Monthly Archives: December 2006

Apple is “Top Dog” with iPod

As of September 2006 there had been a reported 67.4 million iPods sold worldwide along with 1.5 billion songs sold at iTunes. With more than 8 million iPods being sold each quarter, Apple is a force to be reconned with in the world of digital music players. In fact, just as Microsoft enters the fray with it’s new Zune, iPod enjoys a 10 to 1 lead over its nearest competitor.

Here are a few interesting statistics as released by Solutions Research Group back in July 2006:

    28% of Americans aged 12 and up own a digital music player, more than twice the 12% for 2005
    Apple has increased it’s share of the market from 53% to 68%
    45% of all internet users downloaded music. This is up from 31% a year ago.
    In 2005 only 8% of Americans paid for their song download. This year the number was up to 23%.
    Women aged 15-49 are the hottest growth demographic with 27% owning digital music players compared to 8% in 2005.

Now, even as Microsoft introduced Zune to the market in November, Apple is maintaining its strong lead in sales. According to Amazon.com, of the top 18 slots for digital music players, Apple owns 12 with various permutations of iPod while Microsoft is coming in at number 18. It is not a familiar position for Microsoft, a company that has a 90% market share in desktop operating systems.

Equally unfamiliar for Apple is being the “top dog” instead of the “underdog”. Apple has long experienced the fierce loyalty of its Mac brand community. This community has feasted on their resentment of Microsoft and the “forces of the Dark Side” that Windows has come to represent. O’Guinn and Muniz call this “oppositional brand loyalty”. The community is galvanized, in part, by their common enemy who, in the world of commerce, usually occupies a commanding percentage of marketshare. Continue reading Apple is “Top Dog” with iPod

Brand Communities

According to Muniz and O’Guinn

“brand communities are largely imagined communities”. (2001 p.426) “They are explicitly commercial social collectives centered around a brand, not incidental contact with commercial space… Community is arguably the fundamental social relationship often used to describe relationship marketing.”(427) “Deprived of their social connections, the value of these brands to consumers would certainly be diminished.”(427) “They (brand communities) provide social structure to the relationship between marketer and consumer. Communities exert pressure on members to remain loyal to the collective and to the brand.”(427) “We hold that brands are undeniably and fundamentally social entities created as much by consumers as by marketers in a complex and fascinating dance of social construction. This intersection of brand-a defining entity of consumer culture-and community-a core sociological notion-is an important one.”(428)
Continue reading Brand Communities

Marketing: Victim of Its Own “ing”?

I was recently paging through Everett Rogers’ classic “Diffusion of Innovations, 5th Edition” (Everett M. Rogers, Everett Rogers) when I bumped smack into the following passage:

“Marketing” has a negative connotation in some academic circles because the term is narrowly construed as synonymous with manipulating human purchasing behavior for commercial advantage. Undoubtedly, marketing may sometimes seek to sell products to people who do not really want them, like refrigerators to Eskimos.

Ouch! For those of us “in marketing” this ungenerous characterization is particularly painful because “marketing” is narrowly construed this way not only within academic circles but in the general public as well, although I have more often heard people assert that marketers find ice cubes to be the Eskimos’ product of choice.

I would submit that one of the reasons that the concept of “marketing” is so maligned stems from the incorporation of an “ing” in its name. In the first sentence of the quote it seems that Rogers uses “marketing” as a verb. Let’s alter this first sentence slightly and replace “marketing” with “managing”.

“Managing” has a negative connotation in some academic circles because the term is narrowly construed as synonymous with manipulating human work behavior for commercial advantage.

Continue reading Marketing: Victim of Its Own “ing”?