Is the iPad Wait a Marketing Plan or Pipeline Problem? BU Marketing and IS Faculty Weigh In

in Information Systems, Marketing, Strategy & Innovation
May 17th, 2010

brunelTwo perspectives from two disciplines

For coverage of the long lines and extended waiting periods customers are willing to endure for the new Apple iPad, the media turns to faculty at Boston University School of Management for insight from various perspectives.

Weighing in are Frederic Brunel, associate professor of marketing, and  N. Venkat Venkatraman, the David J. McGrath, Jr. Professor in Management and the 22nd most-cited management scholar across the globe.

MacNewWorld, writing from the tech industry perspective, reports,

Apple’s iPad will reach the hands of some eager consumers this weekend, but those who made their buying decisions late in the preorder cycle will have to wait a couple of weeks for delivery. What’s still up in the air is how badly customers want an iPad. Apple is known for the hype that often surrounds its product launches…

[But] it is unlikely that Apple is deliberately tinkering with its supply chain in order to dole out the iPads, said N. Venkatraman, a business professor at Boston University.

“I do not think they can or want to deliberately goose demand for their product by artificially creating a shortage.”

Rather, Apple is probably trying to manage its pipeline as cleverly as possible, given that it does not have full control over many of the elements of its global supply chain involving Asian producers.

“I do not think they can or want to deliberately goose demand for their product by artificially creating a shortage, because the financial market expects that they will lead in the creation of this category,” Venkatraman told MacNewsWorld. “By limiting supply, they risk competitors coming up with their version of tablets.”

It’s actually surprising that the delivery date for pre-orders was shifted by only a week or so, Venkatraman said. “That is not a big deal.”

From the article “Will iPad Delivery Flub Juice Demand or Dampen It?” by Erika Morphy, MacNewsWorld, March 29, 2010.

“Standing in line for hours to buy a new Apple gadget is part of this elite experience.”

From the marketing and brand-loyalty perspective, the Boston Globe reports,

Frederic Brunel, an associate professor of marketing at Boston University, said…“You need to extend yourself a little bit to get the Apple product….This is not something that everybody can have.’’
Standing in line for hours to buy a new Apple gadget is part of this elite experience: “It’s an act of self-sacrifice and devotion,’’ Brunel said.