Marketing communications is the process of transmitting information about the brand, its products, and services to the target audience through different interaction channels. Marketing communications are aimed at increasing brand awareness, building relationships with the target audience, and strengthening the emotional connection. Marketing communications help form a positive brand image in the eyes of potential buyers. They allow to maintain close relationships with the audience and increase competitiveness. Apple actively uses various types of marketing communications, but still, through the introduction of some recommendations, it can increase the number of its customers.
Apple’s Marketing Communications
Marketing communications is understood as an element of the marketing system, which is aimed at informing customers about brands, products and firms that will help achieve business goals. These goals include communicating information about the company and its offers to the target audience, and stimulating purchases by the target audience in a specific place and at a particular time (Eagle et al., 2020). In addition, marketing communications contribute to the formation of loyalty of existing consumers to the company, its brands, and products and increase its awareness and outcomes among representatives of the target audience or the public.
To convey the right message to the target audience, put pressure on pain points, and evoke the necessary emotions, brands use different types of marketing communications in conjunction. Šerić, Ozretić-Došen and Škare (2020) state combining approaches and tools makes it possible to increase work efficiency. The Important elements of marketing communication are advertising, public relations, branding, sales promotion, sponsorship and others. Advertising is a paid type of marketing communication that involves attracting the audience’s attention and delivering messages through different communication channels (Dwivedi and McDonald, 2018). Direct marketing is aimed at transmitting information personally to the client. Companies use tools such as a chatbot in messengers, email newsletters, SMS, notifications, and others.
Public relations are an integral type of marketing communication to build a positive brand image, increase awareness and nurture brand advocates. Bilgin (2018) claims that mass media, social networks, event marketing, and other tools are used for public relations. Sponsorship provides an excellent opportunity to increase the target audience, raise awareness and launch word of mouth. To achieve their marketing goals, companies often become sponsors of workshops, conferences, contests, and other events. Branding is a type of marketing communication that aims to build a suitable associative series, strengthen the emotional connection with customers and transfer brand values (Heding, Knudtzen, and Bjerre, 2020). Branding is an integral part of positioning and helps customers recognize a trademark from hundreds of others thanks to corporate colors, logo, or product packaging design. To increase the demand for goods and services, companies use promotions, sales, contests, tastings at points of sale, distribution of leaflets, and others (Huang, 2017). Such methods help increase brand awareness, attract new customers, and increase profits.
The key parameters of the effectiveness of marketing communications have always caused heated debates in professional circles. This is because interaction with target audiences has several levels of influence. Accordingly, each of them brings its benefit to the company in achieving business goals, but their assessment does not always answer all the questions that the business wants to receive (Bilgin, 2018). The effectiveness of marketing communications can be divided into the following levels according to the object of influence on the result: economic value, communicative value, and behavioral value.
The economic efficiency of communications is determined by the ratio of the additional income received from a marketing campaign to the total costs made for its implementation. With all the advantages of this direction, which lies in the direct connection of converting the budget for marketing communications into income, the question remains, what value of the return on investment is considered acceptable. The communicative effectiveness of interaction gives an idea of how the broadcast messages are distributed among the target audience (Fernandes and Moreira, 2019). It is characterized by such factors as brand awareness, brand knowledge, perception, and understanding of the transmitted information. Unlike economic efficiency, communication is determined by quantitative and qualitative research methods before and after the campaign and sometimes even during its implementation. Behavioral effectiveness of communication demonstrates trust, commitment, acceptance, and sharing of values and includes the intention to make a purchase, the process itself, and the desire to make repeated purchases.
In the process of forming a brand communication strategy, it is necessary to understand that all marketing communication tools will be practical only if the system works in unison. A specialist will be required to monitor each message in such a way that the trademark works in the complex. Moreover, such components in marketing as product packaging, selection, and design of the place of sale or the point of contact of the brand with the consumer are of great importance. Van der Westhuizen (2018) states that the company must have its unique corporate style, which can be traced in the website’s design, pages on social networks, the appearance of the office, etc. In addition, image products are needed, namely branded calendars, diaries, pens, folders, packages, and more. The choice of specific tools and their combination depends on the goals set, the characteristics of the target audience, the type of product being promoted, and the budget.
Although all means of communication differ significantly from each other, in many ways, they are complementary. Thus, the question is not whether the company needs advertising and sales promotion but rather how to distribute the overall communication budget among various tools, considering the product’s characteristics and the chosen communication goals (Mabkhout, Shaari and Salleh, 2017). Any communication is an exchange of signals between the sender and the recipient and the use of an encoding and decoding system, thanks to which messages are created and interpreted.
The communication process has several elements that are interrelated and necessary to obtain information that the company will later use for subsequent marketing communication. The sender is the party sending the message to the other party. Encoding is transforming a message into images, language, signs, symbols, etc. A message contains information or a statement that the sender intends to convey to the recipient. Media is a communication channel through which a message is transmitted from the sender to the recipient (Kaur et al., 2020). Decoding is the procedure by which the recipient gives meaning to the shared characters. The recipient is the target audience, which responds with – a set of reactions of the recipient after reading the message. Feedback is a part of the target audience’s reaction, transmitted by the recipient to the sender.
These elements allow marketers to determine the conditions for effective communication. There are four main conditions, and they include communication goals, message creation, media planning, and communication effectiveness. Senders need to know which audiences they want to reach and what type of reaction to get. This involves choosing the target audience and setting specific communication goals. The creators of communication messages must have the skills to encode information and understand how messages are decoded by representatives of the target audience (Mabkhout, Shaari and Salleh, 2017). This involves the thoughtful development of advertising appeals and ensuring their proper processing by the target group to create the desired communication effect. The advertiser should study the audience’s reaction to his message and determine to what extent the communication goals have been achieved.
Apple is a well-known multinational corporation that sells its products mainly through retail stores and online stores. It is one of the most reliable companies for advanced personalized computers and intelligent devices, as many customers talk about (Ko, Costello and Taylor, 2019). Its difference from other companies is that it has strengthened its position in Apple by creating loyal customers, even with poor marketing tactics. Currently, Apple has a retail department that coordinates Apple stores worldwide. They have a single position of selling goods, a single goal, promotion, and advertising of their interests.
Now Apple company produces a variety of technical devices for people. For any sales field, a customer who wants to buy a company’s product is significant. Apple stores do not consider the primary purpose of selling many products. They strive to benefit the community, to give the feeling of an Apple product (Palmatier and Sridhar, 2021). Currently, in most developed and many developing countries, governments invest significant resources in the development of new technologies: nanotechnology, energy-saving technologies, transport, information, and communication technologies, which largely determine the path of the company’s growth.
Apple’s popularity is due to the successful marketing communication strategy developed by the company’s specialists. The company uses integrated marketing communication, which aims to get as many customers as possible to know about the company, which will lead to the achievement of another goal, namely, to increase sales. The company has created its website that shows customers the goods in an attractive light, as well as their detailed characteristics and prices. The company is also advertised through media such as television, magazines, and advertising banners and billboards. This strategy allows reaching a large audience since, in modern times, almost everyone has a smartphone with Internet access and a TV (Kaur et al., 2020). Promotion through fashion magazines with catchy advertising slogans also attracts consumers to purchase gadgets manufactured by Apple.
The company uses modern marketing communications methods, the use of which is necessary to track current trends and keep up with the times. Such strategies include advertising through social networks. The company uses Twitter and Facebook to keep in touch with the audience and communicate with people. Attractive images of the iPhone and branded software allow to demonstrate to consumers what awaits them with the release of new gadgets and enable them to answer users’ questions. This also increases their loyalty to the brand and encourages them to buy goods.
Apple actively uses direct marketing, which promotes the purchase of products. Marketers have a database of potential customers as well as those who have ever purchased brand products (Chen, Liu and Gong, 2021). Letters are sent to such clients with announcements of presentations of new products, as well as about new models of iPhones and other gadgets. The team that is engaged in direct marketing can speak different languages, which makes it possible to communicate with customers around the world. Another role of this team is to help consumers explain instructions for using brand products.
Sales promotion at Apple is implemented by sending advertising messages to consumers recommending the purchase of a new smartphone model. In addition, marketers offer various promotions and discounts on purchases, a money-back guarantee, and an increased warranty on the equipment. Furthermore, customers can visit the company’s branded stores, where they have the opportunity to test the products personally, get acquainted with them, and ask all the relevant questions to the consulting managers. Another way to stimulate sales is also carried out with the help of the proposed gadget insurance called Apple Care. In case of damage to the smartphone, the customer can return it to the store and get a new similar model.
Public relations is one of the marketing communication methods used by the company. Apple applies this strategy when it plans to release a new product. One of the most famous cases of public relations was the moment when the company released the iPhone 5, which raised a public outcry and stimulated sales. The company gave people the opportunity to sneak a look at the new gadget and aroused the interest of many consumers (Chen, Liu and Gong, 2021). In addition, the brand gave some information to bloggers and fashion magazines and thereby fueled interest and stimulated future sales.
According to the pyramid of Keller’s equity model, the company has its holistic structure based on consumers. Customers have their emotional perception of the goods and thoughts and feelings about them (Ogunnaike et al., 2017). The brand has achieved wide popularity among people and specific knowledge regarding its products. That is, people have an idea about the image of the company and the brand as a whole, which forms their loyalty and positive attitude to the products offered by the company. Customers know that the company produces high-quality, high-tech gadgets with a user-friendly interface and reliable software. Also, according to the brand resonance pyramid, the company corresponds to each of the four blocks that create this pyramid.
It is based on the association of the brand among customers with a high premium class of products that meet the needs of consumers. Further, there is a substantial consolidation of knowledge about Apple products and products in people’s minds (Chaffey and Smith, 2017). The third block is the presence of an inevitable reaction of people to the company’s gadgets, and often this reaction is positive, which encourages them to buy. The last block is transforming the company’s response to increase loyalty and attract new customers. If each block of the pyramid is present in the brand’s work, then success will also be achieved.
Apple uses many different marketing communication tools and applies modern marketing strategies that make it so famous and popular. Still, there are some recommendations that will help the company attract new customers and increase the interest of existing ones. The company can start its blog, which will be based on the stories of consumers who have been helped by its products in real life. People will send their own stories that describe a specific situation in which the brand’s products played an important role and how they positively impacted this situation. Such a blog can interest new customers and encourage existing ones to buy or update gadgets.
Another recommendation may be to conduct webinars on the company’s products as well as answers to consumer questions. In live broadcasts, the company’s specialists will talk about the features of products and software and how customers can use their gadgets more effectively. Probably, there are useful functions that people may not guess about but which are embedded in the company’s products, and through webinars, customers will be able to learn and improve their efficiency. Specialists will be from different departments, which will make it possible to get acquainted with every aspect of the products in detail and help increase the loyalty of existing and potential consumers.
In conclusion, Apple is one of the most popular manufacturers of gadgets and its software. An essential role in the formation of brand awareness was the active use of marketing communications. The company uses many tools to attract new customers and get the approval of existing ones. Undoubtedly, there are still undeveloped recommendations for companies that will also be able to increase the number of interested persons and increase financial indicators. Technologies are evolving, and as a result, new ways are emerging that the company can master in order to attract customers. Apple has already established a reputation and fame in the market of similar products. In addition, the company has developed a marketing department that monitors the appearance of new types of advertising and the creation of its promotion strategy.
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