After going over the data, it becomes immediately apparent that the primary issue of Apple within present day markets is the sheer level of market saturation that has occurred. Simply put, there are a plethora of competitors, each with their own tablet offerings, that eat away at the market share of the company. First and foremost, it is important to note that since Apple primarily focuses on middle to upper class consumers for its product offerings, this severely limits the capacity of the company to address the demand for tablets from working class consumers.
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This where other companies such as Toshiba, HP and Samsung enter into the picture and offer lower priced tablet options utilizing the Android operating system. In fact, this trend of catering to the working class is not isolated to large companies; smaller firms such as Polaroid have actually managed to source their own tablets from third party manufacturers in China which enables them to sell functional tablets under the Polaroid brand for a fraction of the cost of the average iPad.
Unfortunately, Apple cannot cater to the working class market without compromising on the quality of the products that it is known for. Features such as the Retina display, iCloud, and intuitive file management make the iPad an exemplary product that is leagues ahead of the current offerings by smaller firms and is still better than tablets being sold by leading manufacturers such as Samsung or HP. The end result is the development of a conundrum since in order to stay relevant Apple needs to be able to penetrate new markets, however, the most obvious market to penetrate (i.e. the working class market) requires it to have a product offering that compromises on quality, an aspect of product development that Apple is unwilling to do.
With the future release of the iPad 4, it is unlikely that the product would appeal to the working class population given the high price range on the product. It is based on this that a new marketing strategy needs to be developed that focuses on penetrating a new market that has otherwise been neglected. By doing so, this will help to supplement the main marketing strategy of the company that focuses on the middle and upper class.
The primary goal of this marketing plan is to find a new market for the iPad 4. This market must be large enough to sustain a significant amount of sales while at the same time viable enough for other aspects of the company’s services (i.e. iTunes sales).
The first objective is to create a marketing initiative that would suit the new target market.
The second objective focuses on creating long term income streams from the sale of the iPad 4 in this new market via the iTunes services resulting in higher profits for the company in the long term.
Target Market Definition
Based on an evaluation of possible potential markets for the iPad 4, it was determined that marketing the device to private schools in the U.S. would be a viable option given its potential as an educational tool. First, it is important to note that based on statistical data from 2012, there are currently 30,861 private schools within the U.S. (which constitute 24 percent of all schools within the United States) with roughly 5,268,000 students enrolled from kindergarten till grade 12 (constituting 10% of all students within the United States).
This is a significant consumer base that Apple can focus on especially when taking into consideration the fact that Apple can negotiate with the schools to provide iPad 4s at a slightly discounted rate and have the price included into the tuition fees of the students. Lately, the iPad has been gaining a significant amount of momentum in the U.S. as an additional teaching tool within various kindergartens and higher grade classrooms (Lynch & Redpath, 2014). As various school districts and teachers have noted, students are able to relate better with technology driven lessons as compared to traditional methods of teaching.
This is evidenced by numerous studies that compared teaching utilizing traditional means with that of technology utilization (Lynch & Redpath, 2014). These studies utilized computer programs that turned ordinary lessons into games enabling students to learn in a “fun” way. This created higher levels of student interest which actually resulted in greater lesson retention and even curiosity regarding new lessons that were to be presented, a factor rarely seen in the traditional method of teaching (Lynch & Redpath, 2014).
Taking this into consideration, it can be seen that there is a demand within schools to create technology driven lesson that entice children to learn. However, since it is unlikely that public schools would be able to afford giving an iPad 4 to each student, focusing on private schools that have higher tuition fees and more affluent parents from the middle and upper class results in a greater likelihood of product adoption in light of the benefits it has towards educating students.
Other factors that would benefit private schools if they choose Apple as their primary tablet provider focuses on the quality of the product when compared to other suppliers within the market. Simply put, iPads are more lightweight and aesthetically pleasing as compared to other offerings and the Retina displays on the newer models ensures that the quality of the images that will appear on the screens of the students will be superb. Not only that, there is also the Apple brand name to take into consideration since the company is known for creating good products.
Thus, from a value based perspective, the private schools targeted by this paper would think that they are getting the best deal for their money especially when taking into consideration the well established Apple App store that has thousands of possible applications that each individual private school can examine to determine which one would work for them. Aside from this, the development platform surrounding the IOS system inherent in the iPad has a considerable number of developers that the private schools can approach that can help in designing custom applications for the devices to suit the needs of the students.
The leading proponent in this argument for the adoption of the iPad as a teaching mechanism for private schools is the versatility of the device since there are literally thousands of apps being created with a large percentage being devoted towards education. With the use of the iPad 4, educators would find themselves with the opportunity to utilize a powerful and versatile tool that could literally have thousands of potential education based uses.
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As educators have noted, various software companies have changed their operational structures to incorporate the new market for Apps (Applications) and, as such, development for apps related to interactive educational programs have risen as well (Mautone, 2013). Various apps ranging from kindergarten based spelling and word association to advanced math formulas and problems have been appearing on the market in order to cater to the growing demand for education based applications.
Taking this into consideration, it can be seen that marketing the iPad to private schools has the added benefit of generating additional income for Apple via applications sales through its iTunes service. It should be noted that aside from applications, the iTunes store also has a wide array of school textbooks available (Asher-Schapiro & Hermeling, 2013). The advantage of eBooks over actual textbooks is the fact that supplies will never run out, they can be gained almost instantaneously, they are cheaper as compared to regular books and with the iPad’s large screen reading them has never been easier (Rivero, 2013).
It must be noted that the use of eBooks has, as of late, been gaining rapid popularity with various textbook publishers opting to place a large percentage of their current lineup of classroom textbooks in eBook formats. As such, it can be seen that the reason the target market would adopt the presented strategic initiative is because it not only makes it more convenient for students to bring around their textbooks but it also increases their interest towards learning via the various education based apps that can be used by the private schools to teach them. The increased level of interest in learning would directly translate into better overall test scores which would enable the private schools to justify the cost of the high tuition fees that they charge parents (Powell, 2014).
The key proposition of the strategy and its activities focuses on the iPad being an ideal tool for education. It is based on this that the promotional activities centered on enticing private schools to purchase iPads for their students will focus on showing how the device can be used in conjunction with present day lessons at the schools to create a better environment for learning and teaching.
The primary information and support material that is needed to be available to the private schools when making the sales pitch come in the form of relevant academic data that showcases that educational benefits connected to the iPad when it comes to improving the interest of students in their educational curriculum. Such data would show the schools that by introducing the iPad as a tool in their educational curriculum, not only would they make the students more interested in studying, this would greatly improve their test scores and actually enhance the effectiveness of teachers when it comes to the lessons that they teach.
In fact, Apple could commission a sample program that would be included in each iPad that would enable teachers to assign homework to students just by pressing a button. The students would then take their homework with them, answer it at home and press a “submit” button for it to be automatically sent to their teacher. The program would then automatically check the homework of the student and inform the teacher of the scores and the relative progress of the student when it came to improving their skills in that particular type of subject.
By presenting this as a means of increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of teachers within the school, Apple would be able to create a unique selling point showing that not only would the iPad 4 make it easier for students to learn, it would also make it far easier for teachers to teach and monitor the progress of students utilizing concrete quantitative data. This becomes one of the selling points of the sales agreement between Apple and the private schools and it is likely to convince the latter of the necessity of such a device when it comes to taking their current method of teaching to the “next level” so to speak.
The primary method of communication between Apple and the private schools takes the form of normal B2B (Business to Business) communication wherein the company will approach the individual private schools by making an appointment with the respective principals of each school and pitching the iPad 4 as a great new teaching tool that the schools can utilize. In order to “flesh out the details” so to speak of the supply agreement, email and telephone conversations can be utilized in order to make sure each and every concern of the individual schools can be taken care of. It can be expected that if all the steps that have been stated so far are followed, Apple will be able to penetrate a new market segment and develop a considerable foothold resulting in it becoming the dominant supplier of tablets to the private schools of the U.S.
Asher-Schapiro, A., & Hermeling, A. (2013). Racing the iPad in K12 Education. District Administration, 49(4), 70.
Lynch, J., & Redpath, T. (2014). ‘Smart’ technologies in early years literacy education: A meta-narrative of paradigmatic tensions in iPad use in an Australian preparatory classroom. Journal Of Early Childhood Literacy, 14(2), 147-174.
Mautone, M. (2013). Integrating the iPad into the ASD Classroom. Education Digest, 79(4), 25.
Powell, S. (2014). Choosing iPad Apps With a Purpose: Aligning Skills and Standards. Teaching Exceptional Children, 47(1), 20-26.
Rivero, V. (2013). A New Mobile Approach to the Learning Space. InternetatSchools, 20(4), 12.