How enamored we are with social media sites like Twitter? Yesterday, the news was filled with story after story of how Dell sold $6.5 million using its Twitter accounts. (E.g., see Dell Sells $6.5 million via Twitter.) Story after story reported this as if it were a major achievement, proof that new media was where business ought to be. (Manish Mehta, Dell’s VP of Social Media and Community, even wrote an article titled, “Isn’t the Value of Social Media What Business Is All About?”.)
Very few sites, though, have have stepped back and looked at Dell’s actions from a broader perspective. One blog, digitalseachange.blogspot.com, did post an analysis showing that Dell probably lost close to $3 for each dollar of profit from the $6.5 million in revenue it received. But, otherwise, no one looked at Dell’s overall strategy and results.
The fact is, as Dell has been increasing its Twitter sales, its overall sales have declined. (See Dell Shares Slump on Fears of Being Left Behind in PC Market or Dell Disappoints on 3Q Sales and Profits.) At the same time, its major competitors, HP, Acer, Lenovo, and Apple (although Apple is not as direct a competitor) are all showing upticks in their sales. In fact, Acer just passed Dell to become the second largest PC maker in the world (Acer Surpasses Dell To Take Second Spot in PC Sales).
My point is that, as marketers, we cannot focus on any one channel or campaign in isolation. Our success or failure must be measured in aggregate. That’s not to say that any one program cannot be deemed successful or not on its own, but the company or brand itself must be looked at from an overall perspective. Moreover, from a strategy planning and execution point of view, successful marketers are those who can coordinate and integrate all programs and channels under a unified, effective brand platform and campaign. Dell apparently hasn’t done so; otherwise, it wouldn’t be the only one of the five major PC manufacturers to show an overall sales decline.
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