Dell Swarm- Part 2- Some problems and Crowdsourcing solutions
Continued from the previous post, this is about learning from the Dell Swarm initiative. The fact that we are spending time on this, does imply that it is a great initiative by itself.
Also the attempt is to bring forth focused and pointed issues- not beating around the bush. And hopefully search for some answers. So please do not just lurk- but contribute- in any small way you can. Share or comment on the post. It does not matter if you are not in the marketing profession. Common sense will do just fine. Even better.
So here are some issues that I could find with the Dell Swarm initiative:
- Consumer Insight:
- How people buy: Demand generation marketing excels in, well, driving demand. Most of the time- through deals and offers. And truly they work quite well too! So “why not create another opportunity for potential customers to get more deals and discounts”- seems to be the thought behind this initiative. Fine and dandy. But apart from just the price point, there are factors at work that this initiative overlooks a bit. Like the process of online buying and the consumer expectations as I attempt to point out below.
- The process: Remember- on Dell Swarm- you don’t just have to join OR spread the word amongst your friends- you have to place a commitment to buy- and so do your friends. You need to find people in need of buying the computer NOW with you. For getting the maximum advantage, you would need 14 such people along with you. You could stand for elections in your country if you could sway that many people in Singapore to part with their thousand bucks.
- Immediacy: People buying online using your site have already made up their minds to buy. And they want immediate gratification. Would you wait for 3-4 days to get to see how much have you ended up on the discount-and then wait for the usual product shipping time lag?
- Customization: People on the main Dell site could customize their orders. Even if many don’t, they have a perceived advantage- and control over what they buy. That advantage does not seem in play here.
Possible Solution: They might have thought of this already- and the solution seems to be setting alerts on upcoming swarms. That is good- but how about extending it – to purchases from their site or even offline? This might be one million dollar advice ;P No really- in more ways than one. Ask me how.
- Limited machines on a swarm
- At any point of time, there are about 2 swarms listed active. Users simply don’t have too much choice
Possible Solution: Even if there are two machines, they seem to be chosen by the Dell staff- would CrowdSourcing add to the enthusiasm and get more activation? Worth a try.
- The real value (of discounts)
- I saw some discounts range from 5% (1 person) to about 11% (getting 15 people to buy that including you). Not bad if you think. But is this what the customers would get at the physical shopping counter/retailer as well? Is the effort of getting 14 people to commit to buy a product worth saving $100?
Possible solution: There is a reason most brand related contests are dumb. (Who composed Thriller- Michael JackDaughter, Michael Jackass or Michael Jackson? Answer and win a Golden glove) And the higher the reward, the greater the participation. It makes everyone think they are smart- and their chances of winning something are high. Or the reward is worth their time. Timeless tactics. Never fail. Just like the girl in a bikini. So, in the swarm, make the ‘people limit’ lower (public does not care about margins that you calculate at the backend. No really) and the discounts higher.
- Less repeat opportunities to engage
- What happens after you buy? Your interaction with the site gets over immediately.
Possible Solution: These customers present a huge huge opportunity for business- perhaps bigger than the ones who buy from the main site. Why? Because they could contact the same people in their earlier swarm to buy a cross sold product- and further induce them to buy again. Now THAT is community and Social Reference Marketing (term coined by Shalabh Pandey ).
- The campaign started on a high note- but then they could not sustain the enthusiasm. The concept spread initially but then became cold soon after. And the few facebook ads need more support. A delicious dish is desirable only till the time it is fresh and (mostly) hot.
Possible Solution: Build continuous hype and harness more consumer touchpoints online. Blogs for example- are one thing that seem untapped in the campaign- tap into 10 blogs each with 1000 readers a month- and you increase your reach by 10k users per month- saving upto $10k per month in media costs- not to mention the word of mouth effect leading to increased propensity to buy
I think once these solutions are undertaken, Dell could use this as an asset rather than building this as another property to drive traffic to- part of a support group of such initiatives- that help each other- and more importantly deliver better what Dell does best- drive demand.
Thumbnail courtsey: Flickr