and information formulated from the questionnaire can be translated into statistical data in terms of consumer purchasing habits, and feelings towards products. The author has also chosen to add qualitative questions in this questionnaire as a research strategy as through conceptualisation, the author can categorise feelings, motivations and behaviours of consumers, which will help the author answer the initial research question regarding consumer behaviour. The questionnaire (see appendix 1) consisted of 14 questions in total. This contained 6 multiple choice questions/answers. The questionnaire contained two conditions.
After 6 questions which where applicable to all respondents the following 8 questions where divided into two sections, those with apple products (Questions 7-12), and those without (Questions 13-14). In these sections respondents were required to indicate agreement with certain statements (Questions 7 and 8 from the Apple owned section, and Question 14 from the non-owned section). The remaining questions (9, 10, 11, 12) asked questions with open answers. The questionnaire is a deductive approach. Data is standardised and therefore collected data can be analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. This allows the author to collect data which can establish relationships between variables.
The questionnaire was cost effective as administered by the author himself. The questionnaire however did not cater to individual emotion, motivation and behaviour of consumers as it was standardised. Qualitative questions were also chosen as due to limitations of the quantitative questions, where feelings and attitudes cannot be expressed, qualitative questions could fill this void. This helps the researcher conclude a more widely discussable answer to the research question. The open questions were rich in collecting details from the consumer in personal thoughts regarding products and brand loyalty. The author intended to have two questionnaires, but did not want to lose participation due to a lengthy survey.
Instead, the author decided that one questionnaire was adequate, if both qualitative and quantitative methods were adopted to satisfy the research question, also so that participation was not seen as a long and lengthy task by the consumer/respondent, and that they would be willing to take part. 3. 3. 1 HYPOTHESIS Before undertaking research, various methods of data and information analysis are considered by the researcher. As a basis and starting point for the research, a hypothesis must be drawn as a method of comparison and control. A hypothesis is a prediction generated by the author regarding the research which is going to take place. In this instance the author has hypothesised that; * Apple uses the design of their products as a method of attraction to onsumers, achieving an advantage over competitors * There is a correlation between the quality of electronic service and customer satisfaction * Apple’s products obtain an exclusivity which affects the consumers motivations and attitudes towards to the product These hypotheses will help the researcher conduct adequate research and assist with the current investigation. 3. 3. 2 SAMPLE The author has used random probability sampling for this method of research. Respondents were chosen by the author when they were visiting electronic stores and the Apple store. This is at they are the population required as they are the consumer in question in this mode of research.
From the data collated, there were 40 responses which the author has used to gather data. Of these respondents, 13 were female and 27 were male, and ranged from age between 18-53. As this study is regarding the consumer in general no age limit or specific gender was required for participation. 3. 3. 3 METHOD The author, with permission of the managers at the Apple store, Braehead, Glasgow and Currys/PC World, Braehead, Glasgow, approached customers in store at the electrical section and briefed them on the current investigation. The consumer was then asked if they could take 5 minutes to complete a short questionnaire(see appendix 1) on their purchasing habits, brand loyalty and attitudes towards brands.
After respondents accepted they were passed a clipboard with the questionnaire (see appendix 1). The questionnaire once complete were collected by the researcher and collected for data analysis. Respondents were thanked for their time and participation. To gain further participation, the author, when approaching potential participants offered to fill in the questionnaire on the participant’s behalf, so that participants did not feel this was a lengthy or strenuous task- and also to gain participation. This was the case on 12 occasions. The author did not manipulate any anwers to satisfy the hypothesis, and the participants answer was dually noted. 3. 4 CHALLENGES As predicted the author experienced some negativity towards the research.
Most people approached did not want to take part in the study as either they were under time constraints, or as predicted they assumed that the author was selling something, rather than collecting data. As mentioned before, to gain participation from participants who seemed on the fence about participating the author offered to fill in the questionnaire as the participant gave their answers verbally. Also using this method of research proved difficult as a lot of electrical stores and supermarket electrical sections did not want their customers pestered whilst shopping, distracting them from a sale. Although the current study is a consumer based study in general, the researcher found that respondents were predominantly male, as males were more available at the time.
This suggestion of gender bias is further discussed in the discussion section of the project. 3. 5 ALTERNATE METHODS OF RESEARCH The author has acknowledged that there are alternate methods of research available at his disposal. In this current study the use of experimentation is not required as the aim of this research is not to determine the manipulation of a variable causing a change in another. Case studies also were not needed in this method of research as the author is not investigating a particular phenomenon. Archival research is briefly used for reference throughout the study but was not the main method of research. Chapter 4: RESULTS AND ANALYSIS
In this chapter the author will detail all results obtained by the questionnaire administered. Results will be reported using graphs and statistical information in order to make the results more understandable and meaningful. Discussion of each individual result will follow, with any other relevant and general discussion and overall analysis and conclusions following after. If any relationships are found between variables in the questions, this will be detailed after, when discussing the results. The current study was a questionnaire answered by 40 consumers. 4. 1 RESULTS Which of these electronic brands are you most interested in purchasing from? Fig. 4. 1. 1
From 40 consumers questioned, 32 of those (80%) expressed interest to purchase from Apple. 6 of those consumers (15%) showed interested in Samsung products, whilst 1 consumer chose Sony, and the remaining other consumer had chosen the unspecified “other”. Phillips was not chosen by any consumers. As depicted in figure 4. 1. 1, we can already see the interested generated by Apple products amongst consumers, with 80% share of the gathered interest. Which of these brands do you consider high quality? Fig 4. 1. 2 From the 40 consumers questioned, 33 of those (82%) had considered Apple products to be high quality. 6 consumers (15%) chose Samsung, and 1 consumer had chosen the unspecified “other”.
Phillips was not chosen from these 40 consumers as a product considered to be high quality. As depicted in figure 4. 1. 2, it is clear that Apple, with 82% of correspondence is considered by consumers to be a product of high quality. If you were given an unlimited budget, which would you consider purchasing? Fig. 4. 1. 3 From the 40 consumers asked, 36 of those (90%) stated that if an unlimited budget was available, they would chose to purchase Apple products. 2 of those consumers had chosen to purchase Samsung products, 1 consumer had chosen to purchase Sony products, and the remaining 1 consumer has chosen the unspecified “other” to purchase if an unlimited budget was an option. From figure 4. 1. an assumption can be drawn that Apple products are associated with a high price, as the term “unlimited budget” has been chosen, consumers have spoken to which brand they would choose should money not be an option. How many Apple products do you own? Fig. 4. 1. 4 From the 40 consumers approached, 28 in total were shown to own Apple products, these 28 consumers break down into sub categories of how many products owned. One Apple product: 9 consumers (31%) Two Apple products: 11 consumers (38%) Three or more Apple products: 8 consumers (27%) No Apple products: 12 consumers (4%) This table has great significance. From all 40 participants who answered the questionnaire, 96% of those owned Apple products.
This result was far greater than the author first anticipated. Of the 96% who owned Apple products, the greatest product margin was owning two apple products, hinting at a sense of brand loyalty. A further 27% owned three or more products, furthering the idea of a brand loyalty. What do you think sets Apple aside from competitors? Fig. 4. 1. 5 From the 40 consumers questioned, 16 of those (40%) believe all components listed (price, quality, design, innovation and brand image) sets Apple as a company aside from competitors. The individual components were provided for consumers to answer singly if they believed there was one aspect which differentiated Apple as a company. consumers of the 40 questioned believed price was the main difference, were as 5 consumers believed the quality set Apple side, compared to the 5 who believed design, the other 5 backing innovation as a differentiator and the remaining 6 participants who believed that brand image as a whole was responsible for setting Apple aside as a company. As 40% of respondents have chosen all components, it is apparent that consumers think of highly in terms of price, quality, design, innovation and brand image. Brand image was also chosen as the highest of all of the each individual components, which suggests that Apple’s success has been created through the overall image of the brand. When you think about Apple as a brand what words come to mind? The author decided to add this question in to gain a wider understanding of the Apple brand, from consumers own ideas and thoughts, rather than giving them options to choose from, eliminating any bias from the author onto the participant.
The response to this question was highly varied, with 45 different words chosen by the consumers to describe in their own words what they think of Apple, and the frequency of these answers, as many of the same words are repeated in different questionnaires. In the table below, figure 4. 1. 6, the author has noted all words put forward by consumers to answer the question, and the frequency of appearance. Figure 4. 1. 6 WORD| FREQUENCY| Evolved| 1| Steve Jobs| 5| Robust| 1| Cool| 5| Handy| 1| Expensive| 16| Fun| 2| Luxury| 2| Overpriced| 1| Pretentious| 2| Stylish| 8| Sleek| 1| Leaders| 3| Popular| 8| The Best| 4| Must Have| 1| Rip Off| 1| Simple| 1| Reliable| 1| Exclusive| 1| Fancy| 1| Status Symbol| 1| Hipster| 1| “I”| 1| Mac| 1|
Happy| 1| Fashionable| 3| Excellent| 1| Different| 1| Friendly| 1| Trendy| 1| Dependable| 1| High Class| 1| Wanted| 1| Simple Advertisements| 1| The Hand on Adverts| 1| Amazing| 1| Posh| 1| Show Off| 1| Glamour| 1| Top Quality| 9| Innovative| 5| Helpful| 1| Useful| 1| Sexy| 1| From these 45 words, the majority are positive statements about Apple products. The statements which are not positive (i. e. expensive, overpriced, pretentious, rip off, show off) are negative statements regarding the pricing of the brands products, except from show off, but this could also be argued that show off is an indicator of showing the product off as it is expensive.
These words also include general statements regarding the brand such as the hand on the advertisements (Apple’s advertising campaigns that show simply a hand using the product to highlight simplicity to the customer), simple advertisements, Steve Jobs, status symbol, hipsters, “I” (referring to the i branding of products) and Mac all refer to the brand image as a whole, showing the impact of the image on people’s thoughts of the company. The positive statements however are all in regard to people’s feelings and emotions towards products, and not including the negative and general statements, 33 of these 45 responses are all positive attitudes towards Apple products.
As this question had an open answer for respondents to choose their own wording there was no guarantee that the same words would appear throughout the questionnaires. The author has noticed repetition of certain words whilst analysing the questionnaires. This is significant as the consumer has chosen their own word to describe their feelings and emotions towards the brand, and as some words appear more often than others it is clear that these are shared emotions from consumers towards the brand. Six of these words appear more than 5 times throughout the questionnaires and it is important to note these as the mode, as clearly they are shared opinions of the brand, coming direct from the consumer. These words are (their frequency noted next to them in brackets); * Cool (5) Expensive (16) * Stylish (8) * Popular (8) * Top Quality (9) * Innovative (5) These are the top 6 most quoted answers given. “Expensive” appears 16 times, giving the author a clear indication of the perception of Apple products amongst consumers. “Quality” is also a high ranking answer with 9 appearances, indicating the perception of high quality products from Apple. The case of a correlating argument can be argued that consumer’s perception of high quality merchandise related to high pricing, as the answers provided indicate. Emotions towards owned Apple products Respondents were to only answer this question if they owned an Apple product. Fig. 4. 1. 7
This graph clearly displays the emotions of Apple’s consumers towards their products. The significant idea surrounding the consumer’s emotions that can be taken from this graph is that they in most cases agree or strongly agree to have developed strong emotions towards Apple’s product. This is shown through the respondent’s ratings of their feelings towards each emotion. The respondent’s where asked to rate their emotions on a scale of strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree and neither agree or disagree towards whether they loved, where attached to, connected to, whether the products were friendly and whether they felt proud about Apple’s products.
There was no significant numbers of respondents disagreeing or strongly disagreeing to have formed emotions towards Apple’s products implying that Apple have been successful in capturing the minds of their consumers with their products whether it be through the product itself or the implications to the consumer of owning an Apple product socially (to seem a part of the crowd) or as a symbol of their status (to reflect themselves as a stylish individual that enjoys the best of things). When it came to feeling connected with their products 13 out of 28 consumers neither agreed or disagreed to feel connected also 13 consumers neither agreed or disagreed about Apple’s products being friendly this could be down to the degree of dvanced technology incorporated in these products that it is rare to fully master for example the iPhone’s of late without using them for a significant amount of time and some user’s may see this as disturbing the connection between them and the product. 14 out of 28 consumers agreed to love their Apple products showing that when Apple gains a customer they usually capture their hearts with the product and this usually leads to inseparability of the consumer to their product as can be seen in public where consumers are playing around on iPads and iPhones on anywhere from the underground train to in lecture halls in university, this inseparability could also be the reason for repeat purchases of upgraded models of the products. 4 consumers out of 28 strongly agreed to be attached to their products this shows that Apple have captured their consumers cleverly by integrating their products into most aspects of peoples life’s for example the iPhone can be used as an alarm clock, personal music player, workout planner, camera, internet browser and almost anything else you will need on a daily basis. By doing this Apple have made their products an integral part of their consumers life’s. 16 out of 24 consumers strongly agree to be proud of their Apple products; this could be a result of the popularity of the brand and the pride of others associating them with possessing the leading brand’s products.
Apple’s brand image of being “cool” to own has gained them the consumers who wish to be part of the “cool” or “hipster” movement and Apple products are usually worn by these followers as a sign of their social status. How much do you agree with these statements? Respondents were to only answer this question if they owned an Apple product. Fig. 4. 1. 8 In this question similar to the last respondents were given the opportunity to express their feelings on certain aspects of their relationship with Apple’s products by rating a number of statements from strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree to neither agree or disagree. Once again it is clear from the graph and table that Apples consumers feel quite strongly about their products as only a few respondents answered neither agree nor disagree for the statements. 0 out of 28 respondents strongly agree that their Apple products reflect who they are, the fact that most respondents choose to go with strongly agree and not agree shows that they are proud of showing off the fact their Apple products reflect them as a person and they wish to be perceived as individuals with style and top end consumers with a high social status. 9 respondents strongly agreed and 9 agreed that they can identify with the Apple products that they own which is a strong majority of the consumers questioned once again further clarifying the notion that Apple users want to be perceived to possess as a person the same attributes that their Apple products possess which is that of style and to be “cool” and part of the movement. 3 respondents strongly agreed and 15 agreed that they purchase Apple products because they enjoy using them, this is everyone that was question and overwhelmingly indicates that Apple’s success as seen in the previous two questions was not only built on the brand’s image and the success of conveying the correct messages to the consumers in their market but also through the development of top quality products so immaculate marketing from Apple is not the end all and be all in the reason why Apple has taken over the electronic market. The quality of the products Apple continue to offer is forever increasing and this could be the main principle to repeat purchasing behaviour from its consumers and also could be integral to creating brand loyalty. The fun factor of their products deem their products not only fit for their specific functions but also overall entertainment packages that consumers never get bored of and just can’t get enough of. 5 out of 28 consumers agreed that they purchased Apple products as a result of someone else’s recommendation; this is an indicator of how well Apple’s marketing strategy works as they capture the interests of consumers that deeply that they are the talk of social circle’s and also their products are promoted widely due to their quality and brand success by their consumers without Apple themselves needing to take part in the promotion of their products. 17 respondents strongly agreed and 11 agreed that they have confidence in the Apple brand, this could be a result of either Apples brand image and success of it that consumers feel by purchasing from the market leaders they have the peace of mind and security but most likely it is a combination of that and also the fact that their products never fail to please their consumers and consistently bettering in their updates and this fills consumers with confidence when purchasing an Apple product that they will be more than satisfied with their purchase and not have to worry about the outcome of possible a wasted purchase. 5 consumers strongly agree and 11 agree that they are familiar with the Apple brand indicating that the purchase of Apple products is not a spur of the moment decision but well thought through by considering the fact that the product is manufactured by Apple and comes with all the attributes linked to an Apple product and so consumers do not purchase products though merely evaluating against other offerings in the market but the Apple brand image plays a significant role in the purchasing decision of the consumer. 11 consumers agree and 11 out of 28 neither agree nor disagree to have purchased Apple products due to advertisements they have seen.
This shows that the purchasing decision of Apple’s consumers lays between both the marketing strategy and advertisements of Apple which have been proven to be very successful in capturing the imaginations of the markets consumers and also between the quality of their products that can lead to repeat purchasing habits and create brand loyalty and also product referrals that are trustworthy to potential consumers when they are of products from the Apple brand. How many Apple products have you owned and which ones? If multiple what has lead you to repeat purchase from Apple? Respondents were to only answer this question if they owned an Apple product. For analysis purposes this question has been divided into three parts.
Amount of products owned/previously owned, exact product specification, and reasons why repeat purchases have been made. Analysis of results will follow after the results for this question have been reported, with any relationships between variables discussed in analysis. Figure 4. 1. 9 represents amount of Apple products owned or previously owned by respondents who currently own Apple products. From the 28 of the 40 questioned who owned Apple products, 20 of them had made repeat purchases within Apple. AMOUNT OF APPLE PRODUCTS OWNED | NUMBER OF CONSUMERS | 1| 8| 2| 8| 3| 5| 4| 4| 5| 1| 6| 1| 11| 1| Fig. 4. 1. 9 Figure 4. 1. 10 represents exact products owned as answered by participants. Fig. 4. 1. 10 Figure 4. 1. 1 below represents the reasons why the questioned consumers made repeat purchases within Apple. As this question was an open answer, consumers were able to put across their reasons for multiple and repeat purchases within Apple. The table below displays the answers provided by participants. Some reasons were repeated by consumers, this has been reflected in the table below. Fig. 4. 1. 11 REASONS FOR REPEAT PURCHASE| NUMBER OF CONSUMERS WHO QUOTED THIS| Good operating system| 3| Aesthetically Pleasing| 2| Similar product, different form| 9| Best product on the market| 2| Easy to use| 1| Top quality| 5| Reliable brand | 1| Good Apps| 1| Great design| 2| Updated products better than the last| 3| Sync products together| 2|
Technology requirement| 1| Exclusivity| 1| Last long| 1| Reputable brand| 1| Fashionable, stylish| 1| Upgrade| 1| Makes me feel good| 1| It has been established that 20 of the 28 Apple consumers have made repeat purchases but what needs to be established are the reasons why. By asking the consumers which products they have owned before asking them the reasons why they have repeat purchased a link can be established between certain products Apple offer and repeat purchases of these products. The first statistic that can be drawn is from the products owned graph where it is clear to see that the iPhone series are the most popular product Apple offer.
Interestingly there is a link to the iPhone series and repeat purchasing of Apple products; it has been seen from the 20 respondents that have repeat purchased from Apple 10 of them have repeat purchased an updated model of the iPhone that they previously owned this shows that the iPhone has been their most popular product for a reason and this is because each update has been bettered and technologically advanced from its previous edition this can be seen as 5 of these 10 repeat iPhone purchasers have given the reason for repeat purchase that the products are of top quality. Another interesting fact is that 9 of the 20 consumers gave the reason for repeat purchasing that the products are similar products in a different form.
This shows the consumers are keen on the way Apple has kept their whole range to a similar style and have used similar design and functions throughout their entire range creating a winning formula. 7 of the consumers that quoted this have made purchases of different products in the range and not just upgraded one product to its newer edition showing the validity of this finding. It is interesting to see 5 of the repeat purchasers to quote top quality as the reason to repeat purchase as in the question asked to all respondents to provide words that they associated with the Apple brand 9 out of 40 quoted top quality, this shows that the quality of the products that Apple offer have been crucial to the success of the brand and to create brand loyal consumers. Are you brand loyal to Apple? If so, why are you?
By asking the consumer this directly the author is eliminating any presumptions previously made about reasons for brand loyalty. From the 28 consumers who own Apple products, 11 of those stated “yes” when asked if they are brand loyal to Apple, leaving 17 saying no. The reasons for brand loyalty were various, a total of 16 reasons given. Out of these 16 reasons, 3 of them appeared a various number of times. This is depicted in table 4. 1. 12 below. Figure 4. 1. 12 The first thing that stands out when looking at the reasons given is that the reasons can be put into two categories these are reasons relating to the products and reasons relating to Apple the brand.
The reasons stylish, design, like having the best products, great evolution of products, iPhone quality, high quality products, and cool products show that the quality of products that Apple offer is a contributing factor to capturing the markets consumers and creating brand loyalty as not everyone buys into a brand image but also demand products that deliver and this is what Apple offers. The reasons of consistency, always deliver, enjoy showing products off, trusted brand, like apple the company, popular, reliable brand, ahead of competitors and being part of the crowd shows that Apple’s brand image has been a crucial factor to creating brand loyal consumers. The reasons of always delivering and their consistency as market leaders have gained the custom of those wishing to own the best of products and like to show it off, the consistency in being able to always better their offerings with new products has led to attaining their consumers trust and has created the image of a reliable brand.
The popularity of Apple and the fact that owning apple products is fashionable has created brand loyal consumers of those who want to fit in and be part of the crowd and a part of this can be a result of Apple’s clever advertisements making their products and brand seem cool and stylish as was expressed by respondents in other questions. What do Apple’s advertisements make you think about their brand products? Respondents were to only answer this question if they owned an Apple product. This question was given to consumers in order to analyse thoughts/opinions regarding Apple’s advertising, and consumer emotion towards this, ultimately to determine whether marketing and advertisements had an impact on the overall brand image of Apple. This was an open question, and responses were highly varied. Figure 4. 1. 13 represents the replies received by participants.
Like all of the qualitative questions provided, the results from these were sometimes repeated, giving the author great indication of representation of the brand in the consumers mind set. Fig. 4. 1. 13 THOUGHTS ABOUT APPLE’S ADVERTISEMENTS| NUMBER OF RESPONSES| Big reputation| 1| Shows simplicity of product| 3| Easy to use| 5| Must have| 7| Exciting| 2| Cool| 4| Top brand| 2| Professional| 1| Trendy| 1| Stylish| 6| Fun Apps| 2| Similar but different| 4| Popular | 4| Fashionable| 2| Innovative| 3| Product evolution| 1| Simple but effective| 2| Strong brand image| 1| Happy | 1| Best in Market| 3| Nice design| 2| Boring| 1| Do many things| 1| Expensive| 1| Confident| 1| Different| 1|
If we were to categorise these responses we can see that in regard to brand image and positivity and negativity, there is only ONE negative response, “boring” was what one respondent thought about Apple’s advertisements this is the opposite reaction from the rest of the respondents but this has to recognised because if a much larger group of consumers were questioned there can be a slight chance that more respondents may feel the same. As can be seen in the table all respondents bar one said positive things about Apple’s advertisements and this reflects on what consumers feel about Apple as a brand and shows the positivity that their advertisements convey to consumers leading to consumers building belief and trust in the brand and also leading to repeat purchasing habits and brand loyalty in Apple as we have seen most of these respondents that answered this question have done so.
This shows how important it is for a company to successfully advertise their products/brand and Apple have done so as we can see through the answers that were quoted by several respondents, “must have”, “stylish”, “easy to use”, “cool”, “popular”, “similar but different” are the most common responses from the consumers and these words show that Apples advertisements convey all the right messages to the viewer as they display the brand as cool popular and stylish and what consumer wouldn’t want to be affiliated with a brand like this that is almost a fashion statement to “wear” their products and this makes viewers of their advertisements want to own these “must have” products. Do their advertisements affect your reasons for purchasing their products? If so, why? Respondents were to only answer this question if they owned an Apple product. This question was placed strategically next to the one previous, as they are both regarding advertising by Apple. It was asked to meet the objective of determining whether Apple’s marketing strategy influences the consumer purchasing decision. The results obtained from this question are evenly split, which surprised the author. Figure 4. 1. 14 represents the 28 answers to the first part of the question. Fig. 4. 1. 13 4 respondents answered yes and 14 answered no to whether Apple’s advertisements affect their reasons for purchasing Apple’s products. This was very surprising as it seemed more of the respondents would have said yes as most of the respondents said positive things about Apple’s advertisements in the previous question. This was probably one of the most interesting results as it went so much against what was thought before the answers were given. When asked to provide reasons why the advertisements affected purchasing decisions, respondents answered with various qualitative reasoning. There were only three answers which appeared multiple times. Below, in figure 4. 1. 4 the reasons are provided, alongside the number of responses. Some consumers instead of giving one reply gave a multitude of reasons why the advertisements make them purchase from Apple. REASONS WHY ADVERTISING AFFECTS PURCHASING| NUMBER OF RESPONSES | Highlights things the product can do| 1| Make you want the products| 4| Make products seem stylish| 1| Simplicity is appealing| 1| Catchy song with the same reoccurring theme| 1| Make you believe in the product| 1| Inspired to purchase| 1| Cool| 1| Cool functions shown| 1| Memorable| 2| Shows how handy the products are| 2| Shows cool Apps| 1| Positive adverts| 1| Catch attention| 1| Fig. 4. 1. 14
The reasons given were varied from how the advertisements are “cool” and “inspire to purchase” which is the intention of any advertisement for any product so this shows that Apple have been successful in their advertisements as viewers want to purchase their products as a result of watching their ad’s. A few respondents commented on how their advertisements display their products successfully “show cool apps”, “show how handy the products are”, “cool functions shown”, this technique of making their advertisements “memorable” and “catch attention” along with successfully conveying the positive attributes of their products has proven to be a winning formula for Apple. The most occurring answer from respondents sums up Apple’s advertisements success in delivering the correct message to its viewers which is the purpose of advertisements “make you want the products” is the answer that occurred the most in this question and shows that all the ttributes quoted in the answers given results in the viewer or the advertisement left thinking about the product and wanting to purchase it, so it can be safely said that Apple’s advertisements are a key tool in their success in capturing such a large market share and capturing the minds and hearts of their consumers. I have chosen not to purchase Apple products because; Respondents were to only answer this question if they did not own an Apple product. This question was to be answered by the remaining 12 consumers who did not own Apple products. The figure below depicts this. Fig. 4. 1. 15 This question was to establish two things the first the reason why the respondents have not purchased apple products and also what attributes of Apple’s products that could be holding back the possibility for even further domination of the market if changed accordingly to respondents responses.
The response to this question was that all 12 respondents selected price as being the reason why they have not purchased an Apple product showing clearly that the attributes of their products play no role in the decision of consumers not to purchase. The fact that Apple have very strict pricing plans especially for products such as the iPhone where discounts etc. are not available leave consumers that are wanting a bargain looking elsewhere, if this is not the reason then quite simply the top end price that Apple adopt for their top end products are just too much for some consumers of the electronic market and this is an issue which will always be present as no matter which market the product is in top end products will not be affordable to many consumers in that market.
To consider lowering the prices of their products may cause more of a problem than solution as this could tarnish Apple’s brand image that has been developed throughout the years and diminishing the exclusivity of their brand/products so as a recommendation to Apple no change is required here. How far do you agree with these statements? Fig. 4. 1. 16 This question was asked to reach out into the minds of the respondents who do not own Apple products and gain an insight to whether it is Apple the brand that they do not wish to purchase from or whether it may be an issue with electronic purchases in general that keep them away from Apple products.
Here respondents were asked to rate statements regarding Apple products and electronic products from strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree to neither agree nor disagree. 6 out of 12 respondents agreed and 3 strongly agreed that Apple products are not worth the money they are sold at pushing towards the notion that the price of their products is the main reason for consumers not purchasing from Apple. 3 out of 12 strongly disagreed and 3 disagreed that they are not interested in purchasing electronics where 4 neither agreed nor disagreed so this shows that the consumers are interested in purchasing electronics but there are other factors leading to them not purchasing from Apple.
When answering the question of if they buy electronics just because they have to the answering were neutral with 4 agreeing and 4 disagreeing so this could be a reason for some of the respondents not owning Apple products because they only want products to be fit for purpose and don’t want to pay extra for extra features on top. 5 consumers answered to either agree or strongly agree to not be bothered by using Apple products this result shows similarity to the previous statement where consumers are not fazed by the prospect of using products of a big brand. 4. 2 WEAKNESSES After conducting the questionnaire and analysing the results it was seen that there were a few weaknesses with the findings. The first was that in question 12 where respondents are asked whether Apple’s advertisements affected their decision to purchase and if so why?
When analysing the results it was that half of the respondents answered that the advertisements did not affect their purchasing decisions and this was a big surprise as in the previous question all but one respondent gave positive responses to Apple’s advertisements. The weakness in these findings was that we found out why Apple’s advertisements affected the consumers reasons to purchase from them but it was not founded why half of the respondents’ decisions to purchase from apple was not affected by their advertisements even thou they responded positively to the advertisements. The next weakness in the finding was that in question 13 where respondents were asked why they have chosen not to purchase Apple products.
The weakness here when analysing the findings was that it was recognised that there may have been a compromise of truth from respondents as they were given a choice of between five reasons and may have chosen price due to the fact that they could not input their own answer that they wanted as there was no option to and this may have limited the validity of this questions findings. The last weakness is a generalised weakness which could have been foreseen, this is that a relatively small sample was selected to take part in the questionnaire this was because of limited time and resources so to generalise the findings of the questionnaire may be difficult as the validity of the results when applying to the mass market may be challenged. 4. 3 CONTEXT When relating the results of the questionnaire back to the literature that was selected to review a trend can be seen that links the conclusions of the literature to the results obtained from the questionnaire.
The first thing that seems apparent and almost too obvious to miss is the fact that Apple’s marketing and in particular their advertisements is largely based around the way they make the consumers feel and this positive, popular and stylish aura rubs off on the consumers and this psychological tactic has been used very effectively in turning viewers of their advertisements into their consumers as they want the feel good factor displayed in the advertisements so they purchase the products and this gives them the satisfaction that they desired when watching the advertisements. The research by Fitzsimons et al (2008) showed that Apple’s marketing techniques influence’s creativeness as their advertisements are centred around positivity and creativeness and this was the same idea that the results of the questionnaire displayed when the respondents took part in word association and were asked what they felt about Apples advertisements the positivity shone through the words they quoted, “exiting products”, “cool”, “Trendy”, “Happy”, “the best”, “must have” are just a few words that show the positivity surrounding Apple’s advertisements and show how effective they are in capturing the mind and attention of the consumer.
Leading on from this point another similarity between the results of the questionnaire and the literature that was reviewed was that Apple’s advertisements are used by apple to tune the consumers into a view of their brand as cool and popular and the brand that consumers want to be a part off. In the reviewed literature the original advertisement for the MAC computer was used cleverly to capture the consumer’s attention with the use of well-known actors and by using these actors the viewer instantly thought this brand is one I want to be part of and instantly needed to have their products to be part of the crowd. This notion was mentioned many times by the respondents of the interview where they used the words “need to have”, “trendy”, “fashionable” “top brand” and “strong brand image” to name just a few when describing how they felt when watching Apple’s advertisements.
Another point that crossed between the literature and findings was that Apple’s innovation appealed to their consumers. As seen in the literature review Apple pioneered the way into the tablet market with the iPad and also with the apps market and this was recognised as a brand trait of Apples when in the questionnaire many respondents referred to Apple as pioneers and this was one of the factors of repeat purchasing habits of their consumers. Apples ability to constantly develop their products to a higher standard through upgrades was established in the literature review and was also quoted as one of the main reasons of repeat purchasing and brand loyalty to Apple by its consumers when they took part in the questionnaire. The objectives of this research are; Determine the impact of Apple’s marketing and branding on the consumer purchasing decision making process * Evaluate the effect of apple’s marketing on their consumers motives for purchase * Assess how attitudes of consumers are changed or developed by apple’s marketing * Assess how Apple retain a strong customer loyalty throughout the evolution of their products * Determine consumer attitude and purchasing behaviours towards a variety of consumer electronics brands * Explore consumer emotion, attitude and personality towards the Apple brand. The objectives have been answered by the findings of the research as it has been determined that Apples marketing and branding has a significant impact on the consumers purchasing decision making process as their advertisements leave the consumers feeling like they must own that product and they have to be part of the Apple movement as they are seen as the “cool” brand and the most popular to be associated with, these attributes show that Apples marketing and branding is clever as they reach out to the consumers feelings to capture them and influence their purchasing decisions.
Apples marketing strategy motivates their consumers to purchase their products as they reach out to the consumers emotional buying motives as their advertisements leave the consumers feeling proud of the brand and feeling like they need to own the best products on the market to fulfil self-satisfaction and also the aesthetics of the products seen in their advertisements have been seen in the results of the research as “stylish” and “fashionable” and these are motives for the consumer to purchase from Apple. Attitudes of consumers are developed by Apple’s marketing through creating strong beliefs of the brand and its products and the answers to the questionnaire show this as the consumers have positive beliefs in the brand when they stated Apple are a trusted and reliable brand and their products are of top quality when seeing their advertisements.
Consumer’s feelings are also affected by Apple’s advertisements as they feel positive and warmth to the products when they see their attributes and the stylish presentation of them in the advertisements. The results of the questionnaire show that Apple retain a strong customer loyalty through the evolution of their products when consumers stated that the reason for repeat purchasing and upgrading to the latest models of their products was because of the consistent evolution of their products and this is most apparent in the iPhone range making this their most successful and sought after offering leading to the huge success Apple has had in recent years.
Consumer attitude towards Apple’s competitors was analysed and it was seen that most consumers both of Apple products and competitors’ products where more interested in purchasing Apple products but there was reasons to why they had not mainly being the price of Apple’s products, the brand seen to pose most competition to Apple was Samsung and some respondents indicated that even with an unlimited budget they would still rather purchase Samsung’s products. Consumer’s emotions and attitudes towards the Apple brand was shown to be that they loved their products and this created a strong connection to the brand and feel that Apple is the leading brand in the market and long to be part of the Apple “team” as this is seen to be cool as it is a fashion statement and status symbol to own Apple products and flaunt the “hottest” brand on the market. 4. 4 CONCLUSIONS
From the results that have been obtained in the recent study it can be concluded that Apple has adopted a very clever marketing strategy focused around reaching out to consumers psyche through skills such as mood setting in their adverts creating a positive feeling of satisfaction from their products and self-fulfilment and this rubs off on the consumer leaving them long to own their products and it has proven very successful in helping them become market leaders as consumers described their emotions towards Apple and their products with positive words showing that they love the brand and their products and that they feel very passionately towards the brand. This along with the top quality product offerings from Apple have resulted in influencing repeat purchase behaviour and also helping to create brand loyal consumers and ultimately the success of the brand as a whole. 4. 5 SUMMARY
The purpose of this research was to evaluate Apple’s marketing strategy and distinguish whether it affects the buying behaviour of consumers. To do this consumers views and feelings on Apple’s brand and products had to be researched also how Apple’s advertisements have an impact on the consumers and what has led to repeat purchases and brand loyal customers of Apple. Reviewing previous literature gave ideas to why Apples marketing was so successful and when analysing the results of the research it was seen that these ideas stood true as respondents of the research further complemented the ideas with their responses. The current study consisted of a questionnaire completed by 40 consumers and the questionnaire included questions to gather both quantitative and qualitative data.
When receiving the results and analysing the data it was found that Apple’s brand image was very strong trustworthy and reliable in the eyes of their consumers and this is a reason for brand loyal customers. Also it was established that Apples use of reaching out to psychological aspects of the consumer (their consumer behaviour) has been proven to be very successful as their advertisements grab the attention of the consumers and leave them wanting to own their products and be part of the cool and fashionable brand. Also Apple the brand is used as a status symbol for many looking to use their products to convey that they are winners in life and that they are stylish individuals and part of the movement.
Also by being able to form strong emotions within their consumers regarding their brand and consumers they create this bond which is hard to break and repeat purchase and brand loyalty is formed this way. One major finding was that although most Apple consumers love the brand and are fascinated with Apple they are not blind sighted they have not just brought into the brand but acknowledge the fact that their loyalty to Apple is heavily due to the fact that their products are the best on the market and are consistently evolving and bettering from edition to edition and this consistency is one of the major reasons to the creation of Apple’s fanboys. 4. 6 RESEARCH POTENTIAL
Leading on from this study further research can be carried out to evaluate the relationship between the finding of this research and gender, as most of the respondents where male there may be a pattern that can be looked further into perhaps a study on solely male and female respondents to see any differences and similarities to the results of this study. Also after evaluation of Apple’s marketing strategy it may be interesting to look at Apple’s competitors strategies to determine the differences and what the implications of these are in relation to their performance versus Apple. REFERENCES Apple Inc. , (2012). Apple Reports Fourth Quarter Results. Available: http://www. apple. com/pr/library/2012/10/25Apple-Reports-Fourth-Quarter-Results. html.
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Goldrick, P & Davies, G (Eds) (1995), “International retailing: Trendsand Strategies”, Pitman Publishing Poeter, D 2012, ‘Infographic: I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for iPads’, PC Magazine, p. 1, Business Source Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 24 February 2013. Sahoo, D 2012, ‘Strategic Change of Campaign at Apple Inc’, Vidwat: The Indian Journal Of Management, 5, 2, pp. 38-48, Business Source Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 24 February 2013. Saunders, M. , Lowis, P. , Thornhill, A. (2009). Research Methods for Business Students. London: Pearson Education Limited Tracking Back-Talk in Consumer-Generated Advertising’ 2011, Journal Of Advertising Research, 51, 1, pp. 24-238, Business Source Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 24 February 2013 APPENDIX 1 Thank you for agreeing to take part in this short survey. Please only circle ONE answer. Your name, age and gender are used only for analytical purposes and will not be shared on an individual basis. Name: Age: Gender: Q1: Out of these electronic brands, which are you most interested in purchasing from? A. Samsung B. Apple C. Phillips D. Sony E. Other Q2. Which of these brands do you consider “high quality”? A. Samsung B. Apple C. Phillips D. Sony E. Other Q3. If you were given an unlimited budget, which of these brands would you consider purchasing? A. Samsung B. Apple C. Phillips D. Sony E. Other
Q4. How many Apple products do you own? (Computers, Laptops, tablets, mp3/4 players etc. ) A. One B. Two C. Three or more D. None Q5. What, do you think, sets Apple aside from competitors? A. Price B. Quality C. Design D. Innovation E. Brand image F. All of the above Q6. When you think about apple as a brand what words comes to mind? The next 6 questions are only applicable if you OWN APPLE PRODUCTS. These will assess your feelings towards certain products. Please answer as truthfully as possible. Place an appropriate tick in the box. If you do not own Apple products, please skip to question 9. Q7. Your emotions towards your Apple products Agree| Strongly agree| Disagree| Strongly disagree| Neither agree nor disagree| Loved| | | | | | Attached| | | | | | Connected| | | | | | Friendly| | | | | | Proud| | | | | | Q8. How much do you agree with these statements? | Agree| Strongly agree| Disagree| Strongly disagree| Neither agree nor disagree| My Apple products reflect who I am| | | | | | I can identify with the Apple products I own | | | | | | I buy Apple products because I enjoy using them| | | | | | I have brought an Apple product based on someone else’s recommendations| | | | | | I have confidence in the Apple brand| | | | | | I am familiar with the Apple brand | | | | | |
I have brought Apple products because of an advertisement I have seen| | | | | | Q9. How many apple products have you owned and which ones? If multiple what has lead you to repeat purchase from apple? Q10. Do you consider yourself brand loyal to apple? If so why are you? Q11. What do apple’s advertisements make you think about their brand/products? Q12. Do their advertisements affect your reasons for purchasing their products? If so why? Please only answer the following 2 questions if you DO NOT own Apple products. Q13. I have chosen not to purchase Apple products because of; A. Price B. Quality C. Design D. Features E. Do not know of Apple products Q14.
How far do you agree with these statements? | Agree| Strongly agree| Disagree| Strongly disagree| Neither agree nor disagree| Apple products are not worth the price they are sold at| | | | | | I am not interested in electronic purchases| | | | | | I buy electronic products only because I have to (i. e not for enjoyment)| | | | | | Using an Apple product does not bother me| | | | | | I prefer using another companies electronic products more than I would enjoy using Apple’s| | | | | | I have not bought an Apple product based on someone else’s recommendation| | | | | | Thank you for completing this survey, your participation is much appreciated.