Online star struck – Dell IdeaStorm


My best blogging moment happened earlier this week, Vida Killian (Dell IdeaStorm manager) posted a comment on my Dell post where I outlined Dell‘s journey to listening. I was so excited and star struck at the same time – everyone in my office heard about it, as well as any of my interested friends (sorry).

The reason I was so excited was that I had only been writing my blog for five weeks and I already had the Dell IdeaStorm manager responding to one of my posts. As a blogger you want your posts to be read and enjoyed by other people, but when it is the manager of a site you have been holding up as best practice for so long, the thrill is even better.

The other reason I was so excited was that it showed Dell really are listening to what people are saying and their team of people they hired to listen to conversations around the world do capture everything.

In response to Vida posting a comment, I emailed her and within 24hrs she had replied to my email – what a week! In her email she provided me with a little more insight into how Dell had managed to make this massive cultural change. The key themes were:

  • Learn from mistakes – Dell learnt the hard way, but they were one of the first companies to do this and they have definitely learnt from their mistakes to be one of the pioneers. A lot of companies talk about test and learn, but Dell are actually doing it.
  • Embrace negatives – any negative customer experience can be changed into a positive. If companies know about the negative, they can resolve it. It’s the negative experiences you don’t hear about that hurt the company. Dell are listening to the negatives and sorting them out with the customer.
  • Top down – the cultural change was led by Michael Dell. He, personally, was responding and listening to what people were saying and encouraged the rest of Dell to get involved.
  • DNA – Listening to customers is core to Dell’s DNA – it’s their focus and their vision. Dell have a focus and all employees know what is expected of them.

I love Dell, or at least their embracing marketing practices. All companies can learn a lot from them.

If you want to read more about Dell, read my post on Dell’s journey to listening. The post that led to this post.

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Dell’s journey to listening – IdeaStorm


Whenever anyone asks me what my favourite campaign is, I always answer with two: Dell IdeaStorm and Nike+. The reason I love Dell IdeaStorm is that Dell were a brand that was is a really bad position (financially and from an advertising/marketing perspective). Their batteries were blowing up, their customer service was really bad and there was so much negative chatter about them in the blogosphere. Rather than being a defeatest, they started to trial new marketing ideas and got involved with the online community – a community that was losing trust in the brand (see examples below) quickly.

Dell Hell - Buzz Machine post

Dell Hell - Buzz Machine post

Dell Hell posts - where it gained momentum

Dell Hell posts - where it gained momentum

There was so much negative chatter and it was continuing to build momentum, so many other blogging celebrities were getting involved and channeling their negativity towards Dell. I am assuming at this point that Dell knew they had to do something drastic, so they started Direct 2 Dell (see initial screen grab below). A blog that was set up to provide an insight into Dell and some of the problems they were trying to overcome. However, rather than this being a proper blog (two way dialogue) all comments were moderated and edited prior to them appearing live.

Direct2Dell - launch design

Direct2Dell - launch design

This caused even more uproar in the blogging community and Dell had to do something desperate to respond to the situation. Introducing IdeaStorm. One of the best crisis marketing responses. Awesome. IdeaStorm not only invited comments and feedback from consumers, but it was an ideal way to try and contain the negativity. It also provided users the opportunity to share thoughts around product improvements and enhancements. The perfect new product development or market research tool.

IdeaStorm - Launch design

IdeaStorm - Launch design

Since launching Dell have updated the creative for both Direct2Dell and IdeaStorm, so they feel like they are from the same family.

Direct2Dell design update

Direct2Dell design update

IdeaStorm design update

IdeaStorm design update

SUMMARY

So the Dell negativity (Dell Hell) started in July 2005 and in just over three years Dell have managed to turn it around. To show Dell’s progression over the past three years, have a look at the following presentation.

LEARNINGS

What can a client take out of Dell’s learnings? A lot.

Although, for something like this to be implemented and deemed a success there needs to be a fundamental change to the way a company works. Before any company starts a blog or an online research/support centre, the following must be considered:

  1. Feedback loop – what is the process, internally, that will be implemented to ensure that the customer feedback is not falling on deaf ears and customers are kept updated on progress within the company.
  2. Customer service (support centre) – when are the majority of comments being made? When are they being responded to? What time period or response time has been agreed within the company? Can the support lines (call centres) be trained to answer some of these questions?
  3. Moderation – what happens with negative comments? How will they be answered? Will they remain on the site/blog?
  4. Transparency – how transparent are you willing to be with the audience? What are you prepared to share? Where are the boundaries?
  5. Owner – this needs to be driven internally by a project owner. A dedicated person within must be driving this and ensuring it is used to its full potential.
  6. Campaign duration – is this going to be a short-term thing or will there be a company-wide change to ensure listening to the customers is ingrained into the company culture?
  7. Traffic drivers – how are consumers going to know the site/blog exists? Will it be an online only, integrated or piggy back off the back of another campaign?
  8. Measurement – how will success be measured? What will be used as benchmarks?
  9. Optimisation – how will the site/blog be optimised? How often? What is the plan?
  10. Shared learnings – how will the learnings be shared with the rest of the company?

Overall, this is an awesome marketing campaign and shows Dell is listening to its customers.

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Web development: 10 assumptions to think about


Palmer Web Marketing wrote an interesting article about 10 assumptions that must be considered when developing a website.  Below are the 10 assumptions:

  1. People will know how to find your website
  2. People know what you sell
  3. Everything will go as planned
  4. People know where to click
  5. People know how to get home
  6. People know where they are
  7. People know how to buy
  8. People will volunteer loads of personal information
  9. People will contact customer service if they have a question or problem
  10. People will come back

I think assumption 1 and 10 are true within most agencies: people know how to find your site and they will return. Too often we build these great sites for clients, but don’t think about how we are going to drive traffic to the site or what we are going to do to ensure it keeps back. As corny as it is, we need to think of a website being like an island, without bridges it doesn’t get any traffic. It’s our role to define what those bridges are (a combination of paid for and free traffic) and how we can generate a constant stream of traffic to the site/island.

There are so many ways that traffic can be driven to a website (I will post more about this because it is one of my favourite topics):

In regards to driving repeat traffic, this is extremely hard. Question: how many campaign sites do you return to on a weekly basis? I don’t go back to many unless it’s connected to a promotion/competition that I am actually interested in winning or it is one of my client’s competitors sites.

LEARNINGS

If there are two things to take out of this post, they are think about:

  1. How you are going to drive traffic to the site consistently (even after the campaign launch period)
  2. How you will drive traffic back to the site (what’s the incentive? content? promotion? other? Why would they come back?)
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