Article: Thoughts on “Apple Needs to Advertise”

Posted on March 1, 2005

Let go of the mouse, put the iPod down, take your hands off the keyboard, because it’s time for reader mail about Apple Needs to Advertise

It seems that most of our responses have fallen in one of two categories. The first disagrees and feels that Apple should keep quiet, as the Mac Minis are in high enough demand as it is. My concern is that many are for repeat Mac buyers, and there are a large number of PC users unaware that such a beast exists.

Wolfgang has some interesting ideas about flexible production:

“It only makes sense for Apple to advertise the Mini when they have a sufficient number in stock to deal with any resulting increase in demand. I have yet to see a lead time shorter than 2-3 weeks for the Mini. My guess is that Apple is working on their supply routes, and that they will advertise when they have a larger production capacity.
Apple seems to have a reasonable tactic of trying new products with moderate production runs, and then ramping the production when the products work. If anything, they need to work on flexible production with easier re-allocation (e-mac factory re-tools in weeks to make Mini).”

Michael shares his thoughts:

“Why advertise the iMac mini? I work at CompUSA, and none are to be had! In total, we have had about a dozen mini’s come into the store, only to be sold within 24-hours. So far, the only segment of the population that has bought the mini’s at our store are PC users. I think the word is already out. Apple just needs to build them. So, why advertise when the market is already stronger than production capability?”

David thinks that advertising will come eventually:

“In response to your Mac mini advertising post, I think the answer to your question is quite obvious. They don’t advertise because they can’t even fulfill the order they already have! I currently work at a recording studio that has never done any advertising. We opened about a year ago, and the word of mouth buzz has kept us as busy as we want to be. There is no sense in advertising something you can’t deliver. As soon as Mac mini production ramps up enough to meet the potential demand created by advertising, I’m sure we are going to see an amazing ad campaign designed by the geniuses at Apple.”

There is one glaring problem with the “Why advertise when demand is so strong?” theory – the iPod Shuffle commercials. The Shuffle is in demand as much, or even more-so than the Mac Mini. Why have the only iPod ads been for the Shuffle recently?

The other group seems to agree with my comments, but feels that Apple should wait until Tiger ships, which makes sense. New users, especially PC converts would not want to have to spend 1/4 the price of their Mini’s purchase price to upgrade the operating system a few months after it ships.

Jon thinks waiting for Tiger is important:

“I think, as I am sure the vast majority of the Mac Faithful do as well, that you are right to say they need to advertise the Mac mini. Also I find myself telling people about the Mac mini to surprised and bewildered faces. However, I also tell them that they should wait until Tiger is released… who wants to buy a $500 Mac only to find out that they need to drop another $130 on an upgrade? This is only a way to get people to scoff at Apple and retreat back into the “safety-in-numbers” world of Wintel. A final thought… Apple did just pick up HPs VP in charge of Marketing. I don’t think this was an accident, do you? Also, the iPod is what is really raising Apple’s profile right now and I think that Steve and Co. are right to focus on this right now. Spurring demand for the Mac mini would be foolish right now as there are currently not even enough to meet the demand as it stands.

Apple knows what they are doing… we have seen it time and time again. Remember, Windows users ARE interested… it just takes a little while to turn that big ship around. Someone in their circle of friends will get a Mac mini, then they will think about it… it all happens in time. I know that the Mac mini will be heavily marketed for the next holiday season… imagine, with Tiger on it’s second or third point release by then… QT 7 in full force… Apple could give a $200 rebate if you buy a Mac mini and an iPod, or something like that. It’s all good.”

This post has been filed in Articles and Reader Mailbag