It is amazing the buzz that some products generate. Every year at Christmas time there seems to be some must have product that all parents are scrambling to get their child. However, this sort of frenzy is nothing compared to that which accompanied the launch of Apple's iPad in 2010 (Waters). Now, the iPad2 is already on store shelves less than a year later, and though it has also been accompanied by some hype, it is not as great as last year's initial launch. People seem to satisfied with the product, but tablet-type products (such as PDAs) have been on the market for several years already. The question is, how can the iPad2 change the Canadian tablet market? Is there some type of marketing plan that can make this product really take the tablet market by storm? This paper will examine how the iPad was marketed, how it was initially received, what the competition has been for the product, and what markets are available for the iPad2 that can help it change the Canadian tablet market.
Some products do not need to be traditionally marketed, or at least it does not seem so. The iPad was so hyped because Apple gave some technology writers leaks into what they were trying to do. Also, Steve Jobs, the Apple CEO, kept fueling the fires of speculation by making mysterious remarks regarding the product. He would never say exactly what it was, but he would hint that the product would revolutionize the industry. His predictions seem to have come true as Apple created a product that the rest of the world is now trying to emulate.
But, the seeming non-marketing that Apple did for the original version was actually a brilliant marketing ploy on their part. The makers of the original product realized that they needed market share. The operating system that Apple computers uses is superior to Microsoft's Windows, and most experts would agree to that (Bradley). It is a platform that was built to operate as a graphical user interface from the first, unlike Microsoft's much more clunky design which is prone to error. However, even though this is known, so many people are already dedicated to and understand how to use the Windows operating system, that Apple has never been able to successfully market their Mac OS system. The market share for Windows is currently 16 times that of the Mac OS (Bradley). It is difficult to find a market for a product when, even though most people realize it is better, they choose to use a similar one because it is familiar. This is the problem for a smaller company like Apple. Although they have been able to market some products very successfully, they do not have the name recognition for its operating system, and thus its desktop and laptop computers, that Microsoft has with Windows. This is the brand name paradox that companies run into. As Marconi (2000, 3) says "people are preconditioned to believe that an item with a Nike, DKNY, Mercedes-Benz, or Polo insignia identifies them as being of a particular, very discriminating class." Thus the problem that apple has had in marketing its computers has been that people are unfamiliar with the operating system and they prefer the brand that they have become accustomed to.
So, when Apple started to market for the iPad about two years ago (Waters). They knew that they would have to employ and entirely new strategy. They used the same type of brand marketing that Microsoft and others used by making their brand stronger. The first step in this process was to retain the services of the man who first built Apple, Steve Jobs. The innovation that Jobs was able to bring to the company reinvented the brand. Jobs decided that what Apple needed to do was to exploit certain niches in the computing world. The company had to build products that caught the imaginations of the consumers in a way that had not been done before. He first launched products such as the iPhone and iTunes. He worked the company into as many niches as possible through innovative products that caught the imagination of consumers young and old. He made the products the standard that others would have to catch up to. This same thinking was used when the iPad was being thought of. It was a niche that he created and wanted to exploit.
Niche marketing is a way that a company can specialize and grow through finding new markets. In his book on the subject, Dalgic (2006, 4) says;
"Companies which want to survive, grow, and be profitable may be forced to find markets which have: sufficient size profitable; no real competitors, or markets which have been ignored by other companies; growth potential; sufficient purchasing ability; need for special treatment; customer goodwill, and; opportunities for an entrance company to exercise its superior competence."
Although Apple is not a new company by any means, they had become like one because they controlled so little of the computing market. Apple executives had to develop the niches that they would exploit as if they were a new company just entering the market. They also had to determine new ways to market their products which would be as successful as the campaigns they used when the company first started up.
One of the first things Jobs did was to invest some time and effort by conducting focus groups regarding what people really wanted to see from new technology (Dalgic 12). In this way, the company discovered some ideas that people may have considered impossible and just dismissed before, but Jobs was intent on finding the niches and marketing products that would fill them. This has culminated in the iPad series.
By determining that there was a need for a computer which acted in much the same way as a cell phone did on a larger scale, Apple was able to build something that most people did not even realize they needed until the company debuted it. The product was well received because at every opportunity Jobs talked about what his company was going to be doing. People who had enjoyed the new type of phone, music player and other innovations from Apple research and development, wanted more. Therefore, even before people knew what the new product was going to be they wanted one (Kuhlman). Apple marketed this product the same way that they had other new products before it. The company called a large meeting at which Steve Jobs was to speak. At the meeting were many of the major news networks who were invited to see what was new at Apple. Since the CEO was always announcing a new product the news services always came to broadcast what Jobs said.
For over two years before the actual launch of the iPad, Jobs talked about an iPhone-like product that would be able to use all of the applications that the iPhone did, but it would also have the power and ability of a laptop. Thus, when the iPad actually debuted in 2010, very little further marketing expense was required because it was already so anticipated that people went to the stores in droves to get one.
After Apple introduced the iPad, a large number of competitors emerged. Whenever a new niche is discovered, the imitators quickly follow. With the iPhone it was the Android and others. When the iPad was first brought onto the market many other companies announced that they would soon have their own versions. One of the problems that Apple had with many of the i-products was that they priced some consumers out of the market. Thus, many of the competitors found ways to reduce the costs of their products so that all consumers could have an iPad-like device. Of course, reviews continued to say that Apple had the better product, but that did not matter to consumers who wanted to have a tablet device but could not afford the price that Apple was asking. Apple has had to price much of the merchandise higher than competitors n the past because of extra research and development costs and a better product (Waters). So, Apple did not give into the price marketing of its competitors and continued to state that they had the best product on the market.
Apple also realized that there would be elements of the new product that did not meet all of the customer demands. Some thought that the iPad was too slow in reacting, others that the camera was not positioned correctly, and still other consumers believed that one or more of the competitors offered something that the iPad did not. One element of the Apple marketing approach was to be the company that people associated with innovation. Thus, when reports started coming in about problems with the original iPad, Apple realized that they needed to make some changes that would satisfy…