Tag Archives: Dell

What a pivotal year in our industry! Mobile, Cloud and Social making new leaders

What a pivotal year in our industry! Let’s face it, IT has been attesting more evidences that its tectonic forces at work did let emerge new leaders and previous ones fade.

Combining this to Big Data and associated analytics to get a modern business insight, let’s attest we’re already in a new world. Get ready if you’re not already! CIO, CMO, CDO or CEOs, don’t let your competition harness these revolutions before you get a chance to compete or lead: initiate change now.

Michael Dell returns as the CEO: the shake-up is on its way

I’ve been commenting and highlighting for some time what was appearing to happen at Dell — you can read all Dell related posts on Marketing 2.0. Dell customers should be glad to see Michael Dell return as the CEO of the company he created and by the way investors as well. Why? Mainly because Michael Dell has always been focused on customers satisfaction.
Let’s take a close look in the coming weeks to the concrete changes Michael Dell will initiate to turn things around. To begin with his recent e-mail to Dell employees already indicates that he will attack bureaucracy and develop its global services business.

I would repeat my recommendation, in a pure Marketing 2.0 inspiration:

“Appoint a Marketing 2.0 executive that you’d call Chief Voice of Customers Officer, with Web 2.0 as the only authorized marketing media. Engage the customer community in a genuine, transparent and honest 2 way conversation with your brand.”

Of course this is not to be considered as the only thing to be done, but one that could not be forgotten. Customer loyalty is key to any business growth and trust is key to customer loyalty. Trust nowadays demands transparency and genuine customer centric business state of mind. Good luck Michael.

Michael Dell launches Dell 2.0

We have a tendency to highlight the negative when we report on news, maybe badly educated by the media. I wanted to come back on the Dell story once again to find out how was doing our flagship leader of the don’t get Dell’d syndrome.

First of all, let’s do a reality check on the battery recall issue. It’s been widening recently and Sony is really at the center of a communication crisis as now more than 7 million batteries are being recalled for replacement, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The list of the winners are Dell with 4.2 million, Apple with 1.8 million, followed by Lenovo, Toshiba, Fujitsu, HP. Battery recall at Dell and Apple alone will cost more than $170 million. That’s a pretty extreme case study for all of you interested in quality impact to the bottom line. If you want to read the latest about it just go here.

Coming back on Dell, they’re handling the problem with this dedicated web site, and apparently trying to initiate a serious turnaround in their decline. What happened to their corporate blog One2one? Well first of all they’ve been changing the name to Direct2Dell for various reasons — Dell explains it here — that would give you a clue on how little prepared they were. By the way, they admire the One2one XXX site marketers SEO skills!

But the most interesting breaking news to me was the real backfire move from Michael Dell in a keynote at the Techdays on September 12. Michael is back and he’s launching Dell 2.0. Here is a Direct2Dell quote about it:

“Michael also talked a bit about Dell 2.0. He launched our Dimension products yesterday, including our first two AMD products for consumer and small business customers.” — more on this here

It produced at least one comment from a shareholder that goes like this:

“Nevertheless, the public response has been a shrug — with most commentary calling Dell 2.0 devoid of substance and the stock price remaining unmoved. In the absence, to-date, of many concrete components to Dell 2.0, the success of this “evolution” depends on the quality, creativity and discipline of management. Part of the public indifference is probably based on the unsatisfactory performance of Kevin Rollins and Michael Dell at Tech Day.” — more on this here, and Dell stock vs HP and Apple here.

I’m an optimistic and I like to focus on positive outcomes. I wish good luck to Dell for its Dell 2.0 venture but let’s make sure, message to Michael Dell’s staff, that Marketing 2.0 is not ignored anymore i.e. tell Kevin Rollins that customer satisfaction is more important than cost reduction to be a Hero at Dell.


Being a hero at Dell?

Just back from a very relaxing week, I wanted to give you a quick heads-up on this interesting “Dark Days at Dell” Business Week article. It reinforces our analysis that something geared reverse to customer satisfaction was happening, infringing many Marketing 2.0 basic rules. Refer to Marketing 2.0 mistakes: Dell and AOL in turmoil and Don’t you ever get Dell’d! chapter 2 if you missed the previous posts about it.

One major statement from Dell’s CEO Kevin Rollins gave me the clue I was looking for: “Being a hero at Dell means saving money.” did he say to Business Week back in 2003. If that is all it takes to be a hero and if this is the critical mission coming from your CEO, you bet customer satisfaction can only go South. Despite spending $115M to improve customer service, you can read further details in the article, nothing to me will really change at Dell before a probable new CEO states: “Being a hero at Dell means overwhelming customers expectations.”

After all, one of the main ingredient in Michael Dell’s original recipe for success was about highly considering customers and their desire for PCs, providing valuable guidance and relevant customized offers vs competition always considering PC buyers as dummies with over priced and over featured packages.

Marketing 2.0 mistakes: Dell and AOL in turmoil

I could not resist to highlight the Dell exploding batteries sequel. As probably most of you could not miss, Dell has decided to recall 4.1 Millions of its products, at Sony’s expense though. As we discussed here previously, the consequences of such a flaw could be devastating. Imagine a poor Dell customer working on a plane…

Such things are of course scary, but what did scare me as a marketer, was the way Dell initially ignored it from a Marketing 2.0 perspective. They finally posted something very “corporate” about it on July 13, see here. While they were launching a corporate blog Direct2Dell, to supposedly let directly their customers discuss their product experience, Dell demonstrated how not genuine consumer generated content can ruin a reputation and in the end generate more negative buzz than if nothing had been attempted. You’ll see, if you follow the Direct2Dell link, that now this flaming battery episode is all over their corporate blog (we are mid August!).

This could not happen at a worse time for Dell, which reputation and stock is under pressure as highlights eWeek. As Dell Q2 results just have been released, reported by AP as “Dell Posts Disappointing 2Q Amid Probe“, let’s see how this computer giant can overcome this difficult time. To be continued…

Another poor hero of our Marketing 2.0 series is AOL – read here. I’m not chasing bad news, believe me, but AOL just happen to make another giant step in making sure their customers will walk away: their research division revealed a list of about 658,000 users and the Web searches they made. USA Today is asking today :”Could the end be near for America Online?“, and this is only the start of a new negative buzz.

Well fellow marketers, let’s hope there’s a way out of ignoring Marketing 2.0 or Marketing 2.0 beginners mistakes. After all, this is part of our job as well. And don’t take me wrong, I wish Dell and AOL to recover quickly.

AOL: free might be the answer to avoid getting Dell’d

Another big brand is jumping in the Free is good for our marketing syndrome. Time Warner (TWX) just announced yesterday that AOL will offer its e-mail and web services for free. The goal is to move heavily to a pure advertising revenue and stop the subscribers churn: they’ve been loosing 30% of their 26.7 million U.S. customers from Sept 2002, now down to 18.6 million. AOL expects to save more than $1B in marketing costs by the end of 2007 in doing so, placing their bet on the recent surge of advertising revenue – 40% up in one year to $449M. AOL is also risking its dial-up subscribers business, representing 80% of their income, which was $2B in the last quarter alone.

What are they doing to retain these customers?
Given the impressive churn rate AOL is suffering, I asked myself if AOL was not getting Dell’d as well. Not to mention of course that dial-up Internet access is not geared to expand in the future but they offer high-speed access.
Well, you know me by now, me writing this post is a strong indication that the answer is probably close to a YES. Here is an interesting experience of Vinny trying to cancel his AOL dial-up account. Do yourself a favor and have a good smile on your face, listen to Vinny’s recorded phone conversation with the AOL representative when trying to cancel. It is just amazing. The Consumerist then posted the apparently real AOL retention manual, a strong indication that what Vinnie recorded is not at all isolated. And of course bloggers started to buzz about it.

What is AOL answer to this negative buzz: FREE. We will give you more for free so you don’t go away or even better, you’ll subscribe to AOL as your boradband ISP.
Once the Internet king and now stumbling, AOL is to me a very good candidate to get Dell’d. I’d be curious to read about your Get Dell’d brand candidate list and stories about it. Feel free to post it here.

Is your brand relevant on line? Is Branding 2.0 born yet?

So what if you thought you did a wonderful job as a professional marketer at building your brand – Interbrand numbers published in Business Week would show, right ? And what if you suddenly discover this is not so true on-line, especially with the advent of Web 2.0? I can see this look in your eyes telling me “this frenchy is just trying to drive more traffic to his blog”.
Well, it might be worth asking this question to your favorite marketing gurus if you’re starting to have faith in Marketing 2.0. Meanwhile, here is a very interesting initiative that addresses it for mega brands. Future Labs, referred by the MIT Advertising Lab, did an extensive research to compare online brand relevance for the 100 brands listed in the 2005 Business Week/Interbrand report.
Some of the leading indicators for this new index are : the number times a brand is mentioned in Google, the number of Technorati blogposts about the brand, the relative reach of the brand’s website as per Alexa ranking and more – read details in the research document. While Future Labs is open about receiving contributions from marketers around the world to help them track other Web 2.0 centric leading indicators, this is already demonstrative enough to include it in our Marketing 2.0 arsenal.
I encourage you to take a look at the entire list, but let’s just reflect here how the 5 leading Future Labs rated Brands are ranking in the Interbrand index:

Google (GOOG)
eBay (EBAY) Apple (AAPL) Amazon (AMZN) Disney (DIS)
Future Labs 1 2 3 4 5
BW/Interbrand 38 55 41 68 7

By the way I could not resist to mention Dell ranking #15 vs #21 respectively.
Have a look at the one year compared stock performance for these 5 brands as well and compare it to this one about the 5 Interbrand index leading brands (Coca-Cola, Microsoft, IBM, GE, and Intel). Even if you didn’t take a look because you’re already tracking these companies stock, the answer is obvious: Future labs leading brands are performing better.
My recommendation: have on line relevance as part of your corporate branding team measurement. If you didn’t have your next team meeting agenda nailed down yet, add this one topic. But do not just brainstorm about it, Marketing 2.0 is already here, take action.

Don’t you ever get Dell’d! chapter 2

We discussed here how ignoring voice of customers (VOC), especially nowadays with blogs and other users generated media, could influence a company’s stock value. I focused part of the discussion about Dell’s experience in suffering negative hype from the blogosphere, a good example being Jeff Jarvis blog’s Dell category. I ended suggesting to CEOs to appoint a Marketing 2.0 minded Chief VOC Officer as Marketing 2.0 is about co-marketing with our customers.
Well, here is chapter 2 fellow marketers. Dell launched its corporate blog a.k.a. Dell one2one, this very month. But as Steve Rubel points out, they missed the point again. The intent is right, the goal seems to be well oriented, but execution is not aligned. Starting a corporate blog without making sure your company can engage the customer community in a genuine, transparent and honest 2 way conversation with your brand will just get you Dell’d. Make sure you start to engage with the most outspoken and spoiled ones. Be open minded an candid and take action up front on a rising negative buzz — not as the one started off this Dell laptop exploding in a Japan conference that was not cooled down (the buzz I mean, the laptop finally stopped burning).
By the way, I’m a Dell customer, and a happy one for now. So don’t take me wrong, I’m not trying to complain about this brand to get a freebie, a refund or even a free computer (though if they want to send anything my way I might think about it twice 😉 ).
The moral of this story, at least for chapter 2, is that Michael Dell might be this Chief VOC officer I was describing. Dell needs Michael back as points BL Ochman, outlining as I did that Dell stock is headed south big time so it would be about time to enter Marketing 2.0 era. Stay tuned for Chapter 3…

Don’t you ever get Dell’d !

Reading an article about a day in the life of Michael Dell – I know that kind of curiosity is really not to be outlined in our professional serious world, but hey, this is a blog – I discovered that quote from Michael Dell : “Our business model gives us fresh input from our customers every day, telling us what they like and don’t like.” Apparently Michael Dell starts his day by first checking queries and gripes from customers to fine tune his perception on how new products and services are working out for them.

Okay, then it should drive Dell’s stock up or at least in the good direction. I started then to compare some Internet based business model companies selling physical goods : Amazon and eBay. Here is how the Dell, Amazon and eBay respective stocks are comparing on a one year period. Apparently something happened during the first quarter of 2006, eBay just got pumped up. When you take a look at compared trends for 2006, Dell gets news references volume but eBay gets the search volume.

Well, we all know eBay relies on a business model which is natively Web 2.0, where the sold goods are coming from consumers themselves and trust is building upon consumers rating each other. This is neither Dell nor Amazon core business models. Apparently Dell is not paying attention to some ugly trends highlighted in blogs as this one, though it’s aging a bit, to the point where Fast Company coined the term getting Dell’d i.e. not reacting to on-line buzzing complaints about your brand services and products which quickly drives your sales or stock down (or both). Ugly isn’t it ? Fellow marketers, you don’t want to be marketing a brand that gets hype that way.

Finally, Amazon is struggling with classical financial analysis about their fourth quarter earnings while eBay gets headlines on how they’re looking to cash in on on blogs growth – about 75,000 new blogs a day for a total of 35M.

My take on this is : don’t you ever get Dell’d. Appoint a Marketing 2.0 executive that you’d call Chief Voice of Customers Officer, with Web 2.0 as the only authorized marketing media.