Apple iPod Final


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My group and I did a project in Consumer Behavior on the Apple iPod.

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Apple iPod Final

  1. 1. History of Apple and The iPod<br />Apple Inc is a major manufacturer of personal computers and other digital devices, including the popular digital music player, the iPod, and the online music service known as the iTunes Music Store. With headquarters in Cupertino, California, Apple designs, produces, and sells personal computer systems for use in business, education, government, and the home (Encarta, 2009). Apple Computer was formed by Steven Jobs and Stephen Wozniak in 1976 to market the Apple I, a computer circuit board that they had designed and built in Jobs’s garage in Los Altos, California. They scrapped their plan to sell the board alone when Jobs’s first sales call yielded an order for 50 units. They were, however, sold without monitor, keyboard, or casing. The company was incorporated in January 1977 by the charismatic Jobs, the meditative inventor Wozniak, and their new partner and chairman, Mike Markkula (Encarta, 2009). <br />Apple began 2001 with a new round of product upgrades, but the most dramatic turnabout in its fortunes came with the introduction of the digital music player known as the iPod at the end of the year. The music player became extremely popular and was credited with helping turn the company around. The same year the company announced plans to open retail stores, which helped Apple provide better marketing support for its products. Following on the success of the iPod, Apple in 2003 debuted an online music site called the iTunes Music Store that enabled computer users to purchase and download music. The service quickly became one of the most popular music download sites on the Web. By 2005 Apple had opened more than 100 retail outlets in the United States, along with stores in Canada, Japan, and the United Kingdom. It continued to pioneer in music services, unveiling the iPod nano, a smaller, thinner version of the iPod. In 2006 Apple sold about 39 million iPods and announced that users had downloaded more than 2 billion songs from its iTunes Music Store. Building on the success of the iPod, Apple continued to diversify its product line (Encarta, 2009). <br />Throughout this paper we are going to discuss multiple topics discussed in class. We have created an outline of different aspects that go into the products, Apple iPod, and the consumer decision process to purchase the iPod. Cultures, people, values, group influences all shape a product and determines the success that it may have. External influences can be the making or breaking point for a company’s product. Apple iPod does a very good job of using their external influences to the fullest and their success reflects it.<br />Cross Culture Variations<br />A certain value is placed upon the iPod, a value that is universal. “It’s hard to remember what I did before the iPod,” said Mary J. Blige, Grammy Award-winning singer. “IPod is more than just a music player; it’s an extension of your personality and a great way to take your favorite music with you everywhere you go CITATION 10009 l 1033 (100 Million iPods Sold, 2009)”. IPod’s are becoming a necessity in the eyes of consumers. It is the easiest and most convenient way to carry around your favorite music and enjoy it at any time of the day. It can easily be said that the iPod has taken over the world by storm and is still continuing to do so with every new product item Apple adds to their line. After six years of being on the market, iPod hit a milestone on April 9, 2007 when the 100 millionth iPod was sold. In a Yahoo! Tech article written this month it is stated that “iPod sales of 11,013,000 were up three percent over the same quarter last year”, showing that sales are reaching high amounts annually, with the international markets being particularly important with bringing in 46% of the quarter’s revenue. The market share is incessantly growing within both the United States and the worldwide markets (predominantly in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, Australia and China) CITATION Jim09 l 1033 (Dalrymple, 2009).<br />Changing American Society<br />Changing the American society’s view on how to listen to music is a task that iPod has completed. Given an option as to what music device to use, it has become the norm to rely on one’s iPod. For consumers that own an iPod, it has self-oriented, environment-oriented, and some other-oriented values to them. High materialistic importance is the self-oriented value because of the connection that owning an iPod shows wealth and social status. It is the item that everyone has and if they don’t have one, they want one. When first put onto the market it was seen as an item owned by the families with money, but has revolutionized into a product that can be bought be high class, middle class, and some higher low class families. Apple as a company is striving to become an economic friendly company and is implementing tradition and change in our society which is their environment-oriented value. Most of their efforts are directed towards their Mac computers because they have a much higher impact on revenue, but the iPod has had its contributions. Apple changed the packing of the fourth-generation iPod Nano to a much lighter package that uses less than half of the volume than previous packaging. A positive step was also taken when recycling programs began in Asia, Europe and Australia CITATION App09 l 1033 (Apple and the Environment, 2009). Implementing tradition and change seems to have come easy to the Apple iPod by giving something of such convenience and value to our conforming society. The world was ready for a change and that was given to them with the idea of a hand-held music device that can give them everything they need in one object instead of sifting through hundreds of CDs to find what they want. “Without the iPod, the digital music age would have been defined by files and folders instead of songs and albums,” said John Mayer, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and guitarist. “Though the medium of music has changed, the iPod experience has kept the spirit of what it means to be a music lover alive CITATION 10009 l 1033 (100 Million iPods Sold, 2009)”. Being able to sell a product to any age group is a benefit that the iPod thrives on and is their other-oriented value. Even though it seemed to be directed towards youth it is becoming a multiage product because of the fact that everyone wants their music one click away, which is what the iPod provides. For the older demographic, using an iPod may often give them the feeling of being young again, which is always beneficial for a company.<br />The invention of the iPod came about when Apple decided there needed to be something more convenient to carry around then the current music players. The demographic that Apple targeted most when released was the teen/young adult age group. It has continued to have the most success with the younger age demographic; there is even the new term " iPod Generation" CITATION Mon09 l 1033 (Monarch Media, Inc., 2009). “IPod Generation” is now part of Western vocabulary, but the iPod trend is spreading to older users every year. For example, hospitals are now taking advantage of the iPod for training their staff. NHS Greater Glasgow found that using an audio induction via an iPod with train all new employees at the same standard and will eliminate human error CITATION Mon09 l 1033 (Monarch Media, Inc., 2009). Not only is the use of iPods spreading to the adult demographic, but is also going below the teen group and hitting the young child age group. " 31% of kids ages 6 to 10 now use digital-music players, with iPod as the brand of choice for 54% of them CITATION Mon09 l 1033 (Monarch Media, Inc., 2009)”. These age demographics are catching onto the iPod trend because of how accessible and easy the iPod is to get and to use. Distribution is one of the key factors in Apple’s success with the iPod. Apple has 200 stores worldwide located in nine different countries and an online store. The online store is accessible from computers at home and for many more countries that do not have a brick and mortar stores CITATION App091 l 1033 (Apple Retail Store, 2009). All of these store options carry every available iPod model and their accessories. When coming into the market iPods were on the expensive side due to the fact that it was a new technology and product that was unfamiliar to the world. It was the first in its product line. Realizing the sales opportunities being missed out on in the middle and lower classes, the iPod products and prices changed to accommodate to meet the social structure differences. The middle class makes up 70% of the social structure and includes the working class which brings in a large amount of income and purchasing power CITATION Haw07 l 1033 (Hawkins, Mothersbaugh, & Best, 2007). Apple did a smart, beneficial move by introducing different models of the iPod such as the iPod shuffle which is a smaller, less glamorous version of the iPod but is much lower in price. By introducing the various models, Apple catered to the different social structures which have been very successful for them.<br />With the world being so diverse and the United States itself being the melting pot that it is, there are many cultures and subcultures that companies need to relate to and provide for. One of the ways that iPod does this is by having their website designed for many different countries and cultures. For example, you have an option to choose a country for your website. When choosing a different country it then changes the language on the page to accommodate the consumers’ needs. Another way would be how iTunes, the iPod music store, has a large variety of music for different ethnic subcultures including rap artists, country artists, Latin artists, Gospel artists, French artists, Irish artists, Spanish artists, etc. CITATION Che08 l 1033 (Cheng, 2008) Being able to reach these different subcultures begins with advertising, which Apple has done for the iPod with their unique, basic yet effective advertising. IPod commercials are known for their creativeness, vibrant color, dancing and music. The commercials tend to have a memorizing affect on watchers and have been known to get whatever song that is for the commercial stuck in anyone’s head. There have also been times when unpopular songs have become very popular and well known after being part of an iPod commercial. The commercials can relate and reach all the different subcultures because of the fundamentals that anyone can relate to: dance, music, color. IPod also does a good job of rotating through different artists from different music genres to attract the different subcultures. Outside of media advertising, Apple uses events to market their iPod line. In 2008 Apple held their “Let’s Rock” event that they held in order to show consumers what they’re new iPod products were and to formally introduce the various updates to the media. CITATION Che08 l 1033 (Cheng, 2008) Excelling in almost every aspect of their marketing strategies has pushed the Apple iPod above competitors and is what keeps them in the market leader position.<br />Group Influences<br />Without the dedicated consumer and the process of brand loyalty passed through the community, the iPod would have never made it to the level of success that it is at today. The brand community of music lovers has built a strong loyalty to the Apple iPod brand because of its ability to cater to all the needs that a consumer needs (i.e. the new iPod touch with hundreds of downloadable applications). With the internet having a huge impact on the business world, Apple has risen to conquer that as well for iPod with their iPod website and iTunes website. Both websites are very detailed and supportive that includes links for tutorials, how-to’s, Genius application, trouble shooting, discussion boards and more. It is easy to navigate through the websites which makes shopping or just searching an easy and enjoyable time which keeps iPod customers happy and loyal. The proof of this is shown after Apple released the information that over one billion downloads took place in the past 9 months CITATION App092 l 1033 (Apple iPod, 2009). Because of the popularity that has risen with the Apple iPod, informational group and identification group are the major influences on the iPod sales. Seeing and hearing about the millions of people using and enjoying Apples products along with the eye catching commercials have easily influenced consumers into buying an iPod. To add on top of that, word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most beneficial marketing strategies for Apple. Once a product that is accepted and loved as much as the iPod, spreading the word throughout communities is an easy and successful way to get a positive product positioning in the minds of consumers. <br />Recommendation1<br />Our first recommendation is that Apple should advertise and promote the iPod for more business related situations. Having new and different functions for the iPod will broaden the areas that it can be used in which will increase sales even more. The use of the iPod to train new employees is an excellent way to get the iPod into a different group of consumer’s hands that may not normally use an iPod. Apple offers a service called Podcast, which is a series of digital media files that is made available for download in iTunes. Podcasts would be a useful tool for businesses to give employees tutorials, instructions, training, or communicate instructions to the company globally. <br />Recommendation 2<br />Our second recommendation is that iPod should sponsor or hold more events that spread the iPod name out into the community in a social way. Besides the events that Apple holds to introduce the line updates, the iPod name isn’t seen in the event market. Sponsoring an event such as a music festival, sports tournament etc., would give iPod a chance to hold giveaways or hold product sampling so a buzz can be generated throughout the event. <br />Perception<br />Perception can be defined as “a single unified awareness derived from sensory processes while a stimulus is present” (Dictionary). However, it is also the first three steps in processing information; exposure, attention, and interpretation. These three factors are extremely important when advertisers are trying to make an exceptional first impression and maintaining that image. In regards to Apple’s iPod, there are many distinct factors in which separate this product from any others. <br />“Exposure occurs when a stimulus is placed within a person’s relevant environment and comes within range of their sensory receptor nerves” (Hawkins, Mothersbaugh, & Best, 2007). Consumers are involved with two types of exposure, selective and voluntary. When addressing selective exposure, Apple places iPods in many different pop culture situations. IPod products can be seen in popular media screenings such as The Simpsons, Stephen Colbert Report, Mad TV, and Scary Movie 4 (iPod in Pop Culture). Because of this, Apple is exposing the iPod to a specific target market, most likely consisting of young adults ranging from ages 18 to 30. This is very beneficial because that demographic is very likely to be interested in buying iPods. For voluntary exposure, Apple’s website practices a great method of permission based marketing. They offer a “stay in touch” option when a customer is checking out online. This option provides customers with news, updates, and special offers which allow them to be constantly updated about the software that they have, as well as show them the new products coming out. This could eventually lead to advocate customers who in return, are an extremely beneficial marketing source. <br />Capturing the attention of consumers is one of the most important aspects of marketing. Apple uses a multitude of stimulus factors when selling the iPod, it is able to acquire and maintain the market’s attention. When a consumer is walking through Best Buy, iPod’s can easily be found in the music section, on display. Thoughtfully, many products that Apple tries to sell which are related to the iPod are also positioned in the music section. This makes it easier for customers who are making the high-involvement purchase of an iPod to see other low-involvement products that compliment the iPod. Another way to attract customers to the iPod is the way in which the commercial advertisement is presented. By using bright and arousing colors such as orange, green, and red, viewers are stimulated and become interested in the commercial. The movement in the commercials also aids in gaining attention. The dancers and music scream high energy and immediately create awareness. One other element in the iPod commercial ads has to do with the contrast of the colors and the product. There is usually one solid color as the background and a black silhouette of the dancer. However, the iPod in their hand, along with the headphones, are white and basically the only defined object in the advertisement. This allows the ad to get the attention while the iPod becomes the main focus. Although these commercials seem very basic, Apple does an extraordinary job at avoiding the Adaption level theory. By having a variety of colors, music genres, and dancers, Apple is able to stay with the same basic format but still provides consumers with a wide assortment of advertisements, steering clear of adaption. <br />After capturing attention, the next step for marketers is to decide how they want consumers to interpret their ads and product. Affectively, iPod commercials trigger upbeat, high energy, and fun feelings and emotions. This allows the iPod to be placed into their evoked set, as well as relating these good feelings to this specific product. One factor that is extremely beneficial when selling the iPod is consumer’s tendency of expectation bias. People usually see Apple as a high end, good quality, and well known brand due to other products that they sell. So when marketing the iPod, Apple makes sure to put their logo in and on all ads so consumers relate the two. <br />Although ways to influence consumer’s perceptions of the iPod are addressed in the situations above, Apple has other marketing strategies which help catapult them to the top. The first has to do with brand extension. Apple has long been famous for their Mac computer; however, the iPod debut has been just as successful, helping boost their brand image. Using the trademark, “i”, Apple has successfully extended their iPod brand into a multitude of products. From the original iPod came iPod minis, iPod shuffles, iPod nanos, and eventually the iTouch. Accessories such as the iLounge and the iHome are other products complimenting the original iPod. Each one of the extensions is now perceived with the same quality and image as the original iPod. They have created more awareness and assurance for the Apple brand and the signature “i”. <br />The second marketing strategy used by Apple is Co-Branding. Teaming up with the ever famous Nike brand, the Nike+ was created. This product is a running shoe which uses the iPod and iTunes to play appropriate paced music, as well as track a runner’s speed and distance (Nike, 2009). By doing this, the Apple iPod has placed their name with another high end, high quality brand, giving them both more credibility and more exposure to a different target market. One suggestion for the iPod would be to team up with an even bigger phenomenon, reality television. The show “Biggest Loser” is a popular, prime time, reality series. If the iPod teamed up with this show, or even 24 Hour Fitness, the sponsored gym in the show, they could market to so many more people. By having iPod docks on the treadmills or something, Apple would influence their product perception to a target market who is interested in losing weight or working out. <br />The third strategy Apple used to influence consumer’s perceptions is through their package design. The boxes that the iPods come in are very plain and clutter free. They have a picture of the product on the outside of the box so customers know exactly what they are getting. The sleek and sophisticated look impacts how consumers interpret the iPod. Consumers aren’t confused with a bunch of technological terms; they have a simple picture of the product to reduce confusion.<br />Learning, Memory, and Product Positioning<br />The impact that a vendor has on consumer’s learning and memory is vital in creating a lasting impression. Because Apple has a strong brand image, they have been able to affect consumers’ semantic memory. Their basic knowledge and feelings toward the Apple brand can usually be related back to high quality electronics and their dedication to customer satisfaction. When dealing with episodic memory, the memory of a sequence of events in which a person participated” (Hawkins, Mothersbaugh, & Best, 2007), Apple is “committed to creating and ensuring high standards of social responsibility, and [they] insist on business partners who share [their] vision of a better world” (Apple, 2009). This ensures that customers are not only satisfied with their purchase, but also see Apple as caring about social responsibility. According to Consumer Behavior, the way in which information is stored in a consumer’s memory is much more important than what the information stored is. Apple takes multiple approaches to ensure that consumers store a positive and long lasting memory of their brand and products. <br />One approach used by Apple is creating relevant associations between their iPod ads and concepts. This technique also referred to as a schema, uses product characteristics, usage situation, episodes, and affective reactions to trigger feelings and memory through personal experience (Hawkins, Mothersbaugh, & Best, 2007). Apple creates ads involving running and working out, partying and dancing, as well as different colors and styles so consumers can associate their personal experiences with each different ad situation. For instance, the iPod Shuffle has unique characteristics such as a petite size as well as a very simple play, pause, next song format so consumers associate the use of this particular product as being beneficial when running, going to the gym, or even doing yard work outside. Not only do the different usage situations affect schematic memory, they also create the opportunity for dual coding. Dual coding involves storing information in different ways, which in return results in more internal pathways for retrieving information (Hawkins, Mothersbaugh, & Best, 2007). By having these varied themed ads, Apple makes information storing and retrieval more effective. The Apple iTouch is a new iPod which resembles the iPhone and offers customers with many different usage opportunities. The advertising for the iTouch exemplifies these unique characteristics, permitting customers to associate the iTouch with many different situations. <br />Another approach to positively affect consumers learning and memory is through script. This deals with the “memory of how an action sequence should occur (Hawkins, Mothersbaugh, & Best, 2007). Because the consumption of a product often involves information search, acquiring the product, and in some way disposing of the product, Apple has taken into consideration how consumers are affected by this. When ordering online, Apple offers free shipping to receive products, as well as free recycling. This allows consumers to imagine the ease of purchasing and disposing of an iPod, helping the storage of information to be positive.<br />The strength of learning is a very important component in effective marketing. Because the iPod can be a high-involvement purchase, the information being learned often is considered important. This makes the high-involvement learning more complete. The mood of the consumer plays a big role in how, if at all, they store information. Since Apple is a higher quality brand, and the iPod is a high tech device, Apple should avoid playing iPod commercials during children’s programs, as well as programs aimed at the elderly. I would recommend that iPods are advertised on comical sitcoms or MTV and VH1 programs. This is because MTV and VH1 viewers are likely to be interested in music, making the iPod very appealing to them. Also, when consumers watch enjoyable programs that put them in a good mood, they are more likely to obtain the information from the iPod commercial, making it more effective. Another way Apple increases the strength of learning is through repetition. By airing iPod commercials multiple times, consumer’s initial learning of the product becomes much stronger. They do, however, avoid advertising wear out by creating the same theme of commercials with different songs or situations. This is very important so that consumers do not begin to stop paying attention to the iPod commercials all around. One suggestion for Apple to aid in creating a strong initial learning is to create more commercials with duel coding. For example, by airing a commercial for the iTouch, Apple could show the different usage situations for the product and in result, when retrieving information about the iPod, consumers will have multiple reference points for that one specific product.<br />One issue that marketers face has to do with consumers and memory interference. Apple has developed many marketing techniques to avoid this particular interference. The first way is to strengthen the initial learning through the methods above. Secondly, Apple is very successful in reducing similarity to competing ads. iPod ads are very simple yet equally attractive. They avoid having too much visual activity as well information overload. This creates a distinct difference between Apple and its competing brands, making it so that consumers do not have any confusion or interference when thinking about the iPod. The third technique used to avoid interference is by providing external retrieval cues through the word “i”. By having this trademark word before many of their electronic products, iPhone, iPod, iTouch, and iTunes, consumers can automatically relate the iPod to other successful Apple brands, giving them uniqueness and originality. <br />Brand Image and Product Positioning <br />The final aspects which Apple must consider when dealing with learning and memory are brand image and product positioning. Apple has a very strong brand image. Because their other products such as the Mac Book and the iPhone have been very successful for many years, consumers relate the iPod to their other products, creating high brand equity. Having this sturdy brand image is important in gaining and maintaining a competitive advantage. Product positioning is also crucial in positively affecting consumer learning. If the iPod were to be placed on a perceptual map, the landing spot is very unique compared to other music products. This is because the iPod would fall under into many different positions. Since Apple offers low-storage, smaller iPod shuffles as well as high-storage, larger iPods, consumers looking for different product features from simplicity to price, usually can find one of the multiple iPod products to be fitting for their needs. <br />Recommendation 3<br />One suggestion for the iPod would be to team up with an even bigger phenomenon, reality television. The show “Biggest Loser” is a popular, prime time, reality series. If the iPod teamed up with this show, or even 24 Hour Fitness, the sponsoring gym in the show, they could market to so many more people. By having iPod decks on the treadmills, or even giving the contestants an iPod at the beginning of the show to use during their workouts, Apple would influence consumers’ perceptions of a target market who is interested in losing weight or working out.<br />Recommendation 4<br />A second suggestion we would recommend that iPods are advertised on comical sitcoms or MTV and VH1 programs. This is because MTV and VH1 viewers are likely to be interested in music, making the iPod very appealing to them. Also, when consumers watch enjoyable programs that put them in a good mood, they are more likely to obtain the information from the iPod commercial, making it more effective.<br />Recommendation 5<br />Our third suggestions we recommend for Apple would be to aid in creating a strong initial learning to create more commercials with duel coding. For example, by airing a commercial for the iTouch, Apple could show the different usage situations for the product and in result, when retrieving information about the iPod, consumers will have multiple reference points for that one specific product.<br />Ecommerce<br />When the internet first came about, it was seen to be weak, a waste of marketing time and money, and eventually would be unsuccessful. However, these forecasts could not have been anymore wrong. Today, the internet is not only thriving, it is dominating the market. This is why e-marketing is essential in a company’s marketing success. There are two things which are crucial in online marketing: website design and function, and perceived risk. First, I am going to analyze Apple’s website’s design and function in regards to their marketing strategy, using the 7C’s of website design: content, context, community, customization, communication, connection, and commerce (Rayport and Jaworski, 2001). The content of the Apple website includes the aesthetic feel as well as the actual functionality. The aesthetics of this website are very simple and chic. Clean lines and simple colors create a very sophisticated and user friendly feel. The actual function of Apple’s site makes it very easy for users to search for specific items as well as brows through general categories. The context of this website is just as important as the content. The context includes all of the graphics, offering mix, and overall content. Because Apple offers a wide variety of iPod designs, colors, and styles, seeing a detailed picture of the products is very important to consumers. Apple does a great job at keeping a minimal amount of graphics on their webpage to avoid clutter, as well as give consumers satisfying pictures of products offered. One other very important aspect of the website’s context is having current and accurate content. By constantly updating the website with current sales, technology information, and Apple’s RSS Feeds, consumers can be assured that no out-of-date information is being released to them. Customization is a great way for online marketers to reach out to individual needs and gain repeat customers. Customers are able to register an account with the website. This allows Apple to tailor to the customer’s purchasing and browsing habits. Also, the shopping cart option gives customers an organized and personal way to purchase products<br />The content, context, and customization of a website are very important in consumer perception and attitude. However, community and communication play a vital role in information search and building customer loyalty. The community of a website entails consumer to consumer relationships and discussing topics involving Apple’s products, as well as the brand as a whole. Because word-of-mouth has become a marketing tool in and of itself, a website’s community can sometimes make or break brand image. A great recommendation for the Apple website would be to create a section where consumers can go and blog or chat about their product experiences with other customers. Just as importantly, the communication between a business and its consumers can be detrimental to the company if not made a top priority. Apple offers a multitude of tech and customer support.<br />A website’s connection and commerce are the last pieces in creating a successful website. In marketing, creating brand or product awareness seems to be half the battle. Just as an ad in a magazine or a billboard on the side of the road creates awareness, banner ads and link-in’s from other sites are a great marketing tool. Apple uses link-in’s from different sites such as Google and Best Buy to help inform customers about their products and optimally gain click-throughs. Once consumers click through to the Apple site, the commerce part becomes a huge issue. Apple’s website has a privacy policy as well as guarantee payment security. They have shipping and return policies and ways to track orders. All of these are essential in making online purchases stress-free. <br />Recommendation 6<br />The community of a website entails consumer to consumer relationships and discussing topics involving Apple’s products, as well as the brand as a whole. Because word-of-mouth has become a marketing tool in and of itself, a website’s community can sometimes make or break brand image. A great recommendation for the Apple website would be to create a section where consumers can go and blog or chat about their product experiences with other customers.<br />Latent and Manifest Motives<br />Apple iPod has created an iPod community, a community that fashion savvy consumers crave to be a part of. Being part of this international craze of the black silhouette and white iPod has become unstoppable. Many consumers will openly admit that having an iPod isn’t just to listen to music on the move, but to become a part of a trendy, young community. IPod is a need for affiliation as owners can share and exchange music and playlists. IPod is a symbol of achievement. IPod is considered a luxury technology brand, which motivates consumers to buy one and be part of that luxurious lifestyle. <br />Many people’s manifest motives for buying an iPod are: small size, large storage capacity, the 2-inch screen that is big and sharp enough to read text easily, the ability to sort stored and labeled music by categories, and the rechargeable lithium battery (Knapp, 2003). Along with all these great features, the iPod also is reportedly the lightest and smallest of the hard-drive portable players. The iPod is very easy for any age to use; it is self explanatory and has an accessible music database/store (I-Tunes). The reasons that I just mentioned are all reasons that consumers are comfortable admitting as to why they buy the Apple iPod over the other brands. The technological aspect of an iPod is an obvious reason why you would buy an iPod and consumers will freely admit that. Apple does a good job of making sure that they are always making improvements and new models as technology advances throughout the globe. I think that by them having stores that consumers and visit along with an in store genius bar for technological help, it sways consumers more towards the Apple brand. <br />The latent motives to buying an iPod are a little different. Consumers are either unaware of their latent motives or are reluctant to admit them (Hawkins, Mothersbaugh, & Best, 2007). Apple did a good job of identifying consumer’s latent motives and targeting them. “Apple was the first company to realize that gizmo players are as much about personal expression as they are about function” (Woyke, 2008). Companies that make most hand-held electronic devices never paid attention to color. They thought that it wasn’t important and were almost always produced in conservative colors. When consumers are shopping and see ten different black music players and one pink one, their eye is naturally drawn to the pink one. “That's because our emotional reactions to color guide our shopping decisions, says Eiseman” (HYPERLINK "" Wyoke, 2008). Many consumers do not like to admit their reasons for buying an iPod. Consumes enjoy the iPod because not only is it a flashy electronic toy, but they can express their personality and individualism through the color they purchase. IPod has nine different colors, one for everyone. IPods are the number one selling hand-held music playing device and everyone wants to be a part of the craze. Most consumers don’t want to admit that they bought an iPod because of its fashion statement; they always say it is because of its advanced technology and brand equity. Owning an iPod isn’t just about technology convince, it is about making a statement and being part of the Apple phenomenon.<br />Brand Equities and Personality<br />Over time Apple has created brand equity for itself. Apple has become a luxury technology brand and is a must have in some consumers minds. Apple has created a name for itself and is very popular among teens, young adults, and college campuses. Since iPod is associated with Apple it has gotten to share in their brand equity. IPod was not the first digital media player available, but it has effectively elevated itself in this market. Many consumers automatically call any digital music player in the market an iPod, regardless of whether the device is made by Apple. The name itself, which is simple and easy to remember, invokes a sense of available technology. Therefore, the iPod name has come to create a category for itself.<br />The other half to an iPod is the computer software that is strongly associated with the brand. When an iPod is purchased, an iTunes account must be instantly set up in order to use the iPod to its full potential. ITunes can only be used with an iPod and no other digital music player. It is part of the Apple company now and very easy to use. You can buy music, search music, and download music onto iTunes. Because of the close relationship that iPod and iTunes have created, Apple decided to advertise them in the same ads. This type of marketing gives the consumer the idea that the two products effectively go hand-in-hand. <br />Among the iPod’s key differentiators from other hand-held media players its capacity to store vast numbers of songs is a huge perk. Apple was the first to introduce a media player capable of holding over 1000 songs, which is original marketing loudly expressed. Prior to the invention of the iPod many hand held devices could not even hold 100 songs (Caulfield, 2009). Since the introduction of the Apple iPod many other media players have followed in offering larger storage capacity. Although other media players have hit the market, Apple has kept its leadership spot, still offering the largest storage capacity with every new model they make.<br /> The iPod has a very strong and recognizable personality because it is such a unique product. One of the main characteristic is posses is its innovation and creativity. The iPod brand prides itself as being innovative at all times. The original iPod embodied an imaginative idea that appealed favorable to music lovers alike. Following the original iPod, Apple continued its quest and released more updated and innovative models many of which include video capabilities and reduction in size (Graham, 2006). Apple’s ability to continuously produce top of the line media players makes its names parallel with innovation. The iPods innovative personality is not just in its technology, it is in its musical and cultural creativity. The iPod does an outstanding job of advertising their brand and products as hip, fashionable, and cutting edge. Many of the iPods color schemes and commercials label them as bold and energetic. The advertising choice of loud, attention-grabbing dancing and fast paced music is in almost every marketing campaign. All this dancing and bold colors gives the brand a sense of confidence and energy. This fits with the range of cultural images that have developed as the “typical” iPod user- from joggers to fast-paced urban professionals to their biggest target, students. <br />In almost every commercial advertising iPod you will see the black silhouette and the strings of the infamous white ear buds. Apple’s signature white ear bud headphones with the long white wire come packaged along with every iPod (Apple, 2009). These white ear buds have become linked to the iPod, anytime anyone is seen wearing the long white cord they are automatically assumed to be using an iPod. <br />Attitudes and Influencing Attitudes <br />Apple has created a certain attitude initiator for their iPod. They have created advanced products, attractive retail outlets, powerful advertisements, and a positive attitude toward their brand. Apple’s cognitive component consists of a consumer’s believes about an object (Hawkins, Mothersbaugh, & Best, 2007). Apple has positioned itself in young consumer’s minds as a must. They have created a belief that the iPod is not just a necessity for all your music needs, but as a fashion accessory. Most consumers beliefs about Apple are positive beliefs associated with the brand. Because iPod has become the number one selling hand-held media player that boosts peoples beliefs in itself. When consumers have a positive attitude about your brand or product it boosts your sales. <br />The iPod is considered a fashion accessory. It expresses your personality and lets you venture off into a world of music. IPod has positioned itself in the market as creating an individual, having fun, being old, and independent. When you put in those white ear buds, you can’t help but nod your head and lose yourself in the music. People feel very strong about their iPod; they feel like the iPod is a necessity and can’t be left at home. Most of the people that we gave out survey (see appendix) to said that they love their iPod and can’t imagine not owning one. People’s feelings towards the iPod get stronger and stronger as they use their iPod more. “I love my iPod” implies positive affective reactions to specific aspects of the product, in combination with feelings about other attributes, will determine the overall reaction to the brand (Hawkins, Mothersbaugh, & Best, 2007).<br />The behavior component is the last part of the attitude model. A series of decisions to purchase or not purchase the Apple iPod or to recommend it to friends would reflect the behavioral component. Brand interest, as represented by tendencies to seek out the brand on store shelves and search for brand information (Hawkins, Mothersbaugh, & Best, 2007). Because consumers have heard so many positive things about the iPod and most of their friends own one, they seek out the iPod at stores. They will go to a specific store or the Apple store itself to obtain the product. When consumers see someone else carrying an iPod their attitude towards them automatically changes and they see themselves as equals.<br />Consumer’s attitudes towards a product have a lot to do with their decision process to purchase the item. If they have heard negative things about the product, they will have a negative attitude towards the product. IPod has become so popular among consumers that they have created a very positive attitude toward their product. Most consumers that took our survey had very positive attitudes about the iPod. <br />Recommendation 7<br />Although celebrity endorsements were not discussed in the attitude section, celebrity endorsements are part of consumer’s attitude toward the brand. Celebrity endorsements gain attention toward the ad, can shift the consumers attitude toward the ad, gain trustworthiness, gain expertise, give them apparitional aspects, and a meaning to transfer (Hawkins, Mothersbaugh, & Best, 2007). We think celebrity endorsements give the product creditability and like the book said gains trustworthiness among consumers. Currently, Apple does not use any celebrity endorsements to sell their iPod. In the book it says that 26% of respondents are more likely to buy a product endorsed by Michael Jordan, one of the most trusted celebrity athletes. We know that iPod sells are already very high from their unique advertising style and word of mouth, but we believe that Apple could boost them even more if they had a credible celebrity endorse them. IPods have become a universal necessity, not just among college students and teens, but among celebrities and sports icons. We think that it would be beneficial to Apple to have a popular and well known celebrity endorser to help boost the credibility and positive attitude toward the iPod.<br /> Situational Influences<br />The consumer has many influences that will affect their purchasing decision. Not only do they have to overcome both external and internal influences, but they must also deal with situational influences. All consumers are affected by the events that occur, and they make their decision based on both the marketing influence and situation. iPod has to take necessary precautions to attempt to reduce the situations that have a negative impact on their marketing and overall sales.<br />A precaution that Apple iPod takes to limit their situational influences is by having retail outlets that only sell Apple products. These retail stores have employees that are there to explain all the products and features to the consumers. Apple even has a genius bar where people can bring back their Apple merchandise to get fixed or ask questions on how to use the product. Consumers can also set up appointments to have a specialist meet them in the store and explain all the benefits, accessories, and attributes of the products. By having employees that know everything about the products and are able to communicate to the consumer how to use the product, it makes the decision process a lot easier on the consumer (Apple, 2009).<br />Another factor that can have a huge influence on a consumer’s decision process is the physical surroundings of the retail store. Physical surroundings include sounds, lighting, aromas and just the general atmosphere. Apple iPod makes sure their retail outlets are aesthetically pleasing to their consumers. They have white walls so that their products stand out, especially their iPods which are sold in vibrant colors. The store is bright and inviting. The employees wear bright baby blue shirts in order to make them stand out. The greeter has a bright orange shirt and will help the consumers find the specialist they need to answer their product questions (Apple, 2009). As for the layout of the store, it was recently changed in October of 2005 to better fit the customer’s needs. Due to the increasing sales that the iPod was generating in the retail stores, Apple moved the iPod to the front of the store by the entrance to make it the focus point for when customers walk in. There is a large white oval iPod display counter that is positioned outside the store so consumers are attracted to the product before they even get inside the store (Store Layout Makeover, 2005).<br />Apple iPod is able to control the situational influences in their retail stores, but they are not able to control the environment in other retail stores that sell their products like Best Buy or Wal-Mart. These other retail stores sell a wide variety of electronics and other brands. Best Buy sells Apple iPods along with its competition Zuni, Samsung, and Sony MP3 players (MP3 Players, 2009). These situational influences play a large role in the consumer decision process. Now price and other factors are taken into account. Another factor that is changed by selling iPods in other retail stores is the employees. These other retail stores may be more convenient for the shopper, but the employees will not know as much about iPods as the employees at Apple do. They also might not sell all the accessories that the consumer is looking for due to the fact that they only carry a limited amount of the Apple products (The Stores, 2008). The last problem that Apple faces is that employees at other stores are not able to fix a product that is having functioning problems. <br />The physical surroundings are also affected by selling iPods in other retail stores. They will no longer stand out to the consumer as they did in Apple stores. Since other retail stores sells many different brands, the Apple iPod will not be the center of attention, and it may be placed in the back corner of the store instead of being displayed by the entrance where consumers are more likely to see it (The Stores, 2008). The iPod will be displayed with other MP3 players that might change the customer’s decision based on pricing factors or memory storage. <br />These factors caused Apple to open up their own retail stores in order to attract new customers and retain their old customers. They wanted to have more control of their retail environment. In Apples 2005 annual report, Apple stated, “By operating its own stores and building them in desirable high traffic locations, the Company is able to better control the customer retail experience and attract new customers” (The Stores, 2008). Today Apple has over 200 stores worldwide, including places like the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, and Switzerland. The majority of their stores are located all throughout the United States (Apple Retail Store, 2009).<br />Consumer Decision Process and Problem Recognition<br />Once the consumer finds the physical surrounding that suites them the best, they have to choose the product they want. Since Apple iPods are rather expensive, ranging anywhere in price from the iPod Shuffle costing $79 to the iPod Touch costing $399, and because there are so many different alternative products available, the consumer is involved in an extended decision making purchase (Shop iPod, 2009). With this kind of a purchase, the consumer usually will conduct both an internal and external information search, and then they will evaluate all the alternatives and their attributes before purchasing a product. Even after they purchase the product, they will go through a post purchase process that will make them decide whether or not they should keep the product.<br />Before the consumer is involved in the extended decision process, they will first have to identify that they have a desired state that they want to fulfill. Consumers have to believe that they will not be truly happy until they own an iPod. They have to recognize a problem and resolve the problem by buying an iPod. Apple makes consumers feel like they need to own an iPod by showing commercials where people are dancing and singing along to their music. Apple has slogans that show the iPod is made for everyone by saying things like a little video for everyone. Consumers make the iPod into what they want it to be. It is a storage device where people can have all the music they like whenever they want it. The iPods have continued to improve over the years. When iPods first came out, they were just devices that played music. The first iPod only contained a 5GB hard drive when it was released in October 2001 (Hormby, 2007). Now there is the iPod Touch which allows its users to store and listen to music, browse the internet, watch videos whether it is music or a full film, and even play games. It also includes a high definition touch screen (Shop iPod, 2009)<br />Information Search <br />Once the consumer has recognized that their desired state is not fulfilled and therefore they have recognized a problem, they begin to search for information on what types of products are in their evoked set and choose the one that best suits their needs. The consumer will first compare different brands and decide whether or not an iPod or one of its competitor brands will fulfill their desired state. All the brands that make MP3 players will be involved in the consumer’s awareness set. After they have researched each brand, they will narrow their search to the top three brands they want to choose their product from and this is considered their evoked set. In order to narrow the search to find their evoked set, consumers will have to conduct both internal and external searches. Their personal experiences, which involve whether or not they have ever owned an iPod, will help to narrow the search dramatically, and then they will have to acquire information through personal contacts and research. Once they have their evoked set, the consumer then research’s each brand before they make their purchasing decision. <br />The iPod might control most of the market share, but there is a lot of competition in this industry. Everyday companies create products to compete with one of the iPod products. iPod came out with the new iPod Touch, that is equipped with a touch, high definition screen and Wi-Fi so the operator can surf the internet to buy music or video’s online. The consumers can choose what size hard drive they need since the Touch is equipped with an 8GB, 16GB, or a 32GB hard drive. Prices for the iPod Touch range from $229.99 to $399.99 depending on what size hard drive the consumer wants (Shop iPod, 2009). Samsung has invented the Samsung Yepp YP-P2 which is currently the iPod Touch’s biggest competition (Patterson, 2007). This MP3 player includes a touch screen navigation system, Bluetooth capability, and an FM radio tuner. It plays videos and has windows software so it allows the user more freedom of where they want to download their music. The iTouch only can download music from iTunes. There are downsides to this player, it does not allow the user to surf the internet like the iPod Touch, its screen is not high definition so the videos are not as clear, and the largest hard drive sold for this player is 8GB. Even though the Samsung Yepp YP-P2 is not as technologically equipped as the Touch, it only costs $179.99 which is about $50 less than the 8GB iPod Touch, making it a fierce competitor of the iPod (MP3 Players, 2009).<br />Another strong competitor for the iPod is the Sansa View which has a lot of the same characaristics as the iPod Nano Chromatic. These two players even look the same. The Sansa View can play videos, it has an FM tuner, and it comes with a 32GB hard drive. This device costs $219 (MP3 Players, 2009). The Nano Chromatic also plays videos, comes in a variety of different colors, has internet access and comes in either an 8GB or 16GB hard drive. The Nano ranges in price from $149 to $199 (Shop iPod, 2009). <br />iPods biggest competitor is the Zune which compares to its iPod Classic. Both of these players are bigger than most music playing devices due to the fact that they both have a 120GB hard drives. The iPod Classic has a smaller screen than the Zune, but it has internet capability, can be bought in either white or black, and it costs $249 (Shop iPod, 2009). The Zune has a larger screen, an FM tuner, and internet capabilities. The Zune can be bought in either red or black and it only costs $249.99 (MP3 Players, 2009). While iPod is better than the other products discussed, its Classic is matched by the Zune, and iPod has to work to find a way to overshadow the Zune.<br />Everyday the iPod has to deal with fierce competition and try to find ways to stay ahead of their competitors. As long as iPod continues to develop and make inprovements to their products, they will make the decision process very easy for their consumers, and make it so price does not matter as much as quality. Once the consumer has decided that they want an Apple product, they then have to decide what product they want. <br />Alternative Evaluation and Selection <br />The information search helped the consumer determine that the iPod brand will satisfy the consumer’s problem. Now the consumer has chosen the brand of product they will purchase and begins to evaluate the criteria involved with the different iPods. The three major categories of iPod consist of the iPod Touch, Nano, and Shuffle. Each of the different categories are designed to meet different consumer needs. The difference in evaluative criteria for each category will be discussed in greater detail. <br />The iPod Touch has different criteria than the iPod Classic, Nano or Shuffle. The iPod Touch consists of two major criteria that distinguish it from the other iPods. The iPod Touch incorporates a full touch screen navigation system. (Product Info , 2009) The navigation system allows consumers to enter different settings on the iPod with the touch of a finger. Through the different settings the consumer has the option to listen to music, play games, watch video, or surf the web. (iPod , 2009) The second distinguishing characteristic that the iPod Touch has incorporated is its wireless internet capabilities. Wireless internet allows the consumers to have the internet in the palm of their hand. (Evans, 2007) <br />IPod Classics are vey bulky in design comparatively to the other iPods. Classics have only one distinct advantage over other iPods which is their relatively high memory capacity. The iPod Classic consists of one hundred and twenty gigabytes of memory. (Evans, 2007) This is almost equivalent to some cheaper laptops, which have around one hundred and sixty gigabytes. iPod Classics also have the ability to listen to music, play games and watch videos. (iPod , 2009) <br />The iPod Nano has two distinct criteria that can be used to evaluate between the iPods. The first characteristic is the sleek slim design of the Nano. This incorporates a two inch by one inch screen that allows the consumers to view videos, play games, and listen to music. The second characteristic is the large selection of different colors available. (iPod , 2009) Apple incorporates nine different colors that the consumer can assess. These colors range from black and gray and even blue and yellow. <br />iPod shuffles are the smallest iPod that Apple has created. This iPod has no screen only a navigation wheel. (iPod , 2009)This particular iPod only allows the consumer to listen to music unlike the others that allow for watching video and playing games. Since the Shuffle has no screen, the consumer is not able to see which song is playing and who the artist is. The iPod Shuffle is extremely small, simple, and easy to use. <br />Now that we understand the different criteria of each iPod, the consumer must evaluate the importance of each criterion. Looking at the consumer’s decision process, it is apparent that consumers evaluate iPods on the usage situation or how the product will be used. The usage situation for the iPod Touch becomes apparent to consumers that are heavy internet users. Consumers that choose to purchase the iPod Touch fell that the greatest advantage the Touch has over the others is its ability to access the internet. This was especially true for business men purchasing the iPod Touch, and the ease of checking their email. (Weintraub, 2007) <br />The iPod classic has a different situation usage than any other iPod. Consumers that fall into this category have a large collection of video or music. Due to the large capacity that the Classic has, it aligns well with music and video fans. (Patterson, 2007) Consumers that purchased iPod Classics seemed to fall under the category of excessive music or video buffs. These consumers also seemed to travel a greater amount than any other group. <br />iPod Nano had two major buying groups that both have different situation usages. The first is the middle aged consumers. These consumers have a need for a small music player that would be comfortable and easy to hold while working out. The slim design was built especially well for consumers that were looking to use this device while running or bike ride. The second groups of consumers are teens, whose main focus was on the different colors. It was apparent that teens that were looking to purchase iPod Nano’s had observed advertisements that influenced the colors of the iPod, making the color become an important evaluative criteria between the other iPods. <br />The Situation usage for the iPod Shuffle was exclusively for fitness purposes. Consumers found that the iPod Shuffles main purpose was to listen to music, while involved in another activity. (Murph, 2009) The major reason is that it doesn’t have a screen to allow for anything other than listening to music. The small design of the Shuffle permits comfort while consumers work out. It also comes in a multiple colors, though this was found to have no effect on the consumer decision process. <br />Situation usage has shown to be a major criterion for the purchase of a particular iPod. Though it is an important criterion, price has also shown to be a huge determining factor on which iPod a consumer chooses. When looking at the price differences, the iPod Touch is the most expensive. Then price distribution goes down from the Classic iPod to Nano, then to the Shuffle. <br />The evaluation and selection process allowed the consumer to found the distinguishing characteristics between each iPod. They then narrowed their decision down by looking at two or three iPods that would allow them the greatest use of the product. Finally the consumer uses a rule that determines which evaluative criteria is of the highest importance. This could be the price, size, function, and look. Some consumers felt that price was not a critical criterion and would base their purchase decision on another factor. While others felt that all criterion were important. Now the consumer has determine which iPod to purchase they must decide which outlet and location to purchase the product. <br />Outlet Selection and Purchase <br />Outlet selection is the next step in the consumer decision process. Through this process the consumer must decide if they want to buy the product online or from a physical store. Since iPods are somewhat expensive in price, they tend to be of high involvement. High involvement products are product that consumers take a substantial amount of time in evaluating its attributes. If the product has high involvement it is more common for the consumer to want to tangibly touch the product. An exception to this situation is if the customer is making a repeat purchase of the same or similar product. IPods are considered high involvement product so we will focus most of our attention on physical stores attributes. <br />IPods are sold in two major physical locations, the store brand or Apple store as well as Best Buy retail store. When consumers make the decision to purchase an iPod they must decide where they will make the purchase. There are several key factors that influence consumer to decide which store to buy from. The first key factor that is involved in outlet selection is the store location. The second factor is the perceived risk, or the cost associated with choosing this particular location. The last two key factors are atmospherics, as well as sales personal. <br />Store location is in essence the distance from the individual to the location of the consumer good. Apple’s distribution of iPods is very spacious. Most Apple stores are located in or around shopping malls. Their main distribution is through Best Buy retail stores. These two distribution outlets can have a huge impact on the motivation an individual has to purchase the product. If an outlet is too far from where the individual lives they may feel that it is not worth traveling to that outlet to purchase the iPod. This leads to the second point, of what risks are associated with choosing a particular outlet. <br />Deciding which outlet to purchase from can contain external costs. The first cost that is considered is the social cost of choosing a particular outlet. Social costs are referred to as costs looked upon as negative to the individual’s social group. For example, a person may feel less worthy by buying their product from Best Buy instead of the Apple Store itself. The second cost that is incorporated with outlet selection is financial costs. Financial cost is assigning extra cost associated with driving to purchase the iPod. If the iPod is too far away, the consumer may determine if the product is worth the extra money to drive to that location. Last is time cost, which is the opportunity cost associated with the purchase. Is the time it takes to drive to the location worth the value of the iPod? It is very important for Apple to understand that there are extrinsic costs associated with outlet selection. <br />Another deciding factor that is related to outlet selection for iPods is the store atmospherics. Atmospherics are the physical elements in the environment that creates different mood responses for shoppers. (Hawkins, Mothersbaugh, & Best, 2007) Store atmospherics have a major impact on the decision of where a consumer will purchase the product. If the stores atmospherics are not in line with the consumer, they will feel that the store’s image is less quality. A great example of this is how brightly lighted the Apple stores are. The use of the bright lighting emphasizes the Apple products to give them a sense of high quality. As well as the lighting there is very little use of color throughout the store. The main focus of color appears on the Apple products which accentuate the room drawing in all the attention. Atmospherics give value to the product and also can be a deciding factor for consumers on choosing which location to purchase their products from. <br />The final factor that contributes to outlet selection is the Sales Personnel. Sales personnel contribute a huge amount when consumers are deciding which outlet to purchase from. Consumers that are looking to purchase iPods that have little understanding of the product rely heavily on the information that is presented by the sales associates. This works out well, because iPods are high involvement products. It is also important for sales associate to get an understanding of why the consumer is going to use the product. If a sales person recommends the wrong iPod that won’t fit the consumers needs, there is a possibility the consumer will experience post purchase dissonance, which will be discussed later in this paper. <br />Once a consumer has decided to make the purchase, they must decide which outlet to purchase from. This could be either the Apple store or Best Buy. When consumers are deciding which outlet to shop at, they will decide which outlet to choose from by the four factors which are location, costs, atmospherics, and sales personal. If a consumer feels any of these factors are not considered it may result in the customer going to another location to purchase the product. <br />Post purchase Processes, Customer Satisfaction<br />After a purchase is made there are several emotional experiences the consumer can feel. Since the consumer has alternatives that could have been chosen, the consumer sometimes questions their final decision. The three factors that accommodate this experience are post-purchase dissonance, use/nonuse, and evaluation of the product. If any of these factors do not meet the consumers’ expectations the result will conclude with a negative perspective of the product. <br />Once the consumer has made the purchase they can sometimes feel a sense of doubt or anxiety. This is what markers refer to as post-purchase dissonance. Consumers usually experience post-purchase dissonance when the product has high involvement. (Nadeem, 2007) iPods are high involvement and each iPod has very different features. Consumers that have chosen one iPod over another might feel doubt that another alternative would have better suited their needs. In this case the consumer might feel they chose the wrong rules that were used to evaluate which criteria were most important. If this occurs there is a high probability that the purchaser will feel post-purchase dissonance. <br />After a purchase is made the product can fall into two categories of use or nonuse. Use refers to the products usage for its intended purpose, where product nonuse is relatively the opposite. The consumer determines which category the iPod falls into. If a consumer purchases an iPod Shuffle to use while working out, then decides to stop working out, then the product will descend into the nonuse category. If the product falls into the nonuse category it will likely have negative referrals or will result in the consumer not purchasing similar items. <br />The final step in the consumer decision making processes is the evaluation of the product. The only way to eliminate post-purchase dissonance is when the consumer uses the product and it conforms to their expectations. (Nadeem, 2007) When the consumer gets the iPod home and begins to use the product they can decide if the product will fulfill their needs. If the iPod will accomplish the needs of the product it is considered to be satisfactory. If it does not it is considered non-satisfactory. The evaluation process is the most crucial aspect, because this will determine if the customer will repurchase Apple products. If the consumer feels that the product they purchased is non-satisfactory there will be a likely chance the consumer will look to purchase from another company. <br />The consumer decision process is a very important process in understanding the steps that consumers take to make the purchase of an Apple iPod. The post purchase segment of the process is the determining factor if the consumer will purchase products from Apple or turn to a competitor. Apple should use techniques to keep the consumers dissonance as low as possible when purchasing a product. If the consumer feels high levels of dissonance the result will lead to high expectations. When expectations are not met, the consumer considers the product to be unsatisfactory leading to a loss of market share. <br />Recommendation 8 <br />Research found that there is a huge market segment that could be reached by Apple. According to MacWorld there are only six percent of iPod owners with a demographic of fifty and older. (Loechner, 2005) Apple has very little marketing and promotion to the baby boomer generation. Apple has focused almost all promotional attention on younger generations. When watching an iPod commercial there seems to be younger actors that are promoting the different iPods. The iPod Nano commercial shows a young boy dancing around listening to his iPod, with bright vibrant lighting. Some commercials focused on games that would not appeal to older generations. These commercial have shown that Apple has an immense focus on younger generations.<br />We feel that Apple iPod can bring both younger and older generations together without affecting their brand image. They can persuade older consumers into believing the iPod is not just a product for younger generations; but at the same time keep the credibility of the product for the youth. We feel that Apple can focus the iPod Touch and Nano on younger generations while focusing the iPod classic on older generations. The iPod Classic is not as tech savvy nor does it incorporate all the colors that are attractive to the X and Y Generations. The iPod classic incorporates all the functions that older generations need. It contains an 80 gigabit hard drive that can store a large amount of music, which is beneficial for older consumers that have been listening to music for over fifty years. The iPod Classic has the ability to play in the consumer’s car as well as in their home. Through promotion of the different products we believe that Apple can offer something for everyone. <br />Recommendation 9<br />During our research it was apparent that customers felt that associates selling Apple products were not as knowledgeable as they had anticipated. When talking to Best Buy sales associates we were informed that they were not fully aware of all the features that were present in the latest iPods products. These sales associates had very little understanding of the new products, and were encouraged to research the products on their own time. This is not beneficial to Apple as we learned that sales associates can be an influence on which product the consumer will purchase. If the consumer purchases a product from an unknowledgeable associate and is provided the wrong information it can lead to post purchase dissonance. <br />We recommend Apple communicates all the features of their new products to every sales associate. They can do this by having an Apple expert give a presentation that informs associates on all the features and functions the new iPods incorporate. This will be especially beneficial on changes they have made from one generation to the next. Having the sales associates become more knowledgeable will help reduce post purchase dissonance. This will also help consumers better understand all the features that are available, allowing the consumer to have a better understanding of how to evaluate each of the different iPods. <br />Recommendation 10<br />When it comes to technology, there are a lot of issues with operating the products. Technology advances daily and most consumers have trouble keeping up with the current times. Apple has a genius bar where its product specialists help consumers with the technological difficulties that they have with their products. The genius bar explains to the consumer the proper way to use their products and they fix products that are no longer functioning properly. This is just one of the services Apple offers to its customers. They also have a system that allows consumers to set up an appointment with a specialist who will meet with the consumer on a certain day to help them pick out a product that will best fit their needs. All the consumer has to do is to set up an appointment is to go onto the Apple website, choose a date, time, and product that they want to learn more information about. Both of these services are free, unless there is a part that is needed to fix the product, there might be a slight fee. These two services are very beneficial to the consumer and they will help Apple retain their consumers. The problem with these two services is the lack of awareness for these services. Most people have no idea that these two benefits for the consumer exist.<br />In order to solve this problem, we recommend that Apple should advertise these services to its consumers. If more people are aware of these services, it would make the decision process easier on the consumer. They would be willing to spend more money on a product that allows the consumer to ask question anytime and get personalized feedback. These two services shows consumers that Apple is customer focused and that this company cares about its consumers. Apple should promote these services through commercials, brochures, Apple associates, and on their website. These two services will not only help to generate repeat consumers, but it will also attract new ones and promote brand loyalty. <br />Reference Page<br /><ul><li>2009). Apple Inc.. Retrieved April 29, 2009, Web site:
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