A marketing audit is one of the most important parts of a management review since it plays a crucial role in the marketing planning process. It covers three areas, internal, micro, and macro environment whereby each category plays a critical role in understanding current and future changes regarding the marketing process (Baker 2014, p. 127). According to Westwood (2016, p. 74), marketing audit is a periodic, comprehensive, independent, and systematic analysis of an organization’s marketing strategies, objectives, and environment. The rationale of a marketing audit is to help a company identify opportunities and challenges that might affect the marketing process, and come up with suitable recommendations to resolve identified weakness to improve marketing performance. This essay seeks to discuss the marketing audit of Apple Inc.
There are two components of a situational analysis: a marketing audit and SWOT analysis. Under the Marketing Audit, an organization must conduct internal, external, market and competitive analysis. However, under the SWOT analysis, a manager must comprehend the strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats of an organization.
An internal review refers to the internal environment of an organization itself (Baker 2014, p. 130). Therefore, when conducting a marketing audit, it is imperative to understand the inward views of activities that should be undertaken in the company to ensure the success of a marketing audit. Thus, Apple Inc, managers need to consider organization mission, vision, goals, and objective among others in the internal environment analysis to undertake a successful marketing audit for its products.
One of the goals of Apple Inc is producing remarkable and innovative products that will give the target customer great value rather than a focus on gaining high profits (Company Overview n.d). Unlike other firms that are driven by money, Apple Inc goal is to make innovative products, and in return, the company invests in making the customers satisfied by making the most competitive products and services. More so, Apple seeks to increase its revenue by adding new markets. Besides, Apple Inc aims at increasing the annual sales of some of its leading products (Chazin 2013, p. 5).
Apple is one of the leading American manufacturers of digital devices, phones, and personal computers in America. Since its inception in 1976, the company has been on the forefront producing remarkable technological innovations, which has continued to market Apple Inc products across the world. The company focuses on providing the best and innovative products, and it heavily invests in research and development to create competitive products such as Mac, iPhone, iPod, and iPad. Apple Inc founder Steve Jobs openly criticized traditional marketing approaches citing that “it is not the job of the consumers to know what they want.” However, as the market changes and customers become more informed, conducting a market research has been attributed to helping Apple undertake effective marketing audit (Vascellaro 2016).
External environment represents outside areas that might affect the organization performance (Baker 2014, p. 167). It is essential to note that the world outside can be hard for the company to control and these areas can have an adverse effect on the marketing process. For instance, the Apple Inc. manager must understand environment issues, legal, social, and political climate in its target markets to ensure that the company undertakes its marketing efficiently with little or no external obstacles.
A marketing audit requires a manager to understand the market to maximize the success of the marketing audit. Some of the key issues in the market analysis are market growth, trends, segment, valuations, structure, and market needs among others. Once a manager understand the market, it becomes easy to audit and undertake marketing plans which can achieve high returns.
Every organization has competitors and when undertaking a marketing audit, understanding a competitor’s activity can help in maximizing the success of a marketing audit. For instance, a situational analysis competitors’ view can help Apple Inc. assess the strength and weakness of competitors such as Nokia, BlackBerry, Sony, Google, Amazon, HP and Microsoft among others. For example, Apple can assess its competitors’ pricing, products, quality, and financial resources to beat the competitors and make its marketing audit successful.
A SWOT analysis helps organizations undertake the in-house analysis of strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats facing the company from the inside perspective. According to Baker (2014, p. 203), a SWOT analysis is a final link in a marketing review and it is one of the most misused marketing tools. One of the company’s strengths is its innovation and production of quality products that are marketable and demanded across the world. Today, customers are keener on quality, and the adherence of high-quality through continuous innovation helps Apple achieve high results in its marketing process. Researching on the internal strengths can help the company understand the current marketing situation as well as comprehend probable changes in the future that might influence the objectives of Apple Marketing plans.
Consequently, Apple marketing manager needs to assess the influence of its strong brand equity. Apple is an American brand, but it is known across the world since the company has built a reputable brand name since its inception. Hence, as a globally prominent brand, this is a positive merit, which can put Apple Inc marketing plan ahead of its competitors since people like to buy known brands. Furthermore, Apple prides in its successful business model of “owing to the customer”. According to Montgomerie and Roscoe (2013, p. 290), Apple business model has been known to affect both the shareholders and the external market since it has a direct impact on the macroeconomic performance. The use of Apple business model has attributed to organization growth from increased sales and profits to a large market size globally. Thus, assess the benefits of the business model will help the marketing manager understand the current situation and the future changes to make outstanding Apple-marketing audits that will further make the company more competitive.
Apple Inc. marketing audit can be affected by its internal weakness such as its weak brand in the emerging market. Emerging markets such China, India, Russia, and Brazil have a great economic impact, and any multinational corporation operating in developed countries must strive to gain a market in the four emerging markets to maximize sales and profits. However, the inability of Apple to build a large market size in the emerging market due to the presence of cheap phones and computers might affect its market size in the global market (Westwood 2016, p. 86). To ensure that the marketing audit is successful, an audit of internal weakness must be undertaken and suitable recommendations adopted.
Since its inception, Apple Inc has been attributed to the quality and innovative products in all its markets. However, in the recent past, there are rumors of Apple faulty products and this is ruining its brand equity (Chazin 2013, p. 7). The existence of rumors on Apple substandard products might negatively affect the current market situation, and Apple’s future market changes leading to marketing failure. Also, Apple TV has not yielded high market value, and this research might hinder marketing success if nothing is done to avert the weaknesses (Chazin 2013, p. 9).
According to Montgomerie and Roscoe (2013, p. 292), in the effort of producing remarkable products in the industry, Apple seeks to position itself efficiently in the market to provide customers with latest and revolutionary products to make Apple well-known software and hardware manufacturer. The company has been investing in research and development with the attempt of producing outstanding products. More so, Apple Inc’s seeks to increase its market size by enlarging its target market to include students, creative professional, educators, and other consumers around the globe. The effort of venturing in the emerging markets will help Apple Inc. increase its market size to become one of the competitive software and hardware developers. Lastly, the company seeks to grow annual sales by making a variety of products to meet the need of its growing target market (Company Overview n.d).
Marketing Activities (4Ps)
Marketing is not an easy task, rather; it requires extensive market research to understand the company’s SWOT analysis, as well as, that of the competitors. One of the most important marketing activities that Apple Inc. can utilize in its marketing audit is planning (Westwood 2016, p. 103). Planning entails preparing for all marketing activities and objectives that should be undertaken to increase market size and growth. When using the 4ps, product, price, place, and promotion to make a marketing mix, making plans on how each will be integrated will maximize the end results and increase Apple market share. For instance, Apple can create a marketing calendar -planning timetable to measure the effectiveness of the market research in creating a successful marketing plan. The use of planning marketing activity will help Apple managers produce more products to increase annual sales globally.
More so, the use of research as a marketing activity will yield high results in the Apple marketing audit. Today, all companies are conducting research to understand opportunities, threats, weakness, and strengths to understand the target customers’ needs better (Baker 2014, p. 228). A research will help Apple gain its objectives of positioning itself in the market to provide customers with latest products, and this will assist the company to make innovative products for the growing market, increase more stores to place the goods, and employ the most successful promotion tools. It is essential to note that price is not a primary goal in Apple; rather, quality is the main objective. The use of research marketing activity will play an integral role in understanding the emerging markets to expand Apple market globally.
Marketing audit plays a fundamental role in the formation of a marketing plan since it helps the manager understand the current status and future changes that might influence organization’s marketing plan. One of the benefits of implementing the above marketing activities is that an organization will be in a position to research and plan its marketing audits and this will enhance its brand loyalty. More so, the use of the above marketing activities will help Apple understand competitors since research activity helps in producing related information that might hinder marketing audit and plan.