Started with a mere $1,000 in 1984, Dell, Incorporated was the brainchild of an ambitious, business and computer savvy 19-year-old named Michael Dell. The story that follows is the embodiment of the American dream; twenty years later, the company controls the personal computer market share in the United States, no small feat given the endless competition. What helped Dell stand out from the crowd twenty years ago still holds true today: its concept of the built-to-order computer, delivered promptly to the customer's doorstep. Customers from every walk of life, from the individual college student to the government, have responded accordingly.
Indeed, one of Dell's unique capabilities is to cater to highly variable markets. Its marketing divisions are subdivided to help each team specialize in the needs and desires of the target audience. In marketing to the individual consumer versus the industrial realm, Dell can tweak the portrayal of the four P's - a basic marketing tenet which stresses product, price, promotion, and placement - to most suit the intended audience.
For instance, concerning product, Dell can market the concept of user-friendly, fun, trendy small laptops to consumers, but stress high-performance systems with enormous memory to the industrial sector. Promotion, of course, differs as well, ranging from colorful ads in popular magazines aimed at the consumer to goal-oriented, no-nonsense ads in trade magazines. Regardless, however, the major difference between marketing to the consumer versus an industry is emphasizing the various methods in which the new product will improve productivity in the workplace. In contrast, the consumer is just as likely to purchase the computer for leisure use - in which case, reliability and ease of operation are of paramount importance.
While both the individual and the industrial customers both contribute to Dell's impressive success, the consumer may reign as the...