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The dynamic nature of the mobile phone and more specifically the Smart phone industry means that business market is a continuous battle. In order to stay ahead of the competition, the blackberry developers need to inspire their consumers with innovation in the products they offer to the market. In order to maintain market share blackberry wish to target themselves to the youth student market, those aged between ages 18-24 within the USA. In order to do this research, we have attempted to identify a salient attribute towards the youth market value through measuring the understanding of their values, behaviours, attitudes, knowledge, and the environment that surrounds them. In order to do this analysis, a combination of description questionnaires, one that was supplied online and one that was physically distributed out, secondary data and taking interviews which the participant was interrogated on the topic. The sampling method that was used was a class range of 18-24 years old students from New York that had a variety of demographics (Tsang et al., 2004).

The data collected was analysed by statistical analysis programme that was a computer-based database. This resulted to identification of the following market characteristics;

a) The students highly cherished the idea of having certain popular known phone brands to achieve a sense of social status, happiness, and self-esteem.

b) The idea of phone applications enhancing the phone proved to be popular. In particular, the idea of having school related applications was appealing as it made their schoolwork easy to manage.

c) We discovered that the students were price-sensitive and have less loyalty where phones are concerned. High pricing repelled the students from purchasing a particular brand.

d) In the student segment there was no gender difference in terms of brands choice. We concluded that blackberry would gain more by forging alliances with mobile phone application suppliers to develop an application such as the maths-whiz app that would be relevant to the student. More so, the company should implement a number of marketing strategies that are targeted to the students market. In doing so, the company would align the corporate brand and image with values and lifestyles of the student market.

The smart phone in the United States is constantly growing and the mobile units sold are expected to hit 27 million by end of 2013. There is a proof that competition is high in such a lucrative and attractive market. Blackberry currently is facing competition from other smart phone industries that are developing enhanced mobile operating systems. This innovation trend is expected to see drastic growth thus; blackberry matches up on their market position and continues to feed the market with innovation (Dutta et al., 1999). The threat of new market entrance is minimal due to the need of large amount of capital and enormous economies of scale required to compete. The major threat is from the existing competitors like Nokia, Apple, Motorola, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson who are competing for consumer loyalty (Morris et al., 2002).

Problem definition

Due to the dynamic nature of the smart phone industry, it is unavoidable that the blackberry has to keep up with the competition to maintain and increase their position within the market, which is currently second. The constantly changing consumer behaviour and developing technology, means that the mobile phone industry is constantly changing, there is a constant reminder that the blackberry developers need to consistently re-develop the innovations in blackberry in order for them to sustain their market share. In the past, blackberry has always targeted an older, professional market, the venture into student market offers the company a lucrative opportunity. Therefore, blackberry would climb a position higher if they re-positioned themselves in the student market with innovative strategy (Kavassalis et al., 2003).

Research methods

In this research, I have used explanations to gain thorough insight characteristics of blackberry. Currently, untargeted markets of students aged 18-24 years, in order to identify reasonable means to solve the marketing problem of attempting to gain market share in this opportunist and dynamic market (Zusman and Etgar, 1981). The methods used will be the best appropriate for this research as it concentrates on present market trends on consumers’ buying habits and preferences towards technology that are currently available in the market.

The main research methods were to monitor the initial general ideas. The techniques used were as follows; online questionnaires, secondary data and face-to-face Interviews. These methods were chosen based on funding, resources, time frame and objectives of such problem in question. Due to the resources, remitted funding and limited time frame, I decided to conduct the research using lots of questionnaires in order to gain more data that I will use to get effective and accurate analysis.

Fieldwork and data collection

Questionnaire

The questionnaire sheets were distributed by hand to 100 participants aged between 18-24 years old. In order to get more representatives, cumulative sample amongst the female and male students, we allotted each pair of field of workers of speciality collect fifty questionnaires on female gender and the other from the male gender. The order of selection was first come, first serve basis. The participants were welcomed kindly and asked if it would be possible for them to participate in the research on mobile phones by filling out a questionnaire. If the participant was willing to participate, he/she was handed a questionnaire to fill and we requested them in a kind way to return it the completed form to us if they are done. We ensured that they got sufficient time to fill out the questionnaire. Upon collection of the filled forms, we told the participants that the information that they gave was discrete and we would observe client privacy (Dutta et al., 1999).

Online survey

The online survey distribution was through the university email accounts with the approval of the university administration, and through social media sites like tweeter and Facebook. Although we set out to gain the respondents of more than two hundred participants, the survey process was a bit slow, so we cut off the survey process at 150 counts, of which the information was sufficient. The online survey records that had been filled out were logged in to accessible online data storage site, where we were able to retrieve the information at any given time. We used excel to analyse the data that was collected.

Hypothetical laddering interview

The process of this form of data collection is more slightly complex as it requires more time and accuracy of data. In this type of data collection, we sampled out fifty willing participants. Before engaging the participants into the interview, they were kindly asked if they had extra time to spare so they could participate in a mobile phone survey. If the participants accepted, they were guided to a quite serene environment and assured that the information they provided will be kept very confidential. The volunteer students were asked to answer a series of questions that had already been set for the mobile market. All data that was collected was hand recorded, although the process was time consuming but we had to assure high levels of accuracy of the information recorded. All data collected was in light of the Mecca’s model (Zusman and Etgar, 1981).

Ethics

The people conducting the research were required to act in a professional and courteous manner at all time. They must be grateful and friendly in order to encourage the participants to take part in the research study. The conductors were requested to ensure the following are abided by;

a) Before engaging the students, they should gain permission from the participant and ascertain that they were willing to take the survey.

b) The matter of briefing and Di briefing the participant was crucial to prevent apprehension and dissonance.

c) It was advised that you should inform the participant that they were able to terminate the process at their will or at any time.

d) Ensure that the data collected from the participant was discrete from third party involvement and that they observed confidentiality and privacy regulations.

e) Ensure that the questions presented to the participant were not offensive or harmful in any manner.

Online survey

a) The method was environmentally friendly and saved on the costs because no paper was used.

b) Due to the increase in hackers and malware, the site that we used was of top class, and in addition, the documents send through the site were encrypted to ensure the documents were not easily shared.

c) The questions were set on the basis of anonymity so that the participants could not feel pressured about the comebacks if for instance; they gave negative information regarding a particular brand.

d) We ensured that the email accounts that had the credentials names were not used for marketing purposes, in this way, we observed customer invasion policy.

Face to face, interview

  1. Unperceivable messages-using things such as body language are not acceptable together with the use of head nod, since these methods are considered to manipulate the data that is collected because in some way, the researcher may be manipulating what the participant may be thinking and the information to write.
  2. Using ambiguous words such as complex marketing terminologies, of which the terms may be unknown to the participant and this would scare them, in that way, they may give false information in regards to the question. This would cloud the validity of the results.
  3. This method is unconvincing to the participants because it will be interfering with their personal privacy in terms of time and to some it is a form of nuisance. The participant may be rushing to class or trying to beat the university deadline hence inconveniencing them

IV. Face to face interrogation requires giving a lot of answers and this will be less welcomed due to the fact that the participants would sense that they are being queried too much and being exploited in a way.

  1. Due to the nature of the questions, the participants may perceive that the leading questions are being used as a form of masked sales mechanism. It is important to make the lead questions as objective oriented as possible.

Research limitations

I have tried to minimise the data collection errors as much as I can to be able to produce reliable and valid data in terms of the challenges the company faced. However, the research is a critical element that should not ignore errors, as the results presented will be used to support any strategies the company undertakes.

The research methods used faced some constraints/ limitations.

a) Face to face method is not liable to direct interviewer bias. The absence of an interviewer limits the researcher the ability to probe responses (Gill and Lei, 2009).

b) Participants in questionnaires try to answer the questions according to their likeness. They may give answers that make themselves all the products if the question appears better off or worse off.

c) The reliability of the results can be affected by the lead questions. If the questionnaire forces the student, to reply in a manner that meets the researcher’s hypothesis.

d) The varied question used made it difficult for the statistical analysis programme to get around the results. This was much contributed by the mix of scale and nominal responses, which resulted in impossibility in attainment of standard analysis.

e) The fact that I designed the questionnaire means that there was skewness in my objective meaning that I never gave respondents an opportunity to provide a different scope.

f) The sampling used a relatively small number of students compared to the population of students in United States. The information collected was not sufficient to generalise the analysis.

Online survey limitations

a) The unlimited control of the source provider hinders us the ability to stipulate how, what, where and when the questionnaire is/will, be displayed. This constraint has limited us to the questions asked and the time frame of the study.

b) It’s hard to control the sample participant who answers the distributed questionnaire, because it is difficult to establish who really answered the question.

c) Through the set standards of the paper and the anonymity of the question, to some extend the participants may be forced to exert demand characteristics.

d) Due to the limited financial availability, this method could not be used to its full capacity as much as on these websites as it costs more money, which we could not afford due to the budget presented. Therefore, the analysis was conducted through basic graphs and by hand calculation, meaning that the analysis presented had some few calculation errors.

e) The time constraint was much on us. The time allotted during the research collides with the universities deadlines and submission. Therefore, through this method, a lot of time is consumed, during gathering of the data, which had a knock on the time of data analysis and translation Face-to-Face interview

a) The participant may feel not to answer some questions, because they may feel like they are being pressured to answer in particular way, which may lead to social desirability characteristics.

b) The sample size used was extremely small due to the resources demanded. The information collected was difficult to generate in concern with the entire population.

c) Qualitative data analysis involves a high amount of breaking down the information to bits that can be understood due to the colloquial responses and interpreting anonymously answered questions. The methods of interpreting require a person of high levels of subjective understanding, meaning the accuracy of the interpreted data is reasonably low.

d) The selection of the top prominent belief was only based on a number of similar responses not on the basic strength of feeling towards the belief in question. Thus, the validity of the prominent choices is low. 

Research findings

In order to analyse the data that we had collected we used combinations of methods, for example, statistical analysis programme and excel. In the study, we found out that there was no significant link between the brands choice the participants chose and service given, trial period given, peer pressure, advertising and promotions, brand familiarity and persuasion. We discovered that there might be some salient influence on the consumer’s choice even though they may not be dominant. These factors may lack that much influence in the market but they should not be ignored when developing strategies that the company may use in marketing the blackberry, the company may take this as an added advantage by making the consumers purchasing be more interesting, involved and valued (Capron and Hulland, 1999).

The study also unveiled that there was no much difference in gender and brand choice among the female and male students, therefore, reducing the unlikeness of the student market to be much varied. Due to sensitivity of the students to prices, the company should invest in making blackberry more affordable and the mobile applications available at subsidized rates. The results also reflected that the students were negligent to a specific brand; majority of them stated that they were not loyal to a specific phone brand. This explains why there is always a dynamic change in the smart phone market, resulting from different companies chipping in different types of mobile products that are new with improved smart phones operating systems, which makes the students to switch between different phone brands.

In conclusion, the research found out that the high value of a brand was perceived as a sense of belonging to the social environment and in addition the mobile applications were highly valued, appreciated and acknowledged among the student community  (Shugan, 2004).

Conclusion and recommendations

Strategies of targeting the student segment is evidently going to be a task full challenges in requisites of coming up with a plan which favours the appeals of the students, the information gathered indicated that the market segment is extremely fragmented and challenging to gauge any continual and strong results. However, there is a relieving element from the interest of the students in mobile applications. Therefore, we have concluded with the following recommendation, that the blackberry corporation could take into considerations while the targeting the student market (Gebauer and Shaw, 2004)

a) The marketing strategy should aim at both the male and female with similar approach regarding their price sensitivity.

b) The company should forge alliances with the mobile applications developers to meet the student’s preferences, as a wide range of student in different fields of study commonly prefers those applications. The students usually consider these options when they go shopping for a new phone.

c) The company should conduct further research on the mobile phone applications to understand and  identify how positively are the applications being accepted in the student market segment and which application is more favourable so that they can improve on it.

d) I would finally advice the blackberry corporation to do more advertising to the student segment. In order for this theory to be more implementable. 

Code: Sample20

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