Establish the need for the marketing research
Marketing research is very important for an organization. By definition, marketing research is the process through which the producers, customers and end-users of a product are linked together through information. Marketing research therefore majorly involves the collection of data regarding a certain product and how it relates to its market. There are marketing opportunities and problems that arise when a new product is released into the market. The marketing actions for the particular product need to be tailor made to the product. Many decisions also have to be made in marketing. For instance, the marketing plan has to be refined to get rid of inefficiencies and also optimized to reap maximum benefits. The information needed in order to make accurate decisions about marketing is obtained by conducting a market research for the product and its intended market.
The iPhone 7 is the latest product from Apple in its smartphone line of products. Similar to other iPhone releases in the past, the iPhone 7 was widely anticipated before its release in the market in early September 2016. Many people pre-ordered their phones while many others opted to queue in line outside apple stores with the hopes of getting their hands on the product. However, unlike previous years when the release of a new iPhone was global news, this years release was somehow relegated to the back pages of newspapers. A number of reasons have been given for this less than enthusiastic reception to the device the manufacturer claims is the most advanced in the market at present. The importance of a market research into the product will provide the manufacturers with the information they need to understand the reception and also to go forward and make future decisions that place the product in a better market position.
Define the problem
The iPhone 7 is the latest installment of iPhone from Apple Corporation. According to the company, it is the most advanced product they have released to date. However, the current iPhone 7 is radically different to a number of competitors products. The most glaring of these is the omission of a 3.5mm headphone jack in favor of Apples proprietary lightning port. The latest installment of the iPhone is however viewed by many people as just an upgrade to the older iPhone 6 and 6S released a year earlier. However, the iPhone 7 does boast of a better camera able to take good pictures in low lighting and a better battery life though not overall impressing. In addition to these changes, Apple has also introduced a new jet-black finish to complement the white, silver and gold color options that were previously offered for the phone.
The major problem with the new iPhone is that uptake of the new product has been lower than expected and well below the uptake levels in previous years. The iPhone has been for a number o years the most anticipated technology product in the market. However, the latest release has been met by lower than expected figures. Although there have been many pre-orders and people queuing outside apple stores prior to the release, the overall numbers moved have been significantly lower than previous years.
A marketing research therefore needs to be carried out in order to get information that would shed light on the poor than expected sales figures. Many people for instance are citing poor economic conditions that mean people are not able or willing to spend a lot of money on a premium phone. Others claim that the new phone is simply an upgrade of the previous phone and therefore see no need to purchase the new model while they still have the previous version in working order. Other claim that the omission of the headphone socket has reduced the attractiveness of the new model especially people who listen to music a lot. However, all these are speculations and in order to be sure, a marketing plan has to be conducted in order to determine the real facts and therefore take appropriate action to remedy the situation.
Establish research objectives
A number of research objectives are going to be established in this marketing research.
The first objective of this research is to identify the position of the company and by extension its product in the market. Apple has taken the usual approach it takes before releasing a new product in the market. The product was announced earlier in the year and customers have been able to pre-order the device for a number of months. Buyers were also able to get the device from apple stores once the device was released. The company has used this model where it sells the products through its own stores and through partner companies in countries that do not have official apple stores. However, the market is dynamic and has changed dramatically since the company began this approach. The first objective of this research will be to analyze the current model in order to determine its strengths and weaknesses as well as coming up with plans to correct any problems that might be identified. Ultimately, the whole model might need revision if a major problem is identified with the model.
The second objective of the research is to determine view of the customer towards the product. Sales of the iPhone have been the greatest earner of revenue for Apple as a company for a number of years now. This was mainly because when the first iPhone was introduced in the middle of the first decade of the 21st century, it was seen as an innovative product that had potential to disrupt the mobile phone industry. The iPhone was not the first smartphone, but it can be considered to be the first smartphone to gain global appeal. This ensured that the iPhone has continued to be the biggest income earner for Apple. However, the market has changed and customers have more choice of products now. The second objective of this research is to determine how the customers view the product. This is going to be in terms of quality, cost, and image among others. This will help the parent company to determine the price at which customers are willing to pay the iPhone to maintain previous years sales.
The third objective of the research is to determine particular aspects of the iPhone 7 and its attractiveness to customers. The new phone has a number of features that are different from previous iterations of the same brand and also radically different from other products from rival brands. For example, the iPhone 7 is the first mainstream smartphone to do away with the 3.5mm audio socket. It has been replaced in this phone by the proprietary lightning port that also double up as a charging port for the phone. This is a radical feature that can affect the demand of the phone. Many people have preferred the 3.5mm audio socket since it makes the phone compatible with any headphones regardless of manufacturer.
The omission of the 3.5mm socket means that people who need to use their normal headphones with the new iPhone 7 will have to buy an adapter which is not cheap. This can affect the demand of the new phone especially from people who have invested in premium headphones previously. The addition of the jet black finish is also a factor as it was not previously available with the iPhone. As a result, pre-orders for the jet black finish were higher and also this was the version that was most in demand even in physical stores. This third objective of the marketing research will aim to identify particular features of the phone that either attract customers or dissuade customers from making a purchase.
The research design for this marketing research is going to take a case study approach. The case study approach allows a detailed understanding of a complex subject to be reached through detailed analysis of a number of conditions and their relationships. The case study approach to the marketing research also allows the researcher to use a variety of research methodologies to examine the same subject. This makes it easier to reach more accurate decisions at the end of the research. The case study approach also makes it possible to theorize real-life situations making it possible for the researcher to translate the results of the research back into the real life situation.
However, despite the choice of this approach to the research design, it is important to note that it has a few shortcomings. First, if the case study is based on a rare phenomenon, it can only apply to the particular study and its results cannot be generalized for the entire market. The iPhone for instance is considered to be a rare phenomenon and the results of this case study can only apply to the iPhone 7. It is also not possible to determine the cause and effect relationships. Instead, the case study analyzes all the data that is available and tries to make an inference from the data collected. It is therefore also likely that if an important part of the information is not available, it is infinitely difficult to make correct inferences from the study.
However, the current research requires a market research for the iPhone 7. This information is specific to the iPhone 7 and it is readily available. It is therefore easy to take all the data available for the iPhone 7 and approach the research as a case study. This will allow us to use a variety of research methodologies to be used in order to get the most appropriate information about the product.
Identify information types and sourcesThere are going to be different types of information from different sources in the market research. The first type of information needed for this research is the marketing information for the product. It is important to understand the approach that the company as a whole takes in marketing its products and the iPhone 7 in particular. This is very important in determining the current position of the company. This is information that is primarily held by the company although some of it is available in public sources on the internet and journals. This is primarily secondary data and information already held by the company.
The second type of information needed for this research is sales data that would point to the performance of the product in the market. The sales information is very important as it helps to identify the performance of the product in the actual market. The sales are happening under a marketing plan that is already in existence and has worked for Apple in the past. However, it is important to monitor the current performance based on current market conditions. Sales data is mainly available from company data. Apple currently delivers its products to customers through its own stores. The company therefore has command of the most accurate sales figures of its products.
This information will be mainly secondary information available from the company. The third type of information needed for the research is the perception of customers to the products. The perception of the customers towards the product as well as prevailing market conditions are going to play a very important role in determining the performance of the product in the market. This type of information will be primarily primary data that will be collected from the market. This will be conducted in the form of a survey. An online questionnaire will be the specific tool that will be used to collect the data.
Determine method of accessing data
Apple as a company holds secondary data needed in this marketing research. This is because it concerns its marketing strategy and its sales figures. Although versions of this type of data for the company are available over the internet, its accuracy cannot be vouched for. Apple as a company retains ownership and control of the most accurate inform...
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