Trend assessment i Tunes u app


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Trend assessment i Tunes u app

  1. 1. Apple’s iTunes U App Trend Assessment by: Justin StroupeMarketing – 7546 Marketing in a Digital Environment Spring 2012
  2. 2. Apple iTunes U App MKTG – 7546 Marketing in a Digital Environment Justin Stroupe “You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.” -Steve JobsWhat is the iTunes U App and Where is it Going?Isn’t this true of most trends? Steve hit the nail on the head with this statement; and whobetter to explain a trend than the founder of arguably the “trendiest” company of all time?Apple has yet another industry altering app that is currently trending. It was announcedJanuary 19ththat “Apple is broadening its iTunes U program beyond audio and video lectures byadding an app for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch that allows professors to create full onlinecourses, with assignments, books, quizzes and syllabi.”1 Apple’s iTunes U website touts thatthey are “The world’s largest online catalog of free education content,” and that they are“home to more than 500,000 free lectures, videos, books, and other resources on thousands ofsubjects.”2The implications of a resource this powerful are easily recognized. As it continues togrow, iTunes U will change the way that we are educated, and make access to educationalresources easier and probably cheaper in the future. It will also change the way universitiesmarket their programs, as online classes open up their reach by increasing their geographicfootprint, and their announcement of an app for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch will only fuelthis growth, as there will now be complete college courses online for free.So what drove Apple to venture into this market? The development of iTune’s U has beendriven by an increase in demand for online educational content that is available twenty-hours aday, and accessible anywhere in the world. The number of universities offering onlinecurriculum has increased over the last few years, along with the number of classes that areoffered online. This allows students the ability to learn on their schedule, rather than trying towork school into their day to day responsibilities. The popularity of Apple devices such as theiPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch, has been a key driver in the development of the new app.The question that quickly arises is; does an educational tool like this stop at the classroom, orcan it be utilized by other industries as a source of untapped profitability?Apple’s iTunes Uwebsite states the following: “If you’re an educator at a university, college, or K-12 school, nowyou have an easy way to design and distribute complete courses featuring audio, video, books,and other content. And students and lifelong learners can experience your courses for freethrough a powerful new app for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.”2 But who says that this type oftechnology has to stop in the “classroom?” Companies around the globe can gain a competitiveadvantage when they have an educated workforce. A tool like this will give companies the2 |P a g e
  3. 3. Apple iTunes U App MKTG – 7546 Marketing in a Digital Environment Justin Stroupeability to educate their workforces quickly, cheaply, and as often as needed, with informationthat is tailored specifically to their long-term performance goals.The effects thatiTunes U will have long-term are less obvious than its affects in the short term.As with any trend, we must examine the affects it will have across numerous industries, and towhat extent. How will it affect the way educational facilities, both at a grade and universitylevel, market their products/services? Will this give schools a competitive advantage that theycan profit from? How will this affect the way other industries educate their employees on keyproduct information and company policies and strategies?iTunes U App and its Impact on the World of BusinessThe iTunes U app is in full swing at major universities around the country, helping them tomarket their programs in a very unique way to individuals around the globe. Samantha Birk,Associate Director for Instructional Technology at Indiana University says that “We’re beingchallenged to educate 21st century students for the 21st century world. Some of our facultyfelt apprehensive about what it would mean in the classroom.” She goes on to say that “thefaculty was challenged to use technology to better teach and engage their students. It hasrolled through the campus like wildfire.”3“One category where universities are testing thewaters is in Food and Nutrition, where you’ll find 32 courses available, including Tips forSustainable Gardening from Oregon State University, Food and Sustainable Agriculture from theYale School of Forestry, Food Processing from UC Davis and Health and Nutrition from CornellUniversity.”4One of the advantages of having these courses so easily available to the public is the ability torecognize and then advertise to specific segments of the population. The world of educationtouches all aspects of our lives. As courses in specific subjects are developed and distributed tothe masses, marketers can capitalize on the ability to advertise to those individuals based onthe subject that is being downloaded. For example, if a student studying culinary artsdownloads a lesson on a specific genre of food, companies that sell ingredients for that specificstyle of food can then advertise to that student through email marketing, or other forms ofadvertising. Even the professors that develop the curriculum for that class can direct thestudents to a specific book that may be beneficial to them located in the iTunes U library. Inboth cases, the student can make the necessary purchases right on their Apple device whetherit is the iPad or the iPhone.Schools are the primary users of the iTunes U app at this time. The app has been on the marketfor less than a month, yet universities are already catching on and utilizing the app foreducational purposes. The widespread success of the app is yet to be determined; however,the true reach of the app will probably be recognized this fall when professors have had theability to fully utilize it for their curriculum. One can conclude that the success of the appshould be high, as it utilizes two technologies that have had tremendous success (iTunes U and3 |P a g e
  4. 4. Apple iTunes U App MKTG – 7546 Marketing in a Digital Environment Justin Stroupethe iPad and iPhone). How schools will use it to market their programs is a different story. Onecan safely assume that it will help programs gain recognition globally, as their curriculum willhave a much larger footprint with the help of iTunes U. It will also help professors marketthemselves to students, organizations, and other institutions on a global level, as they will nowhave the ability to promote their curriculum to a vast market of Apple device users through thefree app.The academic world is not the only market that can benefit from the iTunes U app. In a globalmarketplace, where key business decisions have to be made at the drop of a hat to remaincompetitive; an educated workforce is critical to success. Organizations need to have theability to educate their employees as the landscape of the industry changes. Abreon, aconsulting firm located in Pittsburg states the following:“Whether education is needed as partof a larger change initiative or to simply keep the workforce up to date, it can be a challenge inan era when your workforce is aging, turnover among younger workers is increasing and theeconomy is forcing every department to do more with less. The answer to this challenge formany learning organizations has been eLearning.”5One area that this could be beneficial forbusinesses is when key changes are made at different levels. As organizations make personnel,product design, and process changes, the iTunes U app will allow organizations to privatelyupload training material, and distribute it to the ground level using iPads and iPhones. This willallow for quick, seamless changes that require less physical and time-consuming training, givingbusinesses a competitive advantage within their respective industries.Another industry that can benefit from the iTunes U app is the world of educational media.One educational resource that we often take for granted, is the resource that we sit in front ofevery evening. Television networks such as the History, Discovery, and Nat Geo can all gain acompetitive advantage by using this app as a marketing device. With the ability to add audioand video to its content, these networks can take advantage of the technologies ability to reacha large, growing audience of iPad and iPhone users. Within the educational material, thenetworks can promote other shows that have similar themes, to those that show interest inone particular subject.What is the Sustainability of the iTunes U AppaAThe future of the iTunes U app is bright. It will ride the success of Apple’s iOS operating system,and the sky is the limit when it comes to its growth potential. This app will definitely impact theway that we are educated; though it may be slow at first, in the next three to five years, it willlikely become one of the primary educational platforms. Craig Ingram, Interim Director of TheUniversity of Tennessee at Martin’s Instructional Technology Center says the future of theiTunes U app is optimistic. He says that“Because iTunes is such a prevalent tool, free andheavily entrenched in the marketplace both for Mac and PC users, iTunes U will likely continue4 |P a g e
  5. 5. Apple iTunes U App MKTG – 7546 Marketing in a Digital Environment Justin Stroupeto grow as an attractive format for delivering course content.”6 As we move forward, moreuniversities are going to latch on this technology and utilize it to educate their students. It willalso change the way that universities market their programs to potential students. The iTunesU app will reduce the geographical boundaries of schools across the country. This app willattract students from all over the world to different programs by giving them a “taste” of whatthe school has to offer.The development of the iTunes U app is not just going to affect education at the universitylevel; it will impact the education at the grade level as well. When asked what the impact oneducation would be, Craig suggested the following: “There are several pilot programs that havelaunched around the country using iPads and the new iTunes U app. The iPad is especiallyattractive for K-12 educators who view it as a lower cost option for computer basedlearning.”6Apple has always had a key role in the world of education. I recall using Applecomputers in school in the late 80’s and early 90’s as an educational resource. At that time,children our age were not comfortable with the technology as it was fairly new to the generalpublic, but children in today’s society are fairly comfortable operating an iPad or iPod touch.The fact that children already have a working knowledge of this technology means itsacceptance as an educational device will be easier. I would look for the iTunes U App to be aprominent form of education at this level in the next three to five years.There is potential for the iTunes U App in other industries as well. When asked what the app’simpact on other industries could be, Mr. Ingram stated that “Any company that invests incorporate training for their employees will at least be inclined to explore these kinds of tools.Any industry that wants to foster a collaborative environment for learning might also beinterested in taking a look.”6 Investing in an educated workforce gives a company a keycompetitive advantage, along with attracting better talent. Companies should use the iTunes UApp to educate their workforce regularly, and as a marketing tool to attract employees that fitwell with the company’s long-term strategic goals.One industry that could immediately benefit from this tool is the medical field. The sciencebehind medicine is always changing, especially from a pharmaceutical standpoint.Pharmaceutical companies can use the iTunes U App to educate and market to physicians whennew products are developed. This would give these companies a tremendous competitiveadvantage, as they will be able to quickly and easily get information to the market.The iTunes U app can also be used as a training tool in this industry as well. Hospitals can usethe app to train their doctors, surgeons, and nursing staff on new procedures that are beingdeveloped. With the video ability of the app, along with the iPad platform, this could be a verycost effective way to educate their staffs.Industries that manufacture products can also benefit from the iTunes U App. The app will givecompanies the ability to educate their workforce on their products and processes specifically. It5 |P a g e
  6. 6. Apple iTunes U App MKTG – 7546 Marketing in a Digital Environment Justin Stroupewill also give the company the ability to easily and cheaply change the training process as newproducts are developed, or new processes are designed.The manufacturing industry that I see being impacted by this App is the automotive industry.Training in this industry is critical all the way down to the showroom floor, as new models roleoff assembly lines every year. As these new models arrive, production teams, mechanics, thesales force, and even the customers can benefit from having educational materials at theirfingertips. Once again, this is a great competitive advantage as well.As with all successful ideas, others will try to duplicate Apple’s creativity and innovation. Mr.Ingram says that competition will drive competitors to develop similar tools. “I think the biggerripple effect will be in seeing what other companies emerge to provide competing methods fordelivering this kind of content for educators.”6As its popularity grows, the iTunes U App will continue to evolve. This evolution will beaccelerated by the software changes made to the device (iPad and iPhone) that the appoperates on. As these operating systems are upgraded, the app will follow. Usersalreadyhavethe ability to interact with the educational material, which will become even moreadvanced over the next few years. It will be interesting to see if the application incorporatesvideo game style training along with the educational material so that users can get virtualpractice within the app itself. This will be very beneficial for those training for careers where“hands-on” work is required.To stay ahead of its competitors, the iTunes U App will need to concentrate on 3 things:Simplicity, enjoyment, and content. The app must remain simple to use, as this can be themake or break attribute of any computerized system. The app must also be fun to use, as thiswill attract even the most distracted learner, and prevent boredom during use. Finally, the appmust maintain up-to-date content, which will rely heavily on the individuals providing it.ConclusionAs the iTunes U App continues to grow, it will become a primary form of education throughoutour lives. Society is becoming more technological by the day, and the age of the users is gettingyounger. Schools and companies must get ahead of this trend and use it to market theirprograms so that they can compete for talent, train that talent, and then compete within theirindustries. The iTunes U App is a game changer in the world of education. It will change theway that we are educated from childhood through our professional careers.References6 |P a g e
  7. 7. Apple iTunes U App MKTG – 7546 Marketing in a Digital Environment Justin Stroupe1). Baig, Edward. "Apple joins e-textbook party with iBooks, iBooks Author apps." N.p., January 19,2012. Web. February 1, 2012. < textbooks/52670256/1>.2). "Apple in Education." N.p., n.d. Web. February 1,2012. <>.3). "Are Text Books Dead; Making Sense of Digital Transition." 2011. Web. 12 Feb 2012. <>.4). Virbila, Irene. "Harvard’s Science Cooking lectures: Now playing on iTunes U." Daily Dish. LA Times, 20 01 2012. Web. 12 Feb. 2012. < u.html?dlvrit=310230>.5). "Challenge: Educating Your Workforce ." N.p., 2012. Web. 1 Feb 2012. <>.6). Ingram, Craig. E-mail Interview. 7 Feb 2012. Craig Ingram is the Interim Director of The University of Tennessee at Martin’s Instructional Technology Center.7 |P a g e