Why Dell and other PC manufacturers should follow Apple.
Remember the old marketing adage KISS? Keep It Simple Stupid. It seems like some PC manufacturers are working overtime to keep it complex. Look at Dell, for example. Can you tell me the difference between a Vostro, Inspiron, or Latitude laptop? Did you know they have at least two other brands in the laptop quiver? (XPS, Precision) How in the world can the average consumer go to Dell.com and select a simple laptop? Where do they start? What’s the value proposition of each of the sub-brands of Dell?
Now let’s look at Apple, the most successful computer company in the world. Guess how many sub-brands Apple has? ZERO. Sure you could say the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro were different brands, but not really. Apple has marketed their computers and tablets at what the market cares about.
MacBook AIR – small, inexpensive, high-performance, stylish
MacBook Pro – powerful, top features, highest-performance, stylish
iPad – touchscreen, tablet, add a keyboard if you want to mimic a MSFT Surface
People care about the function of the computer and not the brand within the brand. Apple is known as the top-of-the-line performance computer. And their three computer lines all deliver on that brand promise. Then you decide which features you want. Are you price sensitive? Do you want touch-screen? Is performance the thing that keeps you up at night? Apple takes care of those three markets with ONE computer line.
Imagine if you visited Apple.com and you had to choose between.
- Highest Performance
- High Performance and Rugged
- Business-class Performance with Tech Support Package
- Low-cost, does the job
- Stylish, high-performance, gaming, exotics
THEN you chose your model based on screen size and features/price.
At Apple you don’t have to.
At Dell you have to make that first choice (1. Highest Performance – Precision; 2. High Performance – Latitude; 3. Business Class – Vostro; 4. Low-cost – Inspiron; 5. Stylish performance – XPS) And I know these brand promises only because I worked at Dell for two years. But I’m guessing the average consumer or small business owner doesn’t have the time or care to choose the sub-brand, they just want a Dell. HP, Lenovo, and Acer do a better job than Dell, but they all suffer from “whats the difference between this laptop and this one, they look the same.”
To drive your market share it’s important for your customer to understand your value proposition. While Dell was born being the low-cost leader, they are no longer the Walmart of computers. (The bottom end is really low.) But Dell has yet to rebrand DELL as something other than Low-Cost or Business-Class.
Apple may suffer from not being the Enterprise (aka big business) computer for the masses. But at the same time, a consumer wants to afford the best computer they can buy. That’s why at local coffee shops, when people are working on their own projects and on their own time, Macs out number PCs 6-to-1.
If the computer industry wants to get serious about leading the market they need to simplify their product lines. Dell needs, at the MOST, three product lines. 1. Business, 2. Low-Cost Business, 3. Consumer/Student. But first we need to understand what Dell stands for. The days of the Dell Dude are long behind us. The days of Dell being the cheapest good computer you can buy, are also gone. So what is Dell?
My kids would tell you their friend’s PCs suck. They break. They are slow. And made of cheap plastic. And they’d be right.