Brand disruption at Dell

Dell’s market leadership in PCs and servers is eroding, according to the NY Times (sub req). HP and others are catching up, or have caught up. Apple, of course, has its own enviable gig that Dell can only dream about.

Don’t “target” customers; create them.
Dell’s predicament is what happens when you focus your business on targeting customers instead of creating them. The Dell brand once stood for decent, affordable computers using the latest technology. Now that other computer makers can offer the same value proposition, Dell’s once dominant position is threatened. HP and others are stealing the air from the Dell brand. In a few years when Chinese computer manufacturers are selling direct to customers in the States, using all the supply chain tricks learned from Dell, what will be Dell’s claim to fame?

At one time, Dell service was a strong differentiator (5 Dell’s in our office at last count.) But Dell service is now a huge black mark. So no traction there.

The reason you want to be “creating customers” is to keep growing your customers with new capabilities and freedoms so they won’t be satisfied with yesterday’s solutions. Your brand is an incredibly protean and potent tool in its ability to unlock market value. Alas, as Dell is learning the hard way, merely “targeting” customers is a dead end.

Today’s target is tomorrow’s hole.

Thanks to Jeff Jarvis.

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