The opportunity to speak with the global Director of the Small to Medium Business Division for Dell was a chance to get some insight into how a Global 500 company leverages social media to market their products and services to both the business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) and our time with Michael Buck was no disappointment.
Michael is the Director and General Manager for the Global Small and Medium Online Business at Dell, and is responsible for the overall online business and strategy for Dell SMB worldwide. When he spoke with us from his offices in Stuttgart Germany, Guy Powell and I were able to find out a great deal about how Dell manages and measures their social marketing and their online presence.
In our first episode, we learned about the Four Pillars of the online marketing strategy they employ and in episode 2 we heard about the five Customer Value Drivers and the five key metrics they apply to measure the success of their online efforts. In our last episode, Michael shared how Dell works hard to present a broad offering of online communities and communications options to support the B2B and B2C initiatives and to give customers a chance to have their voices heard and to drive the innovations in products and services they want to invest in from Dell.
In this episode, we wrap up the conversation with Michael with him sharing how Dell is absolutely committed to social media as a fundamental tactic because they see success in it and they see how well the customer base responds to it. He also points out that the massive increase in social engagements in other geographies, away from North America, to other regions that including Brazil, Russia, India and elsewhere.
A second area of focus for Dell is an increased effort on Search; Michael suggests that search is where customers are looking for information and they expect to increase and improve their presence in search engine marketing (SEM) and as for a business like Dell, you should ‘fish where the fish are’ with paid advertising in the search engines.
The next key element he suggests will be businesses targeting market influencers. Influencers can expand your exposure and credibility in social media and influencers provide a multiplier effect to your efforts – he sees Dell and other companies beginning to target those influencers with a more consistent and focused effort.
The fourth element he shares is an encouragement for businesses to development an engagement ecosystem of online and offline media assets that present a cohesive and consistent message for customers so that the marketing message carries between them seamlessly.
Next is the topic of mobile computing and this is getting to be a red hot space for businesses wanting to adopt social media. Mobile is a big area for deployment of social media, particularly in light of the migration of social activity to other geographic areas that will have different connectivity models, one where mobile devices will be the dominate access tactic.
He restates that ‘Marketing is the New Finance’ and businesses wanting to improve revenues and reduce costs need to look to more efficient marketing to do so, but not without some metrics and measurement. As social becomes a bigger part of the marketing mix, businesses need to understand how to engage and further to grasp the idea that a social campaign is not as streamlined as traditional marketing campaign. Social media is still a bit of a jungle and businesses need to be prepared to handle a few mistakes along the way.
Lastly, and possibly most important is that Michael makes it clear that social media is not a gimmick for him and the team at Dell – it is a way of working and a way for we, as humans to interact with one another more and to deliver a higher degree of service to customers. He suggests that if a company understands that, they can excel in their respective marketing effort, but social needs to becomes a part of the culture and not just a shtick or PR stunt – those efforts are a sure way to get your brand called out or worse, ignored.
This is the final episode of the four part podcast with Michael Buck. Guy Powell, Jerry Dimos and I want to thank him; we appreciate her perspective and taking the time to share it with us in our podcast interview!
Here are links to material related to the interview that you may find useful; the entire conversation in one extended recording and a transcript of the conversation
We’re very interested in your perspective on the topic and, if you have a great interview who can add to the conversation, please let us know – we’re looking to interview them and put it up here!
Thank you again to you our listeners – hope you enjoyed the effort and work we put into it!
The Podcast and Credit For Where Credit is Due – This podcast / transcript was developed from a live recorded interview on April 13th, 2010 between Michael Buck, Director and General Manager for the Global Small and Medium Online Business at Dell, Guy Powell and Steven Groves. The interview was arranged via Jerry Dimos.
The transcripts are sponsored by Social Marketing Conversations and the introduction Voice Talent is Ms. Cynthia Propst.