Dell sees social media as vital future revenue stream
Senior VP says traditional business products remain key, but social media becoming a bigger focus, writes JJ WORRALL
Dell senior vice president and chief marketing officer Karen Quintos is backing social media to become a vital revenue stream for the company.
However, during a flying visit to Dell’s Dublin offices in Cherrywood, Quintos added that aside from its recently launched Social Media Services offering, overall Dell product development this year “won’t deviate” from established products such as notebooks, desktops and tablets, as well as infrastructure and cloud-based IT services.
A combination of advisory services, data analysis and “listening command centres” – which can allow customers to “monitor 25,000 conversations every single day” related to their brand – make up the company’s social media portfolio.
Quintos said it’s “too early to say” if these developments will translate into any jobs boost at the company’s Dublin or Limerick campuses any time soon.
Quintos said that the ability to turn Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook data into “sales leads” and marketing strategy statistics is the “crown jewels” of how to “use social media in the right way”. She added Dell is “talking” to LinkedIn regarding innovations in generating social media-based sales leads.
Quintos, a regular Twitter user, added that at present there are “three main mistakes” that companies make when trying to use social platforms for marketing purposes. The biggest error “is not getting started”, she said, noting that social media engagement is an imperative as “if you’re not in these conversations they’re happening without you”.
The second mistake she mentioned was to follow an “if you build it, they will come” attitude, noting that businesses have to engage with users rather than the other way around.
The final stumbling block – and an area Dell will hope to profit from through its expertise – is that many businesses simply don’t “understand and utilise the richness of the analytics and the customer data you can get by mining” social media sites.
New revenue streams such as social media services are essential for the world’s third-largest PC maker following recent disappointing figures, including an 11 per cent decrease in revenue in the third quarter of 2012 and a 20 per cent decrease in PC shipments between October and December last year. Like traditional PC market rival HP, Dell has moved towards IT services and software development in search of profits as laptop and desktop sales flounder.
Indeed, services and software accounted for $3 billion of the $13.7 billion in Dell’s revenue in the third quarter of 2012, with some of the work responsible for this emanating from the Dell Solution Centre in Limerick.
Though with some analysts predicting HP will be broken up and sold off in the near future, Dell will be anxious to avoid some of its rival’s errors in these relatively new markets, including billions in hit-and-miss acquisitions over the past seven years.
Noting that there are “some questions” regarding HP’s strategy, Quintos emphasised that Dell is happy to be seen as a company with a wildly diverse business model, leaving it, she said, “uniquely positioned” to help clients deal with “big strategic questions” of any kind, whether they’re related to hardware, securing data, data storage or the cloud.