Dell and Apple are competitors in the computer industry. These competitors serve a similar general market, but have positioned themselves quite differently within that market space. The differences of these two companies offer an excellent study of the different uses of marketing mix.
For over twenty years, Dell’s marketing mix has been to provide products directly to consumers through the Internet and telephone sales. They’ve relied on low prices to maintain their market share. These low prices and low margins have come at the cost of Research and Development. Dell has not been as active in this area as other competitors and has a much less innovative product offering. Their marketing strategy for over twenty years has been to provide an inexpensive personal computer directly to consumers at the lowest possible price (Lee, 2006).
Apple has taken a different path than Dell. Apple can not afford to live on the same small profit margins that Dell can. Since it’s market share in the home computer industry is much lower than Dell’s, Apple has focused more money into Research and Development and created an innovative MP3 player. As of July 2006, the Apple iPod enjoyed a 73 percent market share, putting it atop the industry. Although Apple does offer its products online to customers, they have store fronts across the country where consumers can get a hands-on look at their innovative products. Since it is unable to compete toe-to-toe with Dell in the home computer market, Apple has positioned itself in a niche that identifies itself with customers interested in simplicity and innovation (Green, 2008).
Interestingly, Apple and Dell do not target each other specifically in their advertising. Apple focuses primarily on targeting Microsoft’s Windows operating system. This is right in line with Apple’s marketing strategy to focus on simplicity. By convincing users that the user experience of their operating system, Mac OS X, is superior, they directly increase their sales. This is at the expense of Dell and other PC vendors.
Dell, on the other hand, is focused on getting as many buyers as possible. Therefore, their advertising focuses on pricing. Unlike Apple, Dell runs discounts throughout the year (Lee, 2006). These discounts are generally advertised in direct mailings which coincides well with their direct to consumer approach.
Dell and Apple share a similar market. Both are computer companies, but neither has chose to market their products to the same target segment. Apple has differentiated itself from Dell by focusing on a niche market that values simplicity and innovation. These differing target segments influence each company’s marketing mix.
Green, J. (2008). Apple Computer Company profile. Faulkner Information Services. Retrieved September 19, 2008, docid: 00014905.
Lee, L. (2006). It’s Dell vs. the Dell Way. BusinessWeek. Retrieved September 19.