Posts Tagged: Segmentation

Aug 09

What If Social Media Were Down Permanently ?

Picture from cote

Picture from cote

A friend and fellow marketer Emma Brooks has declared today #InternetFAILday as a result of the multiple failures on social networking and commerce sites. This got me thinking what would happen if companies suddenly lost social media  as a marketing/business tool? Especially now that many customers are accustomed to these practices , how could current social media practices be scaled down into real life settings? Here are a few of my thoughts on this issue:

Customer Service: Many companies are trying to improve their service offering through their online channels having ignored the poor service their customers receive in person. Without this tool sales/service people to be successful would need to be much more autonomous and have the tools they need in front of them instead of outsourced to call centers/outside locations.

This would be a major business shift for most companies. Instead of having a sales orientation in their stores where metrics and the bottom line is the most important part of operations, a customer service orientation would need to be taken where relationships and customer satisfaction would need to be seen as a major driver of sales.

Customer Connection: With the loss of internet tools customers would lose the sense of connection with companies and other customers. They would lose the ability to come together and discuss the direction and changes to the company. Companies would lose a great market research outlet but they also may lose the strong brand evangelists that spread word of mouth for their company as well .

A company I feel that takes this relationship building and does it well on a personal level is Lululemon. By supporting the local yoga communities and offering interaction mechanisms in store (little fun activities and yoga classes) customers feel connected to the company on a deeper level.  Customers don’t think of the company as an organization that just sells them stuff but they also see them as a community hub. Social media places a large focus on grouping customers together and building communities, why can’t stores themselves work on building communities locally?

Customer Segmentation:  Without social media some things could be much more costly to do. Customer segmentation would be one of them and without social media this would be a be a large strategic challenge for companies. Using the internet and social media , companies have often times tried to attract all groups through customized product offerings and communities. Knowing each individual customer and customizing their experience would be too hard to do in the offline world. It would mean that a company’s customer list would either need to be scaled down so they know each individual customer to  place them  in a specific category or there would be a big brother scenario where every action a customer takes is recorded (not a very friendly situation).

Social media offers information about customers that real world interactions don’t and in this case it would be strategically better to define the customer your company wishes to target instead. By doing this all efforts and resources are focused on  being a strong product/service supplier for a single group building market and mind share among these customers. While the downfall of this would mean that your market is significantly smaller, this also means that your resources are more effectively used saving you money in the long run.


In closing I think this is a great exercise for companies to be doing. If social media were to just suddenly end today how would their company operate? What changes would need to be made? Looking at how they could improve their operations in real life situations could be an opportunity to further strengthen the company as a whole and create a company much more focused around the customer.

May 09

Della: A Missed Opportunity

As reported by Engadget Dell has decided to dramatically change its recently posted Della Micro site after only 10 days of being online.  Designed as a site  to communicate with women offering them user tips and product suggestions Dell looked to create an environment that was welcoming and knowledgeable to the computing needs of this customer segment.

Interesting thinking but instead the project almost immediately blew up in their face. The initial content such as the tips and tricks can be found here and here but to give a brief discussion it spoke about things such as finding recipes on the net, counting calories and as we know every woman’s favorite color PINK (LIKE OMG!) . Instead of attracting women they were feeling put off and they were letting their voices heard online:

From their facebook page:

Um, some of us ladies were checking out Dells new Della computer section and we think it is condescending of you to make a different one for women as though we are not as smart as men when it comes to computers??” – Wynter Gentry Nash

….if it wasn’t for the tech tips section of the site, I wouldn’t be offended, but all it seems to imply is that women don’t care for anything but cooking and gossiping and looking fashionable with their computer.” Caily Jones as well as on the

On Della site itself:

“..This is  a load of fluff that only serves to provide insight into how Dell perceives my demographic. Essentially, we women will buy anything if it comes in pink and fits in our purse.” User UmmmWhat

Overall Dell took a huge grilling from this audience they wanted to pursue and very smartly made some changes to the site such as updating the tips section and changing the Della name to ” Dell Lifestyle”. In my opinion the site is still a bit fashiony/ultra feminine but its passable.

Now the question is ,isn’t segmenting your market important in marketing?? Absolutely, and if Dell executed the site right it could have been successful but here are a few things that it seems they did wrong:

Stereotyping/Over Segmentation: My initial impression of the Della website was that it targeted women concerned about  fashion and things that are ‘cute’ ( I’m thinking Paris hilton types) it didn’t delve into anything technical and rather focused on the smaller netbooks and that you can have colors on your laptops. Mistake: The majority of women haven’t been locked away and want more from a laptop than just email and facebook.They use it day to day at their work and they blog, make movies etc. They want to know which machine is going to suit the reasons they use their computer.

Women using computers

There are many women who know computers,advertising a pink computer isn't going to work anymore- Photo Via Flickr from TheSeafarer

Created a Man/Woman separation: looking again at the sites lack of any technical topics it didn’t acknowledge that there are  women in the high tech industries. This was definitely an opportunity missed! There are many smart women out there who do tech ( I personally know a few ) but very often anything dealing with computers and things technical like that is seen as an area for men. Highlighting the  successes of women in computers could have not only welcomed women into buying a dell  but it could also left viewers of the site with a feeling of empowerment and wanting to go out and do the same. This also could have been a great opportunity to expand into  mentioning Dell’s other business of computer accessories and products.

I think it was very smart of Dell to have listened to the negative feedback and react as soon as they did, it will definitely cut any negative coverage or drop in sales they would have suffered if it were online any longer. Unfortunately I think they lost out on a great opportunity , and had they been more careful with the execution they could have had a site for audiences to talk about . A website that embraced the needs of women in computing and helped  women be successful with laptops and computers.  In the end of it all  when it comes down to segmentation I think  it comes down to doing the research  but also importantly when you’re online acknowledging all of the audiences that will be viewing your website and not making anyone feel inferior.

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