If branding is strategic, marketing is tactical and as the experts say it is a creative exercise in which you would position your brand in a competitive marketplace. It is an extension of your branding campaign where you would communicate all that your brand stands for vis-à-vis brand identity, positioning, differentiation, trust etc. to the customers. While there are dozens of marketing functions that have so far been identified and defined by experts here we take a look at the five core marketing functions and see how Apple Inc. has nicely crafted them –
- Market Research– Every business has its own way of doing market research. While some do it to identify opportunities in the market a brand like Apple creates its own opportunities and then refines its products. It collects regular feedback from its users to bring about changes and modifications in the products that allow it to retain its cult image in the market.
- Financing– It is often said you need to spend money to make money or in other words find funds to run aggressive marketing campaigns. While Apple doesn’t need to chase investors anymore, in its early days it raised money from investors such as Mike Markkula to run its campaigns.
- Pricing– While for most businesses pricing is about keeping it at the lowest level thus offering ‘value for money’ to customers, Apple does it the other way. All its products are priced premium thus catering to the top of the pyramid. Its sells ‘value’ in terms of quality rather than price. In fact under cutting competition by lowering price has killed many brands as it never allows them to break even, a risky strategy that Apple never tried.
- Distribution– In a competitive market even the best brands can’t survive without a great distribution model. “Where do I buy the product?” is one question that is there in mind of all customers. Though Apple controlled its entire distribution in the early days it soon realized that exclusive Apple Stores won’t be able to keep up with demands. Thus it added channel partners such as AT&T, Wal-Mart and various other telecom carriers in different parts of the world to maximize its reach.
- Promotion– How products are promoted often defines their success in the market. Apple uses different channels to promote its products and these include web, TV and print. It comes out aggressive print and TV commercials with every product launch to create awareness and desire among its target audience. It follows this up with a sustained digital marketing campaign that always keeps these products in front of the customers’ eyes.