Integrated Marketing Plan-Dell Computers

Communications Strategy
Dell Company in order to regain its previous status quo as leading Computer Company in terms of sales has undergone “marketing revamp” according to Lee beginning 2007 until 2009.  This undertaking envisioned Dell having surpassed its competitors specifically Hewlett-Packard in terms of worldwide sales and income when it lost its market in the recent report.  As part of restoration process, it improved its products and recreated its image to the public through advertising.  It made a lot to improve the products that cater to the interest and needs of the customer; along with that, it made remarkable approaches enough to market the new Dell computers to the consumers.
At first, hiring Mark Jarvis and Ron Garriques was seen as a good starting point to begin everything.  Jarvis refocused its advertisement showing Dell computers as novel and accessory for day-to-day activities for people on the go.  The approach was changing from hardware to brand itself.  The image of Dell was transformed to being “cool” that links to emotional side of a person according to Lee.

Differentiate between the organization’s communication objectives and its marketing objectives.
Primarily, Dell’s communication objectives focused on recreating Dell’s computer as cool and compatible to contemporary lifestyle of people that despite hectic schedules, Dell’s is around to add vibrancy to life.  On one hand, Dell’s marketing objective is to regain market share, which means higher income.  These two objectives work hand-in-hand to set the stage for Dell’s.  However, looking at the bigger perspectives, the company must understand clearly what other elements are involved in the planning.
Dell’s organization’s communication objectives and marketing objectives serve two distinct groups: the external and internal groups.  External group involves the customers while internal group involves employees and other stakeholders. Basically, benchmarking necessitates both external and internal make over to remain consistent with the general objective of the marketing plan.
Internally, the company has been working on Dell’s improvement.  In this situation, cooperation and involvement of employees is highly important in order to meet the desired result.  Smooth transaction within the organization is ensured through conducting regular updates and discussion to allow transparency among them to achieve the plans. Likewise, as Charland noted, the leaders of the organization handle well any resistance by being willing to listen and to respond to criticism. Learn about Dell Marketing Strategy
Externally, Dell’s is utilizing social media in maintaining relationships with the customers through which Dell’s is able to listen and make its business.  Using the company’s community website, Dell’s can actively engage in conversation with the customers, which is helpful in coming across with their perception of the company. Some of these social media are Direct2Dell, Dell Forum, Studio Dell, Smart Business 360, Regeneration & Dell Earth, Facebook, Twitter, Second Life, and many others.
Thus, using the same strategy, communication objective deals with building relationship with the customers and influence change in their perception of the company while its marketing objective is to make business out of them in which Dell claimed to have an increase in their sales through these blogs systems (The Long hop).
Determine the target audience for marketing communications for your product or service.
The new edition of Dell’s laptops has focused on design in order to gain more customers practically corporate buyers, which Michael Dell pointed out as the Latitude – the company’s “strategically important product” (Fortt).
Dell’s computers depending on their designs and features cater different groups of target audience.  For instance, Dell’s L2100 has features appropriate for male students in schools.  It versatility and boxy look fits the people on the on-the-go like the students.  The Dell XPS M1730 is another model having the AGEIA PhysX in a metallic pattern is best for gaming.  The XPS M1530 has fashionable look with its glossy LCD having 1280×800 colors. Dell Latitude D630 is good for people in business for its durability. The Inspiron 4000 is highly recommended by its users as a replacement for desktop and yet very handy.  Just recently, Dell launched Della – a site for women – that presents Dell notebooks and laptops as “fashion statements” (Kristin).
Dell’s laptops cater not simply the hardware requirements of a computer; practically, each has features that suit individual taste for beauty and fashion.
Explain how IMC will help your organization build the brand identity for your product or service in the marketplace.
Integrated marketing communication or IMC deals with an orchestrated plan of a company to improve its marketability and to increase its sales in the midst of competition. This process involves “various promotional elements and other marketing activities that communicates with a firm” (Belch). Depending on the outcome of a research, a plan has to be determined to meet certain criteria in order to achieve the objectives of an organization.  Dell for instance has formulated a plan of building brand image and improving relationship with the customers. Relationship marketing is now “… the focus of market-driven companies on developing and sustaining relationship with their customers” according to Belch.  To realize this, it uses social media as the company’s foremost strategy, which is becoming highly recognized today.  According to Duncan (2004) the technology particularly internet has a lot of ways to bring the product to the client in a very effective way.  He stated, “… internet is properly integrated, it can be a powerful medium that successfully drives e-commerce,” as it surpassed all other media of information like TV and radio because it has many uses and benefits aside from being inexpensive. Also learn Dell human resources management
Integrated marketing communication is essential in building the brand identity for a product or service. It is beyond advertising a product; it is persuading people to buy the products through effective and attention-getting commercial ads and speeches.  However, since different groups of audience have different taste for evaluating messages, it is suggested in IMC planning that a company must determine the interest and wants of the audiences.  Targeting the primary audience is more effective than addressing a message to all.  Basically, aligning the product features and quality to the interest and lifestyle of the primary target audience will make the brand messages really inspiring and engaging.  It only suggests that IMC has to be conducted in accordance with the outcome of a market research for the identification of effective strategies.
Effective brand messages must be coupled with media strategy to bring them closer to the target audience.  Positioning the brand to the market requires launching multimedia advertising campaigns, which involves TV and radio advertisement and internet marketing.  Almost all companies make use of combination of different media to ensure that primary and secondary target audiences are reached.
Practically, Duncan is pointing out internet as the most effective communication marketing medium to initiate IMC set by any company because it can build relationship and it can establish a brand image through the use of information technology.  Here, he stated several functions of internet as mass medium (banner ads), addressable medium (e-mail), and interactive medium (live chat) through which a business transaction can be completed.  He argued that e-marketing is widely used today since all types of audiences are very accessible through internet.  Besides, fastest transaction and more direct/personal advertisement are possible through this technology.
Evaluate the role of ethics in IMC.
Ethics plays a significant role in integrated marketing communication because of the tendency of manipulation and “undermining of social values” as Duncan mentioned, in deliberation of advertisement messages.  Many times, people are not aware of the impact of the messages though some of them may display wisdom in analyzing those messages.  Being ethical as Duncan emphasized is “… understanding of what is and is not socially acceptable, what is legal and illegal, and what is ethical and unethical.”  Ethical crisis comes when companies do not realize their social responsibility and do not listen to their stakeholders in favor of making advances in their business.  Ethical crisis arises when there is manipulation or exploitation of human emotions, when there is exciting of materialistic virtues, maximizing and minimizing of information, or categorizing the audience as irrational consumer (Duncan).
Ethics therefore provides advertisers with guidelines and rationale to follow to eliminate controversial or sensitive issues in brand messages. Contrary to laws, ethics involves knowing and doing what is right and avoiding what causes damage.  As Duncan puts it, “Ethics are important in IMC because they provide the basis for the moral choices that individuals and organizations must make in their relationships with each other.”  In relation to this, some companies set their own values and live in those values, while other aligns their values to the values of the stakeholders or the primary target audience.  But, in most cases, companies live through the values set by the existing culture. Read also about Ene Ticker
Acknowledging social responsibility is the heart of true marketing communication because it eliminates bad social attitudes in the brand messages for the purpose of establishing relationship with the customers and at the same time building good image for the brand.
Conclusion
            Dell’s decision of restructuring its image to the public involves the utilization of integrated marketing communication, which is more strategic than conducting advertising, marketing or public relation.  IMC is a combination of these activities by drawing most effective steps or tactics drawn from a plan that is realized as a result of marketing research conducted for the purpose of increasing its competitiveness in the market.
            For two years, Dell has been launching new product image that appears cool and trendy to its target market.  From traditional quality hardware, it changed its focus to fashion that adapts to the culture of young users which have proven effective today.  The vibrancy of colors and designs made the laptops really interesting and inviting.
            IMC is a combination of marketing and public relation because it serves the purpose of creating market by establishing relationship with the consumers.  Likewise, the use of internet media aside from TV and radio as source of information will make this possible in a more comfortable and fastest way.
Reference
Books
Duncan, T. (2005). Principles of Advertising and IMC (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Belch, G. E. (2004). Advertising and Promotion (6th ed.)
Internet Source
Fortt, J. (2008). Dell’s Comeback Machine. Fortune. http://bigtech.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2008/08/12/dells-comeback-machine/
Kristin (2009). Marketing Laptops like it’s 1959. Newsvine.com. http://kristink.newsvine.com/_news/2009/05/13/2814667-marketing-laptops-like-its-1959
Lee, L. (2007). Dell’s Marketing Makeover. Business Week.
The Long Hop (2008). Social Media Marketing at Dell: Strategies for Success. The Long Hop. http://www.longhop.net/2008/06/26/social-media-marketing-dell-strategies-success/

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