Can Marketing Save Dell?

The short answer? Yes, it can. But I am talking about the old-fashioned kind of 4-P marketing. Advertising alone cannot save Dell. They have to get all it all right – including (very importantly) product. In today’s interconnected world, if the product isn’t right, the advertising won’t matter.

In many categories, but especially cellphones and computers, if the product isn’t right the rest won’t matter. The online advocates and influentials will take the product apart and tell their communities (Cellular has >6 MM messages/year in the US alone) whether it is good or bad.

These communities don’t rely on the manufacturer to tell them if something is good or not – they rely on their peers. (If you don’t believe this, just take a look at Howard Forums and see if you can find a better source of cellphone information. Same thing exists in all almost any category.)

So, this is what the world looks like today:


Consumers might be interested based on the initial specs and marketing, but within a few weeks of release, all that matters is the product as evaluated by their community. If the product isn’t there, the rest won’t matter.

That is why (among many other reasons) advertising cannot save Dell.  By the way I think Dell knows this – just go read Andy Lark’s post on the subject.



5 Responses to Can Marketing Save Dell?

  1. Eddie Wong says:

    First of all, Dell should organize a product evaluation team. The function is to evaluate the performance, reliability, design and the general appearance of its product.

    Secondly, Dell should conduct a marketing survey on customer satisfaction, service, support and product availability.

    Thirdly, Dell should have its own business depot so that the products are readily available and staff are present to assist the customers as well as to address their needs.

  2. Jay@dell says:

    Excellent points made in the original post and in Eddie’s response. Word of mouth, direct customer feedback and trusted recommenders factor prominently in Dell’s new consumer strategy.

    Dell is continually evaluating the most effective ways to collect customer feedback and integrate it into planning and processes. Much of that goes on behind the scenes, but some of the more prominent and successful implementations include the customer reviews feature on and the highly successful Dell promotion on QVC Dec. 2. In both cases a unique community of interest shapes the discourse.

  3. tomob says:


    No question Dell has been a trailblazer in using social media and word of mouth. As you know – this won’t get less importnt!


  4. can dell save marketing? are we about to witness would could be the construction of the agency of the future as wpp build one from scratch around the client….

  5. tomob says:


    Is it Agency 2.0?

    1 Story ==> Creative Execution ==> Multiple Delivery Channels

    With some wonky measurement guys over on the side running ROI all the time to see what works.


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