Case Study of Dell: Simple but Effective Marketing Strategy

In 1984, with only $1,000 in startup capital, Michael Dell established Dell as the first company in its industry to sell custom-built computers directly to end users, bypassing the dominant system of using resellers to sell mass produced computers. Since a young age Michael Dell has been intrigued and fascinated in the idea of eliminating unnecessary steps. So it was not surprising when he established a company where there marketing strategy was based on eliminating the middleman. “We sell computers directly to our consumers, deals directly with our suppliers, and communicate directly with our people, all without the unnecessary and inefficient presence of intermediaries. We call this “the direct model,” and it has taken us, to use a common phrase at Dell Computer Corporation, “direct to the top””. The direct business model eliminates retailers that add unnecessary time and cost, that could diminish Dell’s understanding of customer expectations. The direct model allows Dell to build every system in order to provide customers more powerful, better configured systems at competitive prices.

Dell Marketing Strategy Case Study

Dell’s direct business model is based on direct selling, eliminating the use of resellers and channels of retail. Dell was able to build brand loyalty amongst its consumers over a period of time through building direct relationships with them, constantly speaking to customers, and analyzing their preferences when purchasing a product. Through building these direct relationships which is a key component of the direct business method, Dell was able to understand and analyze the specific preferences of their consumers to satisfy their needs and wants. Expanding on the theme, Michael Dell expresses the emphasis of using the direct method thru direct relationship marketing: “With an average of approximately 1,400 telephone calls received daily, Dell gets real-time input from its customers regarding their product and service requirement, their views on various products in the market, and their response to Company advertising. This input gives the Company a competitive advantage in tailoring its product offerings and communication programs to meet its customers’ needs. Direct relationship marketing also eliminates the 25% to 45% dealer mark-up, thereby enabling the Company to price its products aggressively. In addition, the Company’s marketing strategy allows it to sell its products through Company employees who are trained specifically to sell Dell product.”

The efficiency of the direct business model by of direct marketing relationships benefited Dell tremendously. Rather than doing guesswork on what they thought customers wanted; they were able to find out exactly what customers desired and preferred. So not only was Dell able to manufacture the products that customers wanted, but they were also able to develop them at high quality. “Our ability to produce a line of high performance products compatible with accepted IBM standards.( In fact, many of our products had performance features that were superior to IBM systems, and were frequently top-ranked by publication such as PC Magazine and PC World.)”

Dell has been able to excel ahead of its competitors through the use of the direct model, one key strength that gave Dell a competitive advantage. Michael Dell’s focus on concrete issues like cutting operation costs, improving delivery time, and maintaining customer service is the underlying force that has driven the company. Michael Dell’s establishment of the “direct model,” as well as his exploitation of the benefits of the Internet, has contributed vitally to the company’s successes in both the US and overseas markets.

In 1998, Dell became the number two manufacturers and marketer of personal computers in the world. Michael Dell was able to take his company that he started with the little money he earned in college, and turn it into one of the most profitable company’s today. Dell grew five times faster than the industry rate. Stocks rose more than two hundred percent, which is the largest share gain in the S&P 500 and NASDAQ 100. In the chart below, statistics shows that Dell has been able to thrive within the PC market, having the second largest market shares behind Hewlett-Packard in 2009. Although this chart is from the first quarterly of 2009, in 2010 Dell’s market shares increased by 12.6 percent.

Dell has been able to excel ahead of its competition within their industry. They were able to do this because companies continued to guess what products their customers actually wanted, Dell was already aware of their customers wants and needs for their products. Dell had the upper hand on its competitors because other company’s were manufacturing product based on the assumptions. Companies such as HP, Acer, Toshiba, Gateway, and Apple were losing a lot of capital. This is from their lack of knowledge of the consumers.

Dell success is due in part to that they always had the willingness to look at things differently. In the industry that they are in that is important, and to stay motivated. This is important because when Dell first began using the Internet and expanding their business, many people said that it would not work. These were the same people who had doubted the direct business model and said it would fail. When Dell first began using the Internet to expand their business they had three objectives: “to make it easier to do business with Dell, to reduce the cost of doing business with Dell, and to enhance our customer relationship.” By using the Internet to help quicken the speed of information flowing between companies, made it possible to obtain precision and speed to market for products and services in very positive way.

Internet marketing or e-marketing strategies can be defined as the design of marketing strategies that capitalizes on the organization’s electronic or information technology capabilities to reach specified objectives. With the use of communication and technology, Dell has been able obtain customers information and history and store it in a warehouse. This information can be retrieved and accessed anytime for reporting issues. This data system warehouse serves as the safe of Dell’s marketing knowledge management system. So this is where Dell employee go to when analyzing customers behaviors and trends.

Understand the behavior of the customers is a very critical part in Dell’s marketing strategy. So thru having this data systems warehouse and the use of the direct business model, Dell is able to deliver the best experience to customers, whether it’s online or in stores. The deliverables of the customer experience objective are: Best value proposition; highest quality and most relevant technologies; customized systems; superior tailored service and support Products and services that are easy to buy (online 24×7) and use.

Dell divides their customers into two major groups, relationship and transactional. These two groups are very essential in the success of Dell’s products. Relationship customers are customers who buy repeatedly and in larger quantities or value, while Transactional customers are customers who buy less frequently and in smaller quantities or value. Both Relationship and Transactional customers are further sub-segmented.

Although many analysts may have criticized Dell’s marketing strategy as one that is very simple and basic, it has been proven to be very efficient. Dell continues to maintain market leadership and profitable growth, and continues to reach out to new markets.

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