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Introduction

One of the major objectives of the firm is to create and sustain the competitiveness of its products and services in the market (Cole, 2013). In fact, becoming a leader in the market niche requires ingenuity in the tactical approaches the firm applies. In most cases, firms utilize various marketing mix approaches to penetrate and sustain their competitiveness in the market.

In other words, the type of marketing mix tactic the firm utilizes determines its success in the market niche (Kotler & Keller, 2012). The paper will be examining the similarities and differences of the promotional strategies applied by two firms competing in the smartphone market. In this case, the two firms under scrutiny are Apple and Samsung. While Apple is the leading firm in the smartphone market, Samsung is the closest competitor.

The Promotional Strategies Used by Apple and Samsung

While both firms produce and distribute similar products in terms of Smartphones, they employ different marketing strategies to reach out to the customers. In other words, the two firms have to employ different marketing strategies to differentiate their products into the market.

However, both firms utilize various media channels to promote their products. Variations in the promotional strategies are critical in the development and creation of brand awareness as well as product differentiation (Kotler & Keller, 2012).

Apple’s promotional marketing mix strategies include advertising, public relations, and sales promotions. In other words, Apple is using innovative advertising to attract and inform its customers about Smartphones both in mass and digital media.

Besides, the firm utilizes public relations as one of the promotional strategies. Essentially, Apple uses its corporate social responsibility to appeal to many people as a method of maintaining public relations. The success of the firm on public relations improves goodwill and attracts public attention. Further, Apple provides special offers as a good way to stimulate and retain its customer’s loyalty.

Similarly, Samsung spread information concerning its Smartphones to target customers through the application of both digital and mass media. For instance, the firm has currently invested heavily in the advertisement for its new model series of Smartphones.

Most industry players consider the mode of advertising employed by the firm as unique, penetrating, and attractive. In terms of public relations, the firm differs from its closest rival in the smartphone market. While Apple utilizes Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategies to promote its products, Samsung is utilizing sponsorship programs to create good relations with the public.

How Apple can utilize Market Information to differentiate its Products

Firms have to create good relations with customers in order to understand and satisfy their needs (Nijssen & Ruud, 2000). The capability of identifying the needs of customers is a critical competitive advantage to the firm (Cole, 2013).

Essentially, understanding the needs of customers originate from market information. Market information can be used to create products that are highly valued by the customers (Cole, 2013). In fact, firms should use market information to create highly competitive products.

One of the ways through which the firm can increase its competitive advantage is by utilizing the market information to create quality products that are highly valued by the clients (Kerin, Hartley & Rudelius, 2011). As such, Apple should utilize the market information to identify features that customer value in Smartphones.

Such information is critical in creating the valued products that create additional competitive advantage. In other words, Apple should utilize market information to create Smartphones with features that add value to the client. The features should differentiate the firm’s Smartphones from the competitors.

In addition, Apple should utilize market information to create new Smartphones with increased quality and with unique features, which are highly valued by the target market. Market information should be utilized to bring into the products rare features that cannot be easily substituted or imitated by the competitors.

In essence, the firm should utilize its technological prowess and market information to create products that are highly valued, with rare features, inimitable, and non-substitutable to differentiate the product from the competitors. Such capabilities would increase their competitive advantage.

Generally, most firms in the industry are producing and distributing similar products. As such, the product differentiation strategy that targets quality and unique features would be critical in attracting the target clients (Armstrong & Kotler, 2011).

Market information is critical in establishing what the client need and value. The market information is used to create products with differentiated value, which in turn increases the competitive advantage to the firm (Armstrong & Kotler, 2011).

Consumer-oriented Promotions that Apple can utilize for Short-term and Long-term Strategies

Consumer-oriented strategies are normally applied to pull the target clients in buying the products (Solomon, 2012). One of the consumer-oriented promotional strategies that Apple can utilize is the direct mailing with bounce coupons. The main objective of this strategy is to increase the customer base through free offerings and rewards for loyalty.

Essentially, the strategy can be used for long-term attraction and sustenance of customers. Sustaining customer loyalty is critical for the success of the firm. In fact, offering products at discounted prices to loyal and new customers is critical for attraction and sustenance of the customer base, which is essential for the long-term benefit. Besides, the tool is effective since the firm is already established in the market. Therefore, offering discounted prices would be critical in attracting and sustaining customers.

The other consumer-oriented strategy is the use of samples. Products such as Smartphones need to be tested using samples. Samples can be used to create brand awareness as well as gather information, which could be used to improve the product (Kerin et al., 2011). Product samples can be offered at extremely low prices or freely in order to increase brand awareness and attract target clients.

The Manner in which Apple Makes its Pricing Decisions

Apple Inc.’s pricing decisions revolve around cost objectives that are anchored on the value of the product. In other words, the firm emphasizes the provision of high-quality products.

For instance, Apple is dedicated to providing quality Smartphones, which can be used effortlessly by the customers in accessing the internet, watching movies as well as reading books from any location (Armstrong & Kotler, 2011). In fact, the pricing objective is to ensure that the cost of the product reflects its quality. The pricing strategy will go a long way in attracting and retaining the esteemed clients.

Besides, the firm aims to maximize sales and proceeds by offering superior prices. Superior prices can only be attained through the exploitation of available prospects in the market. In addition, the firm aims to procure paybacks emanating from increased sales and amplified returns by charging higher prices. Besides, the firm’s pricing objective is anchored on warding off competition through price leadership capabilities in the Smartphone market.

Based on the pricing objectives, the firm utilizes price inducements and establishes higher reference prices for competitors. Additionally, the corporation bundles the price components making its products look cheaper but of high quality.

In fact, through the utilization of price inducements capabilities, Apple comes up with price points that make its Smartphones look superior. In fact, using price decoys, Apple often offers Smartphones in series according to prices. Second, the firm is capable of setting high reference prices that the competitor cannot achieve.

However, after the launch of the product, the prices are moderated to reflect the decreased value of the product. In principle, Apple utilizes a first-iteration pricing strategy to portray the product to be having high value and within the consumers’ means.

Third, Apple normally disguises the reference prices from the consumers. In other words, the firm makes all its products unique. As such, they are comparing the prices of the products becomes difficult. Lastly, the firm also bundles the price components of the product. Based on this pricing strategy and for every Smartphone purchased from Apple, clients spend more on the gadget downstream in terms of additional values.

Actions Other Firms can utilize to Differentiate and Gain Competitive Edge

Apple faces competition from various corporations, including Samsung, in the Smartphone market. In order to single out their products and gain a competitive edge in the Smartphone market, the competitors have to utilize various strategies that would make their products appealing to the target clientele (Armstrong & Kotler, 2011).

One of the strategies is the transfer and sharing of technology through the formation of strategic alliances. Principally, through tactical conglomerates that increase the possibility of sharing technological know-how, firms in the industry have been able to come up with inventive and differentiated products. Besides, the strategic alliance has enabled firms to regain leadership status in the smartphone market.

Further, firms should produce various gadgets that suit the specifications of every segment of clients as well as increasing the brand’s awareness. For instance, Samsung’s products have varying prices to meet the needs of consumers. The varied prices offer consumers a wide range of choices critical in purchasing decisions. Additionally, Samsung launched into the market Smartphones with higher quality compared with rival Apple’s Smartphones.

On the same note, increasing Samsung’s brand awareness has enabled the firm to regain its position in the Smartphone market. Moreover, Samsung offers Smartphones with increased quality and with unique features that enable clients to have increased experience in the use of the products. Such actions are critical in enhancing the firms’ competitive edge over Apple.

Generally, huge capital ventures, as well as high sunk, outlays, create a huge barrier from entering into the industry. In other words, entering competitors in the smartphone market is dissuaded.

Since Apple has already established itself in the Smartphones market, other companies dealing in similar products can only resort to strategic alliances along with enhancing trademark awareness to gain an increased competitive edge. Additionally, through such partnerships, the competing firms are capable of developing novel and innovative products that outperform Apple’s gadgets.

Most Effective Advertising Medium for Apple

Advertising is one of the promotional tools used by Apple to increase brand awareness of its products. Besides, advertising is a strong promotional tool since it targets a larger audience. Moreover, advertising is majorly used to create brand awareness as well as the perceived value of the products (Solomon, 2012). Essentially, firms utilize various channels to advertise their products.

However, the choice of medium depends on the target market and how frequent the channel is used by the audience (Kerin et al., 2011). In the smartphone market, the majority of the target clientele are utilizing the internet in their daily routine. Therefore, online is one of the most effective advertising channels for Apple.

Besides, statistics indicate increased use of social networking channels among the younger generation, which forms the bulk of Apple’s smartphone market. As such, the firm should advertise its products through online mediums, including YouTube and social networking channels such as Facebook and Twitter. The reason is that the majority of the target audience currently uses online channels.

Conclusion

Firms utilize various advertising and promotional strategies in order to be successful and remain competitive in the market. In a highly competitive market, differentiation remains a critical strategy in gaining and sustaining a competitive advantage.

In other words, firms competing in the smartphone market utilize various methods to create product differentiation in order to increase and sustain their competitive advantage. While most firms would increase the quality of product offerings, price differentiation plays a significant role in the attraction and maintenance of the target clients.

Moreover, increasing product awareness through advertising and other promotional strategies plays a significant role in augmenting the competitiveness of the firms in the market. Therefore, promotional strategies applied by the firm remain significant in creating and sustaining the competitive advantage.

References

Armstrong, G. & Kotler, P. (2011). Marketing: An introduction. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Cole, A. (2013). The implications of consumer behavior for marketing: A case study of social class. Munich: GRIN Verlag.

Kerin, R. A., Hartley, S. W. & Rudelius, W. (2011). Marketing. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Irwin.

Kotler, P. & Keller, K. L. (2012). Marketing management. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Nijssen, E. & Ruud, F. (2000). Creating customer value through strategic marketing planning: a management approach. New York: Springer.

Solomon, M. R. (2012). Consumer behavoir; Buying, having, and being. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.