Market Research Report- Apple Company, Assessment Example

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Assessment

IntroductionApple Company produces electronic gadgets for various High street stores. The CEO authorized the market research report. As the assistant market researcher of the Apple Company, I have the responsibility for researching on the market of a new line of Apple products (Allyson L. Stewart-Allen, 1999). The problem of expansion of the market of the company’s products arises, more especially due to competition from other companies producing similar electronic gadgets, as the Microsoft windows. Through this report, the company will have more opportunities in line with its expansion. This market research report, aims at addressing in details the overview of the Apple Company, and the six stages employed in the market research process. This research report has a purpose of discovering the needs of the customers.

Historical background of the Apple Company

The Apple Company established in Cupertino, a town in California on April 1, 1976. It introduced the Apple II microcomputer in March 1977. The Lisa, made in 1983, was the first commercial computer to use GUI interface. In 1984, the Macintosh with advanced and friendlier Graphical user interface introduced. The development continued and in 1991when, the power book introduced (Young, 2005, p.340). However, in the 1990s, apples market failed as Microsoft windows (main competitors) and IBM PC compatible computers that dominated the market. In the 2000s, Apple focused on software and thus included professional videos, photo production solutions, and music production. They aimed at promoting their “digital hub” products. The famous iPod, which marks the immensely used digital music player worldwide build at that time. As at September 2007, the company had around 200 retail stores in five countries. Now, it Apple Inc. has online stores to sell their software and hardware products.

Products and services of the Apple Company

Apple is an American technological firm that manufactures consumer electronics. It also designs software products that closely relate to the consumer products. In broad, Apple develops and sells all sought of computers, their software, hardware, and accessories. It also develops portable media players, mobile phones, and other electric gadgets. Apple Company has an iTunes Store that provides music, music videos, iPod games, television programs, movies, and audio books. All these entertainment and leisure activities downloaded provided one has an iPod or iPhone or any other type of computer. The hardware products produced by the company include the iPhone itself, the iPod line used in portable media players, and the Macintosh line usable in personal computers. The software products include the iLife suite of multimedia creativity software, Mac OS X operating system, and Final Cut Studio, and professional audio- and film-industry software products. Apple Company virtually serves everyone in the entire universe (Young, Charles E, 2005). If one has a phone, an iPod, an iphone, or a computer, then one is a customer of Apple Company. Again, if one listens to music, if one watches television programs or movies, if one downloads Apple software and hardware products from the internet, then one is Apples customer. Generally, everyone must have done at least one of the listed activities, or rather; one owns at least one of the listed items, so we are all customers of Apple. Apple has over 20,000 employees worldwide. It reported to have fiscal net profit averaging to US$24.01 billion yearly. Out its products with aesthetic design and value and its advertising campaigns, Apple has a distinct reputation in the consumer electronics industry. It has developed loyal customers devoted to the company and its brand in the United States.

The six stages of the market research study

The six stages in the marketing research process aim at defining the task done by the time the marketing research accomplishes. They include:

  1. Defining the problem
  2. Planning an approach to the problem
  3. Planning and formulation of the research design
  4. Collecting the data and field work
  5. Presentation and Analysis of the data
  6. Formulating the conclusions and preparing the report

Step 1 Defining the problem

The first step of carrying out a marketing research project is the definition of the problem. A problem at hand observed and studied to determine if it certainly needs consideration. It is upon identification and definition of the problem that is in a position to create purpose or objectives of the research (Allyson L. Stewart-Allen, 1999). This involves taking into consideration the background information that is relevant. It is only pertinent information, usable in decision-making taken into account. At this point, decision makers invited where they provide explanations as to why, how and what approach to use. Interviews conducted on the industry experts to obtain their views, in case one has a different suggestion. The available secondary data analyzed critically while the literature review also studied. Some qualitative researches as pilot studies and focus groups take place at this point. With exploratory of the research, or sometimes without, the researcher reaches a point of confidence with the chosen problem. Upon its clarification and authorization by the CEO or any immediate relevant person, the researcher now goes ahead with a formal statement of the research objectives. The written statement ought to define the research type and employing the highest intelligence that will not give allowance for the decision makers to have different informed choices from it. Just like in many other part of a research process, theory plays an important role in determining the suitable research objectives. A theory represents a formal and logical explanation of events. This includes descriptions of relationships that things have to each other. The logical explanation in theories enables the researcher to have the knowhow of what variables to include in the study. The researcher also gets to know how the variables of choice relate to each other. A hypothesis formulated within this setup of problem identification. A hypothesis is a formal statement that explains an outcome.  After doing the research, the data analyzed with respect to previously stated hypothesis. When the results agree with the null hypothesis, then the hypothesis supported. When the data do not agree with the null hypothesis then the null hypothesis not supported and thus the alternative hypothesis accepted. The list of set goals needs achievement by the end of the study.

Step 2: Planning an approach to the problem

The second step marks a successful attainment of the first step. The set objective viewed from an angle, them there is the formulation of a theoretical framework. This focuses on how to handle the problem at hand. Here, an analytical model formulated where, research questions throughout the surveys proposed. The questions set in a manner that they would answer the previously formulated hypotheses. Factors that could influence the research design identified. The second step of planning is an approach to the problem. Researchers, being helped with the management commitee, and industry experts (Kotler et al, 2007, p.130), do it. Alternatively, approaches to the problem include carrying out case studies and simulations, pragmatic considerations, qualitative research and Analysis of secondary data.

Step 3: Planning and formulation of the research design.

A research design involves identifying the population, and diligently choosing the sample. A sample is a representation of the entire population. A sample enables researcher draw conclusions about the population it represents. The precision required at the end of the day determines the sample size. The greater the sample size, the higher the precision. However, the greater the sample size, the greater the cost. Again, the size of the population is another determinant of the sample size. Sampling is the key to a successful research that a researcher should carry out diligently.

Step 4: Collecting the data and fieldwork

Data collection certainly needs fieldwork staff. They could operate in the fields in case of personal interviewing, or they could operate from office by interviewing the party through the telephone, or through the mail. This is an unobtrusive method of data collection where the subjects need not be disturbed to enable data collection. The field staff subjected to proper training, supervision, and evaluation in order to have minimal data-collection errors.

Step 5: Presentation and Analysis of the data.

Field data usually comes in a manner that is difficult to understand. It thus requires preparation and analysis. Data preparation is the editing, data coding, and analysis. Individual questionnaires inspected, edited (in case of necessity), and corrected. The usable questionnaires numbered, and then data fished from them, transfigured, and coded into the computer. Upon finishing this, verification then done to ensure accurately transcription of data from the original questionnaires into the computer. The final thing in this step is data analysis, which transforms confusing data into some useful meaning. Step 6: Formulating the conclusions and preparing the report.

A well-written report represents the full project. The report documented to addresses specific research questions; it describes the approach, the employed research design, the methods employed in data collection. It goes ahead and states the data analysis procedures adopted, while presenting the results and the main findings. The findings presented in a comprehensible and understandable format usable for people who have little research knowledge (Allyson & Stewart-Allen, 1999, p.120). The conclusions and recommendations made should be usable in the decision making process. For formality, an oral presentation in the form of slides made. These presentations summarize the whole report in form figures, tables, and graphs to enhance impact and clarity. Application of the six steps of the market research study in the market research of the Apple Company.

Research Opportunities

A research opportunity identified upon identification of a problem. The Apples Company is a prominent company worldwide. It manufactures and sells all sought of computers, their software, hardware, and accessories. It virtually serves everyone in the entire world as 80% of the entire population in the world uses electric gadgets in one form or another. This however, does not guarantee the market researchers to be reluctant and do nothing for its expansion. Apple Company manufactures these electronic gadgets and supplies them to various high street stores. A need has arisen to research the market for a new line of electronic products. The electronic products in discussion include the apple iPad Wi-Fi + 4G model. This presents a clear research opportunity.

Objectives

The fact that the product is new to the market, it is crucial to find out customers perception on the   iPad Wi-Fi + 4G model and how much satisfaction they obtain from its use. As the assistant market researcher, I have various objectives in mind as:

  1. a) To find out how customers perceive the iPad Wi-Fi + 4G model
  2. b) To find out how customers rate the price of the iPad Wi-Fi + 4G model, is the product worth the price?
  3. c) To find out how convenience the iPad Wi-Fi + 4G model is to the customers
  4. d) To find out if there are limitations associated with the use of the iPad Wi-Fi + 4G model
  5. e) To find out how the average number of customers who have so far purchased the iPad Wi-Fi + 4G model

Research category and methods (primary/secondary) used

In order to achieve the set objectives, a strategic research method employed. There is the primary and the secondary market research methods. Primary methods enforce obtaining of original data, about the opinions, buying habit, perceptions of customers on the iPad Wi-Fi, + 4G model and firsthand information obtained. This is possible through field surveys and field tests. Secondary data will employ only in finding out the history of the iPad Wi-Fi + 4G model. In the survey, it is essential to choose the sample for the study. Having in mind that the iPad Wi-Fi + 4G model used worldwide, the population is infinite. In this case, the study narrows down to the US alone. However, the US infinite population divided into countries. We employ stratified random sampling, where the each country represents a stratum. Simple random sampling will employ in choosing individuals from the countries. The sample size will entirely depend on the finances available, the study period set, and the level of precision required.

Collecting data

There are three ways of obtaining data, use of questionnaires, interviews, and observations. In the study, we will employ the use of questionnaires. A fully recruited field staff employed to collect data. The questionnaires are the most effective with advantages over the use of interviews and observations. These include:

  1. a) They contain fixed-response questions about various the exact items of interest
  2. b) Questionnaires presentable on-line or in paper form, they thus easily reach a large number of people simultaneously.
  3. c) Well set questionnaires analyzed quickly
  4. d) Feedback easily gotten to the researcher
  5. e) Questionnaires formulated to standard based on common research or customized to meet specific data gathering need.
  6. f) Questionnaires give the respondent a humble time to speak out views because they are confidential

With the infinite population of interest, interviews will certainly not work, or can take the longest time possible, while observations will obviously not work. Questionnaires aimed at fishing the required information with respect to the set objective and the formulated hypothesis constructed. They emailed to the respective respondents, while some printed out for those respondents who prefer the paper-pencil approach

Analysis of the data

Analyzing data done using Ms Exel and SPSS software (statistical software for social sciences). Being a social research, the questionnaire customized to be analyzable using Excel and SPSS. The duly filled questioners inspected thoroughly, where those needing cleaning, correction, editing identified and worked on. Data coded in the SPSS windows, and the run command employed to perform the analysis. Cross tabulation and chi-square independent tests used to check for dependability of variables of interest. Ms. Excel used for coming up with charts, histograms, curves and graphs. Ms Excel charts are clear and smart compared to charts produced in SPSS. The data then analyzed to produce useful information.

Report the findings

The analyzed data incorporated in a detailed report for presentation. The report will comprise of figures and comprehensive facts of the findings. All the charts, histograms, curves, and graphs contained in the analyzed material followed by clear explanations to even cater for an audience with little or no research knowledge. Further, for presentation, main points in the research report summarized and put in slides for power point presentation. This provides a better and straightforward way to present the detailed research report to the executives of the company. Conclusions

This paper has clearly shown the importance of the six steps of the market research study. These steps form a summary of tasks done by the time the marketing research accomplished (Kotler, Philip and Armstrong, 2007). For one to carry out a successful research, adoption of the six steps is extremely crucial. The research on the iPad Wi-Fi + 4G model only needs some little integration with the six steps for success.

References

Allyson L. Stewart-Allen, 1999, “Do Your International Homework First,” Marketing News, Vol. 33, (1) p. 25.

Bradley, Nigel, 2007, Marketing Research: Tools and Techniques, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Department of Defense report, 1977,  “Conjoint Analysis of Values of Reserve Component Attitudes,” Market Facts, Chicago.

Glazer, Rashi, 1991, “Marketing in an Information-Intensive Environment: Strategic Implications of Knowledge as an Asset”, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Journal of Marketing, p. 1–19

Irving D. Canton, 1976, “Do You Know Who Your Customer Is?” Journal of Marketing, p. 83.

Kotler, Philip and Armstrong, 2007, Gary Principles of Marketing Pearson, Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

Lawrence D. Gibson, 1998, “Defining Marketing Problems: Don’t Spin Your Wheels Solving the Wrong Puzzle,” Marketing Research, Vol. 10(1), pp. 5–12.

Malhotra, Naresha K, 2002, Basic Marketing Research: A Decision-Making Approach, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Michael Czinkota and Ilkka A. Ronkainen, 1993, International Marketing, 3rd ed., Orlando, FL: Dryden Press.

Young, Charles E, 2005, The Advertising Handbook, Ideas in Flight, Seattle, WA. Appendixes (copy of the questionnaire used)

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