June 30, 2009

Dell v Acer: Multichannel and Social Media Considerations

Dell is a social media darling. The Twitterati love to talk about Dell's social media strategy, and enthusiastically call out the fact that Dell has sold $3 million of merchandise on Twitter. $3 million is a good thing!

Dell is a multichannel darling, too. They spent the past few years expanding into retail, leaving their direct-to-consumer and direct-to-business roots behind to align with Best Buy, Staples, and Wal-Mart. Direct + Retail is a long-established multichannel marketing gold standard.

Dell takes full advantage of customization and personalization, all good for the customer!

Dell is doing what leading marketing experts tell companies they should do, in order to be successful.

Then there is Acer. They don't leverage Social Media, they don't follow leading Multichannel Marketing strategies, and they don't offer the Customization that Dell offers.

So how is it that Acer is poised to pass Dell later this year for the #2 computer maker spot?

Use the comments section to explain this unique outcome.


  1. "Dell takes full advantage of customization and personalization, all good for the customer!"

    Dell doesn't truly offer customization in the retail channel so they lose that benefit. At the same time, they have a higher cost structure than Acer so they can't compete on price.

  2. That would imply that price > (multichannel + social media + customization), right?

  3. Funny to hear that Dell can't compete on price. At one time they were so far ahead of their competitors on efficiency and costs that it looked like no one could catch up. Maybe they lost focus on the backend while trying to drive the top line?

    One other point about Dell that is valid: their quality has deteriorated rapidly. A Dell computer isn't what it used to be and now even long-time Dell customers (like myself) see others as equal or better in quality. Big mistake on their part.

  4. i think the one size fits all multi channel approach is the problem here. the "gold" standard tends to forget that there will always be multiple types of customers. could they have recognized that they have competitors on both sides of the curve - low end and high end? Could social media apply to both sides? could the "gold" standard apply to both? it looks like its more - because we have the gold standard customers will come.

    in the end, price does indeed defeat all else. i am guessing that dell changed some of its core supply methodology - didn't they brag that they can get parts and supplies efficiently? given that infrastructure, couldn't they have created a very low cost computer?

  5. Dell is stepping over dollars to pick up pennies. How can you brag about making $3MM from social media when you are a 61B/year company? Social media isn't a sales channel for them... it's a play thing.

  6. I wonder if Dell brags about that fact, or if the social media folks brag about the fact they made $3 million.

    As marketers, we don't brag enough about the real facts that drive increases in sales, or increases in market share. Sometimes, those real facts are boring --- price and quality, for instance.

    Good point, Lee!


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