Marketing Design and Innovation: Amazon, UK

Executive Summary

The study has evaluated the marketing design and innovative efforts undertaken by Amazon for promoting and distributing kindle. Kindle has been built especially for the e-book lovers and its inbuilt features offer a part of its value-added offerings.  Consumers were content with the availability of Kindle that is portable and user-friendly by nature. However, critics have levied comments against the fact that Kindle does not support internet internationally and is too heavy. It faces stiff competition from Samsung Galaxy Tab and iPad Mini. However, Kindle can be considered to remain ahead of its competitors. The brand appeal of Kindle needs to be advanced a bit that will eventually make it the only preferred product by the e-book lovers.

 

Task 1

1.1 Introduction

The advent of globalization has intensified the competition level especially among firms offering homogenous products and services to the target population. Unlike the traditional marketing factors upon which the consumers initially based their decision making, presently their choice of brand or products is based on innovation. The concept of marketing has also come a long way. Trott (2005) denoted that modern-day marketing involves the activity that gets and keeps customers. Herein, the researcher have considered the use of Kindle as the product is indeed innovative, right from its early implementation in the market. Until its implementation in the market, the e-book lovers had no such tool by which they can read books even while on the go. The product had soon gained faster acceptance as a result of its innovative features and valued offerings (Gummesson, 2007).  Although, the e-book lovers are yet to derive complete satisfaction from the use of Kindle, yet the periodic innovation brought about is considered to be helpful for the process of gaining competitive market edge. If looked into the timeline for product development, the in-built features of Kindle have been developed in order to offer advanced solutions to the customers.

UK being a profitable electronics hub for several companies like Amazon, the study will assess the success gained from the sale of Amazon Kindle Inspite of the presence of other substitutes’.

1.2 To evaluate the values and benefits derived by customers on using Amazon Kindle

Bitner et al. (2010) denoted that Kindle is an electronic reader that has been built by Amazon that uses wireless connection to facilitate its users to shop for, select and download books, newspapers and magazines that are in digital format. For users’ convenience, the devise is made portable, hand-held and comes with full keyboard.

 

For generating attraction, Kindle is sold in both plain black and white as well as decorative covers. Erdem et al. (2001) determined that Kindle has two distinct advantage to offer its customers: being wireless the consumers can subscribe to an electronic version of a newspaper on Amazon and download its directly to Kindle and secondly allowing the readers to easily email files of any format. The other benefits and values offered by Amazon Kindle are:

  • Volume:

The latest release of Kindle has a capacity to hold 4 GB of memory amounting to 3,500 books (Eroglu et al. 2003). Its users can download books anywhere and at any point of time. The devise is able to store thousands of books and yet weighs less than a pound.

  • Portability:

Grant and O’Donohoe (2007) noted that Kindle fits easily in a purse, briefcase or backpack. It can thus be carried anywhere without requiring any much space. Its users can even store reference materials, books, business manuals and reading materials for own use or for someone else. Kindle book gift cards helps in making likeable purchase.

  • Resolution:

For better reading, Kindle e-readers come with 6-inch screen with a dim light grey background and dark grey txt termed as E-link Pearl (Griffith and Pol, 2009). The graphs are also in grey scale thus preventing from eye strain.

  • Updates:

The newer versions of Kindle do not make the older models ineffective. Users can transfer books from older version with a data cord (Gummesson, 2007). Books can even be downloaded into a computer thus facilitating easy updates.

  • Features:

Kent (2010) mentioned that the current available features of Kindle include: bookmarks, highlighting, searching and note-taking. While turning off, the devise remembers where the reader has left off and restored to the last page when the reader revisits.

  • Access:

It gives the users access to kindle-only books, pamphlets and information’s besides also facilitating to store unencrypted forms of data.

 Although the latter merits have led catalysed sale of Amazon, Kindle, several of its users are yet unsatisfied with its functionality and usability. Lambert and Harrington (2009) criticized that Kindle is: bad for research, too delicate by nature, not student-friendly, non support of international net connection and heavy bottom.

Kindle lacks both in terms of value derived and benefits available. The demerits could be overcome in next generation Kindle.

1.2.1 Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs:

 

It is required to satisfy the lowest level need before going forward to the next level. Grant and O’Donohoe (2007) noted that at once the lowest level of need is satisfied, the customers’ move forward to the next level.  The final satisfaction needs of the general mass are the self-actualisation model. However, in real business scenario, the same might not be the same as the progress is often disrupted by failure to meet the lower level needs (Trott, 2005). Amazon has developed the features of Kindle in a way such that each of its progressive needs is satisfied.

In order to meet the psychological needs and safety needs of the e-book readers, Amazon had set up Lab126 in 2007 as an e-book and magazine reading machines for the book lovers. The newly adopted business models are considered to facilitating in easy reading, storing and sending emails from the sender to the receiver. Von Stamm (2003) stated that Kindle was wrapped in a seamlessly integrated iTunes-type digital media platform that helped in sending both transaction and subscription-based content delivery.

Eventually, Kindle was proposed to be built in a manner such that its new content will gain customer satisfaction. However, Kotler (2007) determined that Kindle was unable to satisfy the preferences of the e-book lovers as it had flaws relating to the efficiency of its in-built features. Amazon had entered into partnership with independent publishers in order to build new content for the Kindle.  A series of transformation was brought about in Kindle that helped in meeting its vision of white space, business model innovation and renewal. Pettinger (2010) determined that as a part of the value proposition approach of Kindle, its features was advanced from the first to the current seventh generation. For meeting the self-actualization needs, Amazon had built its seventh generation Kindle 6 with innovative voyage mechanism, Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HDX. It had recently released its HTML5 based web supporting Chrome, Firefox and Safari browsers for readers’ facility.

1.3 Appraise the uniqueness of Amazon Kindle with respect to its colour, shape, design relevance and innovations

Product features Amazon kindle Ipad mini Samsung galaxy tab
Screen size 8.9-inches 7.87-inches 7- inches
RAM 2048MB 512MB 1GB
Processor Dual core Apple A5(dual core) 1.2 GHz dual core
OS Andriod iOS 8 Android 2.2 jelly bean
Storage 8 GB 16 GB 8 GB
SD card Yes No Yes
Data speed LTE LTE LTE
Primary camera HD 5 MP 3.5 MP
Secondary camera HXD 1.2MP 1.3 MP
Bluetooth Yes Yes (only supports Apple devices) Yes
Weight 222 g 312 g 306 g
Battery 4400mAh 4440mAh 4000mAh
Application Google play App store Google play

 

Table 1: A comparative specifications of the three popular e-book readers

(Source: Grant, I. and O’Donohoe, S., 2007, p. 225)

From the above table and the specifications of the three popular e-book readers reveals that Amazon kindle and Samsung tab 3 are almost related brands. Here the brands are using the similar features and specifications and as well as the operating system. However on the other hand, according to Luftman and Kempaiah (2007), there lies a number of differences in different areas in respect to the design and structure of the models. Beside the physical layout, the uniqueness of Amazon Kindle in terms of its competitors can be evident from the features of long lasting battery life, storage system, size of Ram and the specified product has been designed in flexible storage system which allows the users to get benefitted by installing the extra SD which is not matched with the specification of ipad mini. Amazon kindle has been considered as the direct competitor of iPad mini. Luftman and Kempaiah (2007) argued that over the few years the model has been termed as Amazon’s best small form factor which is fully worthy of the time and value. On the other hand the devices seem to interest the users where an individual can connect with the Amazon tech support employee directly on the tablet in case of any quandary. Moreover, the present of adaptive light sensor in the kindle voyage has differentiated the product from the other popular brands. Here the users can be automatically adjusting the brightness of the screen according to the vision of the customers (Melville et al. 2006). On the other side, the uniqueness of its voyage page seeks to differentiate the Amazon kindle from the other potential brands. Mothe and Thi (2010) contradicted that the screen resolution of Kindle is 50% sharper in compared to the other two brands, therefore, it has been acknowledged that the potential customers are looking forward to the launching of the next generation of Kindle in order to utilize the best out of it.

1.3.1 Product lifecycle:

Baines et al. (2005) noted that as the life cycle of electronic products such as Kindle e-books is limited, innovation is very much essential to meet the diversified consumer needs. The current features, functionality and effectiveness met from using a products, determines its long term sustainability.

Product sale is also dependent on its current position in the product life-cycle. The stages of product life-cycle have been under mentioned:

 

Being an e-reader, Amazon had launched Kindle in 2007. Although, the product found faster market acceptance amongst the target mass, it is yet to attain market edge. Prior to release of Kindle, Sony had released similar product in the market in 2006. The current placement of Kindle, UK in the product life cycles is as undernoted.

 

Although, Kindle was incorporated in 2007, yet it is a growth phase. The Mini tablets are in the growth stage at the moment, Amazon is required to develop suitable develop policies that will help it in achieving desired market growth in the following stage. The concept of having a tablet that is larger than a smart phone but smaller than a full-sized tablet. Consumers are using the current product and thus have not reached the maturity stage. However, Barnes and Scornavacca (2004) noted that while Aple has been a market leader in innovations, it has not been able to gain desi8red success from the sale of mini tablet segment. Amazon has bought bout strategic innovations in term of the in-built features of Kindle thus steadily progressing in the maturity phase.

1.4 Critically identify the brand appeal of Amazon Kindle in relation to other market competitors.

Each and every brand has its market reach and its saturation point and thus, it is very important to improvise effective specification on the product and different emerging economies to reap the benefits of the higher purchasing capacity of the customer. Brand appeal is one of the very important resources on which the survival of the brand depends largely. The marketing strategy plays a vital role in building and maximizing the brand appeal. Although the main competitors of    Moreover, the implementation of the unique feature Kindle Free Times has created a greater impact amongst the potential mass, where the brand creates a personalized experience for each of the children based on the content the individual customer has purchased. Thus, by using the app the customer can limit the amount of time spending by the children on watching videos. Ngo and O’Cass (2011) argued that such form of customization has influenced the potential mass to present a positive attitude towards the Amazon Kindle, and uplifted the goodwill of the specified brand. However, the competitive pricing, global distribution channel and innovative features and unique introduction of Apps have made the Amazon Kindle a unique brand in the e-book market. Prakash (2011) acknowledged that the implementation of the ultra low end price has served the brand to enhance its brand appeal in the market of volatility. Neither it is more powerful than HDX nor it offers 4G connectivity, yet it way less expensive than the brand like Apple and Samsung. Therefore, the e-reader of the specified brand offers awesome features which serve the readers with great experience. The features of the particular product reflect a smart lookup, which integrates an entire dictionary with X-ray and Wikipedia as well. It is a wireless device which can act as a standalone device, thus, the customers can access to download books, online stores, newspaper and magazines with the help of Amazon whisper net, an app store in Amazon Kindle.   However, it strategy of vocabulary builder has lead the brand to a different level, which facilitates the users to add an easy to access list in the Kindle, due to which the customers can quiz themselves with the flash cards (Ren et al. 2010). Finally, the introduction of the app termed, has created an mesmerizing excitement in the technological market scenario by aiming today’s generation, where the readers can gain the benefits of tracking the progress and award of achievements as and when attained. Therefore, compared to the brand awareness of the other powerful brand, Amazon has created an enormous impact in the current market trends with its creative strategies and innovation like introduction of the Kindle FreeTimes app in the specifications of the specified products. Roach (2009) made an argument that the usage of electronic paper display provides the reader the illusion of reading physical paper. Such practice has enhanced the customer base of Amazon and uplifts the competitive advantage of the brand along with its brand appeal.

1.4.1 Brand Pyramid:

Using the brand pyramid model, it can be stated that Amazon had developed the features of Kindle in a way such that the changing needs and preferences of the e-book readers and potential users are met.  Baines et al. (2005) noted that the idea behind the offering of Kindle was to facilitate the e-book lovers to gain access to relate materials at any point of time nad at any place.  The product offers several features such as upload and download of materials and sending over relevant mail to the recipients’. The features of Kindle have so been developed such that its functional applications meet the preferences of its users. The common features that are in-built within Kindle are: Text Pop-Up, Panel View, X-Ray and Text-to-Speech (Andrews et al. 2005). However, developments have been made in each of the features in a way such that the changing technological preferences of its users’ are met, thereby, the brand earn a reputed market image. Some of the specific features present only in Kindle are: compass, light sensor, multi-touch, proximity sensor, build model and build manufacture.

1.4.2 Competitive strategy:

The current competitive strategy of Amazon, Kindle is mentioned underneath:

 

Amazon had built its features in a way such that the changing tastes and preferences of the customers. The resolution and external features of Kindle has been built in manner such that its effectiveness tides over its available substitutes. The latest model has been priced in manner such that Kindle is quickly and easily accessible. Although, the presence of substitute products such as those of Apple and Samsung have partly marred the market prospect of Amazon, Kindle, yet the latest developments had increased its prominence in the UK market. Nonetheless, its market share has increased.

1.8 Conclusion:

Innovation and marketing is quite essential to remain sustainable in the market. Although, periodic innovative efforts can be costly, detailed market research will reveal specific promotional and innovation policies to be designed to suit the preferences of the profitable customer segments. The features of Kindle and brand appeal of Amazon are influential enough to impact the decision making of its consumers. However, advanced efforts are required to be practised to remain ahead of Samsung and Apple.

 

 

Task 2

Reflective Essay

Rationale for conducting the study:

The current study on marketing design and innovation bears enough relevance in terms of its application in a contemporary market setting. The advent of globalization have brought along several merits and few demerits for industries operating in different sector. While technological innovations have let the firms to offer advanced products and supreme services to its target mass, smaller firms are often unable to bear the cost of periodic innovations. The electronic industry of UK is currently running through a profitable phase as its players are able to build its product’s features, thereby, satisfying the changing technological demands and preferences of the target population. The several marketing design policies have allowed the electronic brands to widespread their product knowledge to generate customers’ attention. Amazon Kindle have so been designed and marketed in a way to satisfy the needs and preferences of e-book readers. However, lessons can be learnt from the fact that the functionality and usability of Kindle is still doubted. Amazon have still not been to proclaim Kindle to be completely error-free and truly of supreme quality and perfect functionality.  Periodic product check-up is thus very much required to be conducted by organizations for the practise of Total Quality Management (TQM). It was difficult to determine the secondary data on the subject as minute details is often difficult to attain. However, the researcher tried best to research on a deeper note and thereby fulfil the LO’s.

Inference gathered from the assignment:

Product innovation and sound technology in-built within products can help electronic firms to meet the consumers’’ need for technologically advanced featured products. It could be learnt and inferred from the study that electronic firms had to keep up on innovation in order to survive or remain sustainable. The case of Amazon, Kindle is a perfect example where the product has so been built to facilitate the readers with easy reading and portability. The products supports internet and its resolution is built in a way to prevent eye strain. Periodic innovation has been a part of Kindle, as several features have been in-built from Kindle 1 and the current generation. Kindle have been built with several advanced features that would help in fulfilling the changing preferences of the customers. The internet was an effective medium to determine the exact innovative features that was included in each of its advanced models. The researcher gained knowledge regards the fact that although periodic innovation is a risky and costly affair, yet its inclusion will help in meeting the changing demands of the market place.

Challenges of innovation:

Kindle had primarily centred its product design and innovative strategies only on building its features leaving out necessary focus on whether the same is working properly or not. Critics had levied comments against the Kindle stating that is quite heavy and net was not available at all time. The entry of competitors was yet another market threat for Amazon, Kindle. Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 and ipad Mini have been the available substitutes for Amazon, Kindle. The brand name of Samsung and Apple was a strong source of attraction for the consumers’. The goodwill and market reputation of Apple and Samsung had pushed back the success potential of Amazon. It could be inferred that besides marketing design and innovation, consumers brand choice and product inclination is impacted by the brand’s appeal in the market. However, knowing the several advanced technological demands of the consumers, the latest version of Amazon, Kindle is featured with advanced systems.

Earlier innovation was thought to be only new product development. It hardly focussed on strategic marketing efforts or customised offerings. The application of traditional advert policies in contemporary markets is challenging as it lacked the significance for channelizing advert efforts in order to widespread the current offerings among the concerned individuals. The study had brought out the marketing design and innovation challenges faced by iconic electronic brands of UK: Samsung, Apple. Lessons can be learnt from the market set-back faced by Amazon to while marketing Kindle across e-book lovers of UK.

Consumerism and market research is what is mostly required for all brands in order to ensure desired success. Market research is essential to be aware of the changing taste and preferences of the consumers. As technological advancement is costly by nature, care should be taken the implemented features does not result in waste. If the effort is not a waste then the product will surely gain preference and eventually the brand’s market appeal will automatically increase.

It is also supposed to take note of any post-purchase dissonance by the consumers after product sale. Amazon has hardly taken note of the fact that whether its current functionality of Kindle is tangent with the demands and preferences of its target population. Had it been the case, then critics and few of its users would not have posted comments against the product. Also, in real business scenario it is critical for product development managers and market researchers to be aware of practising TQM. Periodic product evaluation process should be conducted in order to overcome the identified flaws. However, instead of redesigning its products after making it available in the market, it would rather be better to test its functionality and usability prior to release. The same would save time, effort and money of Amazon to re-design and re-built the features of its released products. Also, the loss of brand image or appeal could be prevented.

Although, Amazon has a separate brand image across the globe, yet it could have distinctly promoted Kindle. Although, currently it is promoting Kindle via several mediums, yet several of the product’s features are not acknowledged. The interested consumers are unable to the detailed features of Kindle. Knowing this would have assisted Amazon to experience greater sale than what is currently experiencing. This will add to the product’s market appeal and help to gain sale more than Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 and iPad Mini.

Conclusion:

Not much can be said against what was learnt in the class lectures. The inference of the current study is similar to what had been said. There is no denying the fact that strategic marketing design and innovation is a significant precursor for electronic firms to gain market edge. Every product will run its life-cycle. However, care should be taken against the fact that the sale is at its zenith during maturity and growth phase. As learnt that competitors are always a threat for firms thus requiring implementation of strategic marketing policies to turn the threat into opportunities. The course will be quite helpful for the companies to gain practical knowledge of the common mistakes and failures. The recommended strategies for market research, consumerism, periodic product evaluation and after-sales innovation will advance the marketing design and innovative efforts of electronic firms. Kindle will eventually be the only product in-demand by e-book lovers.

 

 

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