Far be it for me to say that I know more about PC marketing than the great Michael Dell, but obviously something had better change and it had better change fast. Because whether Dell cares to admit it or not, Apple is obviously offering something that Dell is not. Therefore, may I be so bold as to point out the following:
Sell an experience and product usability, not a “PC.”
Thanks to the Apple commercials, regardless of the truth to them or not, PCs are simply not as sought after as they once were. Apple has managed to clearly show its potential customers exactly why they should want a Mac and what they can then do with it once it’s been purchased.
What has Dell been able to show its customers?
“Here are the latest specs. Sure, most of you have no idea why you would need this information. But it’s faster, although we cannot clearly communicate why this matters to you, the end user. Still, come and buy it!”
The above approach is where Dell’s current ads and mailings are today. I personally feel that too much emphasis has been placed on the power user, while the bulk of its target market is not seeing any reason to bother upgrading to another Dell machine.
Dell needs to better communicate, through traditional media, why potential users should care. I realize this is hard to do as it does not have any control over the bugs and benefits of the new Windows OS. However, it needs to be looking into bundling freeware or Open Source applications in order to begin the slow process of undoing the damage of unwanted trialware and lackluster support from people who clearly have no idea what they are talking about.
It’s Like Microsoft Vista launch ads all over again.
When I first discovered the new Dell TV ad, I almost cried out of pity for the soon-to-be unemployed person who came up with it. So lame in fact, I cannot find it anywhere else except on the Dell site – not so with Apple commercials. Dell’s piece was trying to attract the same age crowd.
Go to this link and look at this new TV ad. It’s off-topic and it takes an entire minute of women prancing around like fools to get the point made! Now to be clear, it would have been a cool commercial for the Gap or even Best Buy. But this commercial only shares one benefit of the notebook with me – it’s flat and small. Wow, where do I rush out to buy one of these flat and small notebooks? Oh yeah, at the Apple store…
Subtly insinuating that dropping a rather attractive engine into the notebook makes this computer fast still provides little sustaining value for the gamers it is trying to attract.
Crisis with an OS it has no control over.
Dell’s Linux efforts have been, at best, grassroots. Dell has strong feelings that it’s simply best to keep the target market at the migrating power user and this is a strong argument, be it one I still do not agree with should the right support be in place.
Regardless, Windows Vista has proven to be a disaster for Dell – that’s a simple fact. Despite the fact that Vista does, indeed, have way better security features than that of its XP cousin, people have simply grown tired of Vista’s growing pains.
Apple is handing Dell’s butt back to it in a bag because Apple has real control over the quality of the OS used on its products, pure and simple. OS X is a solid product. Even if I do not care for the UI myself, I have been recommending it over Vista left and right.
Short of the questionable use of restricted media formats on Ubuntu, if Dell provided peripherals for the end user using components that do work with Linux itself, there would absolutely no excuse not to take this to the mass user market – none. For the casual family, with the understanding that this is not Windows, which means that DRM goods are not happening here, Dell could finally recreate itself into something unique.
At this stage in the game, I am not going to say that it should try going exclusively Open Source. After all, it would lose millions, despite sagging sales figures. It’s a Windows world and there is nothing wrong with supporting that OS so long as customers are willing to purchase these goods from you. That said, things are coming to a head where Dell is going to have to rethink everything about itself – it’s already starting to happen. HP, among others, have them stomped thanks to the big box stores, as PC brand loyalty has little meaning to the average consumer.
It’s about immediate availability without shipping, offering a good price and providing the temptation to buy. If Dell hopes to have a snowball’s chance of future success, it will be embracing Ubuntu and developing better driver support for its products set to run on the distro as it will have no choice.
Vista has been a laughing fit for Windows, Linux, and OS X users alike. The entire release should have been a security-based Service Pack for XP as I have used it and can honestly say I do not see any appeal there whatsoever. I have heard some good things about Windows 7. Then again, that is assuming the word ‘bloat’ is finally being left at the door, real applications are bundled with it, and a clear vision of ‘why we want this’ has been given to us.
Windows XP was a success as it had the best from Win 2K and Windows 98SE. It rose from the ashes of Windows Me and with hope for Dell, Windows 7 had better do the same. Because thus far, Vista is not doing Dell or any other PC manufacturer any favors.
Oh, and to the folks who will (and it’s going to happen) point to Microsoft’s fantastic sales numbers, I would remind you that once you open that glossy looking Vista box from a retailer, you cannot return it. Fantastic sales, my eye! Try a monopoly bundled onto the distribution of most computers.
[tags]Windows, dell, PCs[/tags]