Tablet industry has been a high growth industry since its inception a few years ago. At this point, growth in the industry is starting to slow, but also consumers are starting to become more segmented, and the companies within the industry are beginning to understand consumer needs better, and meet them more effectively. This paper will describe some of the promotions that companies in the industry are undertaking in order to differentiate their product and win consumers.
The first player in the tablet industry is Apple, maker of the iPad. Apple has a couple of different products in the market. Apple does not use pricing promotions, because it has a premium positioning strategy that emphasizes its products will not be discounted, or at least very infrequently. The company also makes extensive use of lifestyle promotional messages, for example here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiyIcz7wUH0
The use of lifestyle as the major element in the promotional message seeks to establish the iPad as a tool with which people can enhance their lives. This is in contrast to other tablet manufacturers, who seem to prefer emphasizing features. The iPad is one of the more feature-rich tablets on the market, and Apple wants to show you what you can do with it, not what it can do for you. This is a message that empowers the consumer, and puts the consumer in control more. In general, it is tough to say if this message is effective or not. On one hand, the iPad is a highly successful product, one of the industry leaders. It has also faced declining market share, as other tablets have emerged and eaten into Apple’s business. However, where the industry is maturing Apple is not declining as rapidly as many other tablet makers are — there is still a market for the premium tablet (Edwards, 2014). While Apple’s market share is down, its unit sales are up over their levels from a few years ago.
Another tablet company is Asus, a Taiwanese manufacturer that has moved into the tablet market recently, at a range of price points. Asus does not promote its tablets as aggressively as Apple does, but when it does promote them it seeks to create a value proposition of a good tablet at a good price. Promotions will usually feature visuals of the product, and highlight the features of the different individual examples within the Asus roster. There are some lifestyle elements — showing students using them for example, as a means of appealing to that demographic — but the ads are not nearly as visually stunning or as high concept as the Apple ads. Showing a kid taking video of his friends skateboarding is not nearly as powerful as what Apple conveys.
So there is an element of appealing to the everyday market, which is the market that Asus is targeting. The promotion itself (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nc9-xzqlvc8) conveys little about the brand, however. Where Apple tries to build a brand relationship with the consumer in its ads, Asus does not really try to do this, and presents its product more as being basic in nature, and appealing to low level usage on the part of the consumer. The result is that the promotion for Asus does not really hit any high notes — it simply informs the consumer that the product exists. After all, telling us we can record video on a tablet is not telling us anything we don’t already know.
For Asus, the move into tablets has been a modest success. The company has actually taken a beating in the laptop market because of tablet sales, and arguably the 2.5 million units per quarter that Asus ships do not make up for its losses in laptops. Furthermore, Asus tablet sales have flatlined (Edwards, 2014), and the weakness of the ads, and the lack of promotion to convey anything meaningful about the brand or product to the consumer has to be considered as a contributor to the company’s recent struggles in the tablet business.
Edwards, J. (2014). Apple’s iPad business isn’t collapsing, but the rest of the tablet market is. Apple Insider. Retrieved May 5, 2014 from http://appleinsider.com/articles/14/05/04/apples-iPad-business-isnt-collapsing-but-the-rest-of-the-tablet-industry-sure-is
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