Dell Inc. is an American multinational ICT corporation which is based in Dell Way, Texas, United States. Dell Inc. is the world’s number one direct-sale computer vendor and competes with Hewlett-Packard in that segment. In addition to desktop and notebook PCs designed for consumers, It also sells handheld computers, a line of Ethernet switches, and consumer electronics such as digital music players and LCD televisions. It builds up, sells and support computer machines and related products and services. Dell eliminated the retail markup, by selling PCs at about 40 percent of the price of an IBM (Dell & Fredman, 1999). Michael Dell renamed his company Dell Computer and consequently increased the number of international sales offices in 1987.
In the year 1988, Dell Inc. sold to larger customers that included government agencies and in the same year it went public (Fields, 2004). In 1996, Dell started selling PCs and notebook computers through its Web site. This channel of order confirmation and shipping and handling is still the bread- and-butter means of addressing Dell’s consumer and enterprise customers’ requirements. The company bears the name of its founder, Michael Dell and is one of the largest technological corporations in the world which and employs more than 100,000 people from various parts of the world and is listed number 44 in the Fortune 500 list (Fields, 2004).
The world is in appreciation that IT is perquisite for global opening. This is an opportunity for Dell Inc. to foresee new market opportunities and dominate in them. The company has the capacity to expand its operations to new areas. Due to the rising demand of computers in the business fraternity, the company has an opportunity to expand its production capacity. There is the need to the merger and corporate and introduce new marketing strategies to increase market dominance. Market and brand leadership are invisible for any business to grow. There is an opportunity for the company to develop new products, which takes time to be obsolete. The paper focuses on the role of marketing research in helping Dell maintain and build on its market position in the personal computers market. It also defines and promotes the application of 4ps marketing mix as the core marketing strategy that Dell Inc should apply for maximized results.
Marketing research is a holistic process which consists of five main activities. The first step is problem definition when a gap has been identified between the actual condition and the desired state by an organization. A research design is a framework for conducting a marketing research project, and it can either be exploratory, descriptive and casual design. In any research process, there are two main types of data collection methods; the primary (survey, observation), and secondary data (internal or external data base).
For many decades, marketing has been regarded as a key component in any society since it is a social process which creates and exchange products and services of value to others. It is on this understanding, that marketing research finds its relevance in many organizations that want to effectively plan and execute the concept of pricing and distribution of its products and services to its customers. Malhotra (2001) defines marketing research as a systematic process of gathering, recording, analyzing and using that data for the purposes of improving and making significant marketing decisions.
Dell Inc. will make use of market positioning and differentiation strategies in separating its services from those of its competitors. Positioning will enable Dell Inc. to understand their customer’s needs and then create value for them by using differentiation. Market research will be necessary to understand how customers think about similar products and service that Dell Inc. offers. The company will differentiate its products by utilizing the demographic information generated from market research. This demographic information will be broken down into the following areas: socio-economic status, age, ethnic background, age, religious affiliation, and family life cycle. Dell Inc. will evaluate the segment preferences, which will provide usable data to formulate a suitable position for its company in regard to demographics. This will allow Dell Inc. to differentiate the products to their customer base through a niche product curtailed to meeting their needs.
Dell Inc. will develop a customer relationship management database that will help in getting information and feedback from clients. This will aid in better positioning of the company, with the correct demographics similar but unique to those of the competitors. As a result, Dell Inc. customers will see the superior value of the company in regard to their competitors, hence giving it a competitive advantage (Jain, 1999).
The application of 4ps marketing mix will be the core marketing strategy of Dell Inc. The marketing mix will guarantee the company success while indulging in non-profit activities. The 4Ps marketing mix stands for price, place/distribution, promotion, and product. They enable the company to remain inclined to the customer’s angle as a major objective. Product in the company means the service or goods it offers consumers. The product strategy hence becomes vital for the organization of the company (Marketing News, 2008).
The management considers the abilities of the company in terms of sales, production, and engineering. Dell Inc. should thoroughly analyze the consumer needs before delivering goods. It should consider the nature of competition expected in the market. It also should recognize the need for technological development in operation and the need to use the latest technologies. The success of the company should come from consideration of the nature of its products, applicability, characteristics, and advantages for consumers.
Price makes an essential part of the marketing mix in Dell Inc. It is charges for services and products. There exist a strong relationship between pricing, product positioning, and targeting, hence pricing strategy has significance for Dell Inc. Pricing also affects other three marketing mix strategies (Anderson, 2009). Demand, nature of the market, and cost affect pricing. The company should offer its products and services at a favorable price to attract many customers. Promotion forms the third marketing mix strategy in Dell Inc. Customers keep abreast of the company’s progress. Promotion should occur in two forms above and below the line method. Above the line type of advertising, includes TV, radio, newspapers, the Internet, and mobile phones advertisements. Promotion strategy forms a crucial communication strategy in Dell Inc. eliminating the risk of losing potential buyers and increasing the number of customers.
Place strategy forms the distribution aspect in Dell Inc. The company should continue with a distribution channel at low cost and employ experts to assist it to ascertain the right time to reach its customers in time. This strategy will enable the company to make timely supply of the products, and eliminate inconveniences. Dell Inc. mainly conducts foreign businesses, hence creates targets to efficiently operate abroad (Beamish & Ashford, 2007). Foreign market means global market; thus all strategies must overcome the competition in the market. Dell Inc. has a flexible business model that is why the company easily changes strategies from one nation to another. Promotion, product, price, and distribution vary depending on the countries’ technological level.
The company should recognize the need for ethics and social responsibility and ensure that all operations are ethical and applying the 4Ps to be sure that it functions efficiently. The company has global operations, and that is why flexibility should be applied of marketing strategies for its success. Application of the 4Ps will enable the company to conduct mass marketing without exploiting its customers.