Part One - Product Selection, Mapping and Consumer Segmentation for the Apple iPhone and Selected Competitors
This section will examine how a chosen product, Apple iPhone, is positioned against three selected competitors in the smartphone market. A smartphone can be defined as a small, 'all-in-one' mobile device that enables users to customize the applications they use for communication, entertainment and computing (TopBits.com, 2010).
The global market for smartphones is expected to grow from 170 million units in 2009 to 500 million units in 2012. Despite the global economic downturn, and falling sales of mobile phones generally, consumers still seem to be prepared to spend money on the latest, feature-packed smartphones, which are forecast to account for 29% of all mobile phone sales by 2012 (Reuters UK, 2009).
The relative market positioning of the Apple iPhone and the three selected smartphone competitors will be examined in terms of both certain product attributes and price. This report will also explore how each product's target consumers are segmented. It will then go on to look at the marketing communications activity deployed by each product. This will include the communications channels used and the creative execution of the message.
2.0 Chosen product and Selected Competitors
The table on the following page shows a summary of the chosen product and its three selected competitors:
3.0 Consumer Segmentation
Consumer, or market, segmentation is a tool used by marketers to aid the understanding of the nature and characteristics of the target audiences for a particular product or service. The modern concept of market segmentation was put forward by Phillip Kotler, who states that market segmentation is the 'sub dividing of a market into homogenous subsets of customers, where any subset may be conceivably be selected as a market target to be reached with a distinct marketing mix' (Kotler, P., 1972, p166)
Thus the segmentation of consumer markets involves the division of a market into subsets of consumers who live in a particular place and have particular life stage, lifestyle and behavioural characteristics.
Demographics are the most used method for segmenting consumer markets. This is because they often have a strong relationship with product or service demand and they are relatively easy to measure. Some of the typical characteristics applied to this type of segmentation are:
Age groupings, gender, family size, income levels, and educational standard achieved.
Psychographics divides consumers into different groups based on their lifestyle and personality characteristics. It should be remembered that people in the same demographic group can have different psychographic characteristics.
3.3 Behavioural Segmentation
Behavioural segmentation divides buyers into groups based on their cultural and social background and their knowledge, attitudes, learning styles and perception (Cohen, J.B. 1991).
4.0 Positioning Maps
Positioning maps are a useful marketing tool that enable an organisation to plot how a product or service is positioned against its competitors across a broad range of criteria. A product positioning map functions by plotting the position of the selected products against two or more pre-defined criteria. Positioning maps can be based on actual criteria, such as product attributes and price, as well as consumer perceived variables, such as value and image. The concept of competitive positioning as an aggregate perception of a product's target audience was first introduced by Al Ries and Jack Trout (1986).
4.1 Product Attributes
The key selection criteria for a smartphone product purchase are screen size and display resolution (buzzle.com, 2010). The table on the following page shows the product attributes of screen size and display resolution for the four selected products, followed by a positioning map.
4.2 Price and Perceived Value
Prices for the selected products vary enormously and are largely dependent on contract type and duration. Also, all products are available free with certain contracts.
4.3 Target Audiences
Smartphone products all target similar demographic audiences. The audience is basically men and women who are technology aware. The nature of the target audience is borne out in the advertising strategy for each brand which is dominated by television, whose broad demographic profile matches that of smartphones. However, an alternative segmentation, based on psychographic segmentation of the audience is proposed as follows (Mace, M. 2007):
Communication-centric users love to communicate and are willing to pay extra for almost any features that will help them interact with others.
Information-centric users are more interested in information access and exchange rather than simply just communication. They are often found in jobs such as medicine, law, engineering, academia and research.
Entertainment-centric users are more likely than the others to be young and they view the smartphone as an entertainment-based, lifestyle device.
4.4 Marketing Communications Channels
The table and the positioning maps below detail the primary marketing communications channels deployed by the four products together with creative execution examples (where available). There is no quantifiable data available on the actual volumes/ levels of spend.
Ahmed, M., 2008. 'BlackBerry Storm battles with the iPhone' < http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/article5155179.ece>. Accessed 16.02.10
apple.com, 2010. < http://www.apple.com/iphone/specs.html>. Accessed 15.02.10
appleinsider.com, 2007. 'A last-minute analysis of the iPhone's most eager buyers confirms stereotypes of successful younger men as its target market'.
blackberry.com, 2010 < http://uk.blackberry.com/devices/blackberrystorm/?CPID=KNC-SEMD_rimggl89200000010212s&HBX_PK=rimggl89200000010212s&>. Accessed 15.02.10
buzzle.com, 2010. 'The Need for a Smartphone'. < http://www.buzzle.com/articles/the-need-for-a-smartphone.html>. Accessed 15.02.10
Cassidy, A, 2009. 'Starcom nets global BlackBerry account'. < http://www.campaignlive.co.uk/news/884306/Starcom-nets-global-BlackBerry-account/>. Accessed 15.02.10
Cohen, J.B. 1991. Adapted and extracted from 'Affect and Consumer Behaviour' - 'Handbook of Consumer Behaviour' pages 188-240.
iphone fans forum, 2006. 'iPhone Marketing Plan'. < http://www.iphonefans.com/general-iphone-discussion/268-iphone-marketing-plan.htm>.Accessed 15.02.10
Kotler, P., 1972. 'Marketing Management'. Second Edition. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, Prentice-Hall, Inc., page 166.
lge.com, 2010 < http://www.lge.com/products/model/detail/kf900.jhtml>. Accessed 15.02.10
Mace, M. 2007. 'Segmenting Mobile Data: The Myth of the Smartphone Market'. < http://www.marshall.usc.edu/assets/006/5567.pdf>. Pages 7 to 9. Accessed 16.02.10
Ramsey, F., 2009. 'LG and CNN promote Prada phone launch with the Oscars'
Reuters UK, 2009. 'Samsung display unit sees robust smartphone growth'. < http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE53I03V20090419>. Accessed 15.02.10
Ries, A., and Trout, J., 1986, 'Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind'. New York: Warner Books
reviewcentre.com < http://www.reviewcentre.com/reviews117536.html>. Accessed 16.02.10
samsungmobile. co.uk, 2010. < http://www.samsungmobile.co.uk/mobile/SGH-F700>. Accessed 15.02.10
TopBits.com, 2010. 'Smartphone' < http://www.topbits.com/smartphone.html>. Accessed 15.02.10