Dell revises strategy

Dell Computer, which shook up the computer world with its revolutionary mail-order marketing strategy, is once again challenging the industry's established ways of doing things.On Aug. 2, Austin, Tex.-based Dell unveiled a new strategic approach that will see it abandon the...

Dell Computer, which shook up the computer world with its revolutionary mail-order marketing strategy, is once again challenging the industry’s established ways of doing things.

On Aug. 2, Austin, Tex.-based Dell unveiled a new strategic approach that will see it abandon the old place-oriented categories used to define computer markets, for example the home office, the small business and the large business.

Instead, the company, which was formed in 1984, will define the market according to the type of person who uses a given product.

Five specific user types have been identified: the ‘techno boomer’ is a new user whose priority is ease of use; the ‘techno to go’ is impatient and simply wants to buy a computer in a box; the ‘techno teamer’ works in a computer network and so requires the appropriate hardware and software; the ‘techno critical’ works in a high-performance environment and needs the best equipment available; the ‘techno wizard’ is a computer geek who wants the cutting edge in bells and whistles.

Paul Rubin, vice-president of marketing for Dell Canada, explains that by focussing on the market in terms of well-defined user types and then developing matching products, Dell hopes to become more aware of consumer needs.

Previously, Dell did not perceive the market in a manner that enabled it to see so many different nuances, says Rubin, adding the company’s consumer advertising will soon begin to reflect the new market segmentation.

Dell has already announced three new products designed to appeal to specific techno types, and it has said the line will be broadened in the near future.

Significantly, since Dell is primarily a mail-order retailer, it is not faced with financing the cost of producing inventory and shipping product to retailers.

‘That’s a real advantage for us,’ Rubin says. PA