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If I Were President – IIWP#3: Dell 2.0 Consumer/SOHO segment

November 7, 2007

Dell is a fascinating company. Any company that can go from zero to multi-billion dollar global deserves further study, to learn not only how they grew – but how they were able to go from good to great. They have had their problems for sure – low cost business strategy is one of the most difficult and disciplined to follow – if you stray – you loose your shirt.Dell has begun to re-invent itself.

Dell 2.0 as some have come to call it (like Dell 1.0) will yield much valuable learning for the rest of us. Not being one afraid to step out on the limb, I have prepared my own small version of the things I would do in a Dell 2.0 world to help grow the business. And as far as I can tell – they haven’t come to look at their business in quite this way – so who knows how this might end. I have deliberately kept this focused on practical executable tactics they would be able to pursue today. 

If I Were President of Dell 2.0 – consumer and small business division.

 The foundation of all the strategic and tactical executions against this group is to build an engaging reinforcing customer experience through all customer touch points. It’s a fundamental truth that people remember their feelings long after forgetting the specific facts. So building on the experience will be key – especially because this is a long consumption cycle – it being 3+ years before the customer is likely top be in the market for an upgrade/replacement.  

Having ensured there is a solid understanding of the customer, their profitability and their needs – from this point forward all touch points would be designed to build/reinforce their experience of Dell as their primary solution source and working to create a passion for Dell because of the brand’s commitment to becoming an integral part of the customer’s purchase experience – throughout the purchase AND product life cycle.This involves having an understanding of their brand value chain ( product styling, product configuration, product ecosystem, brand communication, purchase experience, billing, setup experience, warranty experience, product evolution/innovation, community) all of these elements need to be evaluated against the customer segment needs and ensuring they are delivering the value that customer segment needs/wants.

Needs cover the gamut from experience (gaming, digital life/multimedia, basic computing); result driven needs for productivity, learning, entertainment; lifestyle needs (rugged vs mobility vs anchored) tech adoption needs (forward vs back leaners) and population cohorts – turning these needs into passionate solutions would spark greatness. 

Once a product configuration cluster (aligning the relevant performance requirements, speed, sound, visual, connectivity, mobility, durability) is matched up to the relevant customer need segment, we would be ready to go to market with a share of life marketing perspective. 

This is key – in the past Dell tended to end their relationship not long after the box arrived. With this new approach we are looking to extend the relationship for a life time. For the sake of simplicity – I have outlined 5 key buckets of time where Dell would have an active customer engagement

  1. Pre-Purchase Phase – Building brand awareness and interest via the 1.0 and 2.0 communication channels – the difference being that we are looking to communicate against more targeted customer needs – based on the elaboration above
  2. Purchase Phase – having attracted customers based on their needs – we walk with them through the purchase funnel by helping them understand the value of the configuration they are considering for purchase. I would have customers enter key information about their current computer (cpu speed, hard disk, sound, ram, screen..) or have that extracted via an application and fed into the purchase funnel. Therefore customer would know that the Option 1 configuration they are considering is 40% faster, has 70% bigger hard drive etc…

This is a unique and valuable tool for the customer to help them understand the value proposition they are buying into. This would be a dynamic tool that would extend to allow up to 3 options for benchmarking To also assist with the configuration – I would have helpful suggestions (people who bought this also choose that component) .

Once the purchase configuration has been selected – I would ask for the next order. Why not leverage the cost of acquisition over 2 purchases? I would ask for a $200 down payment on the next purchase that when exercised would be worth $400-ish to the customer. A simple way of establishing an ongoing link with the customer. Because you have their money – they will be much more interested in staying in touch with you – and so the communication channel just got a lot more relevant, focussed and clearer. 

3. Delivery: Now that the purchase has transpired – what about creating some excitement to the big day when the computer arrives. Make the arrival an event. Have fun! 

The components:

 a countdown clock would be available for download to build excitement toward the big D3 – DELL DELIVERY DAY

-emails would be issued and micro sites created to help customers prepare for the transitioning of their data from the old to the new.

-customer testimonials to reinforce their purchase decision

a list of contacts for help support

-the Dell carton would be redesigned to incorporate the look of a big present

Inside the box:

customers would find balloons, noise makers, hats…, all the stuff to create a fun event

a gift certificate for pizza, or Starbuck coffee etc… as a way of saying THANK YOU and recognizing the fact that when a new computer arrives, people get very little sleep because they are playing with their new TOY

a welcome message from Michael Dell

–a contest for customer to send their Dell opening moment video’s

–proactive calls from customer service to see that the box arrived, all was in order etc…

In short all the things that can be done to own the moment – while buying/building the computer through to the moment the Dell computer arrives. This can easily lay the foundation for some legendary publicity – but we won’t stop there because we are pursuing a share of life program. 

            4. First 90 days: I would introduce weekly outreach campaign to stay in contact with the customer

including tips on getting the most out of your Dell

direction to the knowledge base most pertinent to customer needs

invitation to take advantage of the value-added ecosystem of partners developed by Dell for YOU

reaffirm need for other (service/warranty) support packages (available at your preferred customer price)

reaffirm need for other peripherals (available at your preferred customer price) 

           5. Rest of Life: I would do many things including:

remind customers every 3-6 months they have a $400 pre-purchase option to exercise whenever they choose – perhaps an upgrade to the existing configuration, a peripheral, a new system?

  “This is my Dell” portal incorporating personalized, integrated segment relevant information and resource links as well as system configuration, history and scheduled maintenance dates to help the customer manage the product life cycle:

 provide semi-annual reminders of (free) value offers to customers (Virus Scanning) and other ‘Spontaneous Acts of Human Kindness”

 create extended value ecosystem to be supported with separate communication plan for each of the key communities:

Business Community: couriers, consultant network, government resources, association links, SEO, ecommerce, travel partners, website, free blog etc… leveraging Dell’s power in the market place to secure better deals for its customers.

Gaming Community: Community Blog/portal, User generated content – gaming reviews, cheat tips, best scores, rumors etc…

Digital Life Community: Resource centre (Tips, How To’s), community showcase, links to Social Media.

Mobility Community: links to relevant mobility apps, efficiency tips, news,community forum

Looking forward to your comments.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. johnpatdell permalink
    November 5, 2007 2:36 pm

    Interesting post, Miro. You are abosolutely correct on the need for Dell to transcend a transactional approach in our consumer business and become much more relational. If you want to post some of your ideas for consideration by Dell’s management, please check out http://www.ideastorm.com.

  2. styx60 permalink
    June 10, 2008 12:17 pm

    I think someone in Dell or one of their many ex-agencies read your article. They have been testing a 90 Day welcome programme for teh past few months.

  3. June 10, 2008 12:29 pm

    Thank you – appreciate the notice.
    Quite the ego stroke as well.

    Will try to find out what I can from johnpatdell

    Update:
    Apparently this report from styx60 is true. Dell USA are testing a consumer program that contains certain elements of what has been outlined in my post.

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