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4 Powerful Ps You Need to Know About Apple’s Marketing Mix


Apple is the most valuable brand in the world. They are worth 87% more than the second most valuable brand, Google. To say Apple is in a class of their own might be an understatement. They have been ranked the most valuable brand every year since Forbes started evaluating the richest brands in 2010. If you’re wondering how Apple does it you only need to look at E. Jerome McCarthy’s four Ps of marketing and how they apply to Apple.

Here is a short overview of McCarthy’s four Ps:

  • Product – products or services that satisfy consumer demand
  • Price – amount a customer pays for a product
  • Promotion – all communication marketers may use to provide information about the product
  • Place (Distribution) – providing the product at a convenient place for consumers

Apple’s Marketing Mix: Products

Apple products are innovative because they are designed after thorough customer research. Apple likes to think it knows what customers want and for the most part, they do. The following are Apple’s core product lines:

  • Macintosh – The machine that started it all. The Macintosh was first released in 1984 and today is known simply as Mac. With the focus shifting to portability, Mac laptops such as the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are some of the most popular laptops in the U.S.
  • iPod – The iPod along with its software iTunes revolutionized the music industry and the way we listen to music. While the Mac can be considered innovative today, the iPod was the first true innovative product that would pave the way for Apple’s iProducts.
  • iPhone – The iPhone was the first smartphone to use a multi-touch interface. This removed the need for styluses and keyboards. The iPhone is still going strong and is one of Apple’s leading product lines.
  • iPad – While tablets were nothing new when the iPad first launched, it is usually credited with pushing tablets into the mainstream with other companies quickly following. The iPad was the most successful tablet when it launched and continues to be a strong product line for Apple.
  • Apple Watch and Apple TV – Despite stiff competition from other brands such as Samsung’s fitness watches and Amazon Fire TV, Apple’s Apple Watch and Apple TV do see sales from loyal customers. The ability to sync with other devices is a key selling point for those already invested in Apple’s other product lines.
  • Apple Software – iTunes, iCloud, iBook, and their MacOS are just some of the intuitive software that is available across all of Apple’s devices. Combined together they are one of Apple’s key product lines that really tie all their devices together.

Apple’s Marketing Mix: Price

Apple uses premium pricing for their products. Because of the innovation and technology in their products customers are fine with paying a higher price compared to some other brands. Apple typically doesn’t have sales on their products and the price is usually standard and doesn’t drop until a new model is released. This premium pricing strategy attracts middle to upper-class consumers and helps maintain Apple’s high-end image.

Apple’s Marketing Mix: Promotion

Apple promotes their products through commercials and print ads, focusing on how their products are different from competitors. Commercial ads run when a product is first launched and print ads will run throughout the product's life. Ads usually follow the same style using either white backgrounds to contrast the stylish black of their products (iPhone, iPad, etc.) and logo, or an inverse with black backgrounds and white text with a white logo. Ads are simple and to the point, usually focusing on one key feature of their product.

For example, here are two ads for the iPhone 7. Each focuses on one iPhone 7 feature.

One big component of Apple’s promotion is their yearly keynote speeches. These events themselves are not only part of Apple’s overall promotion, but have become a part of their brand and image. They keep fans interested and provide information on upcoming products.

Apple Marketing Mix: Place (Distribution)

Apple has strict guidelines as to who is allowed to sell (distribute) their products. To ensure control over distribution, Apple authorizes certain stores to sell their product. This creates exclusivity which might limit reach, however it also reinforces the high-end image of their products. Because of this exclusivity,  Apple has lower distribution costs and is able to invest in other areas such as product research.

Apple product distribution includes:

  • Apple Stores
  • Online Apple store and App Store
  • Authorized retailers such as Telecom Companies

There you have it. The 4 Ps of marketing in regards to Apple, the most valued brand for the past 6 years according to Forbes. Great products which are worthy of their price create a high-end image that exclusive distribution and well thought out promotions reinforce. If your business can accomplish this then perhaps you can follow in Apple’s footsteps. Easier said than done right?