Focus Groups on Macintosh Experience
Creative Development Exploration Management Presentation,"
presentation by Lou Weiss, American Marketing Services, 8 April
Location: Chris Espinosa Papers, Stanford University Library.
- To provide input for creative efforts in development advertising
- To investigate the reaction of consumers to hands-on experience
- To determine the most salient appeals and benefits of Macintosh,
both emotional and intellectual.
- To identify the concerns and problems with Macintosh.
- To examine the impact and implications of product pricing.
- To examine the impact and implications of the manufacturer's
association with the product.
- To investigate the acceptance of Macintosh across various
levels of computer sophistication and user applications.
- A total of 12 focus groups were conducted, 4 each in 3 markets.
- Atlanta, Denver, and Chicago
- Early stage shoppers
- Former shoppers/middle stage shoppers
- Advanced stage shoppers
- Respondents were:
- Security screened
- Kept in dark
- Experience (intellectual and emotional)
Because of the number of topics covered and the desired depth
of coverage of some of the these topics, not all topics were discussed
with all groups.
The experience of Macintosh
- There is definitely Mac magic--an emotional/intellectual
reaction to the Macintosh experience
- The Macintosh experience is greatly enhanced with hands on
use and exposure to relevant applications.
- Even with Macintosh, people need to be shown applications
specific to their needs before they will consider a purchase.
- The unique Mac advantages of incredibly fast learning and
ease of use are likely to be the elements that will clinch the
- The integration of software is a major hot button. Sophisticated
shoppers will readily recognize this advantage. Less sophisticated
shoppers should be sold on this salient advantage.
- Specific Appeals/Benefits
- Simplicity Value
- Ease of use
- Increase of productivity
- Elimination of fear and intimidation
- Versatile Utilization
- Ease of learning/speed of learning
- Integration of software
- Versatile capability
- Advanced technology/anti-obsolescence
- The availability of information access provided by Mac to
non-dedicated computer users could prove to be very attractive
to management/executive (Mac power).
- Fear of obsolescence is almost an obsession among computer
shoppers. Macintosh is seen as the latest technological advancement.
Emphasizing this point in communicating Macintosh can dramatically
lessen this fear.
- The best way to communicate to the entire Macintosh target
market is in results oriented, non-technical English.
- Language should focus on benefits and end use applications
(instead of functions).
- The individual sales communication should emphasize Mac's
ability to satisfy individual needs and how Mac can satisfy these
- Back can communicate a toy-like image. Therefore, care must
be taken to use simplicity to our advantage without crossing
over the "toy threshold."
- There is clearly a positive fun characteristic associated
with Macintosh. However, there is a serious risk factor associated
with mis-communicating or over-communicating this fun characteristic.
Fun can be part of a business dominated, self-actualization type
- Technical specifications must be available. In addition to
giving specs we should explain them.
- The mouse is likely to be the most salient characteristic
of Macintosh. In anticipation of competitive mice the Mac advantage
must emphasize the software behind our mouse.
- While nothing is going to keep Mac out of the home, this
research demonstrates that any overt attempt to sell Mac to the
home market will adversely affect its chances in the business
- Conversely, a strictly business positioning should not hurt
Mac in the home market.
- Macintosh will share the following generic concerns of other
- Availability of desired software
- Availability of peripherals
- The Macintosh experience may be unique in combating the following
concerns better than competitive units.
- Fear of obsolescence
- Difficulty in learning
- Presence of training support
- Difficulty in using
- The following concerns have been identified as related to
the specific Macintosh demonstration used for the group sessions.
- Durability (especially mouse)
- Size of CRT
- Color of CRT
- Color capabilities
- 10 key numerical keypad
- Second disk drive (built in)
- Programming capability
- Keyboard override of mouse
- Perception of being a toy
- Perception of looking like a toy
- Game software
- Challenges cult [of computer aficionados who've paid their
- "Outstanding value" may have much better leverage
than "unheard-of low price"
- Introductory price in the $2,000 range for Macintosh may
have the greatest appeal
- There is reason to believe Mac can comfortably sustain a
price of about $300 to $400 greater than $2000.
- Including more in the box at a higher price may be beneficial
to the appeal of Macintosh.
Name brand impact
- There is strong equity in a brand name such as Apple or IBM.
The main reasons for this equity are:
- Availability of software
- IBM appears to have a better image in the business community
than does Apple.
- Apple is recognized as the leader in innovative technology.
Using Apple's reputation to strengthen the revolutionary image
of Macintosh can make an incredible difference in combating the
consumers fear of obsolescence.
- There is some indication that consumers would be willing
to purchase a lesser known brand of computer, if the concerns
of service and support could be answered.
Business target market
- Within the scope of this research there was broad acceptance
of Macintosh across all levels of sophistication of end user
- In order for Macintosh to reach its full potential Mac must:
- Have software to meet the needs of the consumer.
- Sell applications with simplicity/ease of operation. Mac
should not be sold on simplicity alone.
- Leverage ease of learning.
- Have power/capacity at least comparable to its competitors.
- Not allow any orientation towards home use to damage its
introductory positioning as a business machine.
- Apple must:
- Develop strong retail sales support.
- Use Apple's innovative reputation to strengthen Mac's revolutionary
Document created on 20 June 2000;