Reinventing Dell One Executive at a Time: Page 2

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I started following Steve Felice’s successful career back in the late 90s when I’d flagged a Dell support problem and got kind of vocal about it. Back then several of the other firms actually started making fun of me for pointing out what they thought was a non-problem -- until their own customers asked them why they too weren’t both reporting it and doing something about it.

Steve, who was working at Dell at the time, rather than stonewalling, looked into what I’d pointed out, confirmed there was a problem and put resources on fixing it. After making a number of staffing changes Dell support improved dramatically. He then went from job to job inside of Dell fixing problems and improving the units he managed.

I can’t tell you how rare it is to see an executive who first looks into issues before firing from the hip, someone who actually spends more time on the problem then shooting the messengers. If Steve had been the one in power, the problem putting Dell in the news this week would not have occurred. I’m confident with him in his new role it won’t happen again either.

My meeting with Steve at Dell’s event confirmed he was still that kind of guy. He’s focused like a laser on improving Dell’s PC business. I don’t envy anyone that gets in his way.

Marketing by the Numbers

It is rare, outside of Apple, to find a marketing organization that is led by someone who could actually teach marketing. Most people either are hired out of careers that initially had nothing to do with marketing or are hired out of other industries and can’t adapt to the new market they are in.

Erin Nelson, who now heads marketing for Dell, is one of those rare people who has a solid background in both marketing and has been working in and around Dell long enough to understand its unique needs.

She has driven consistency into Dell’s marketing, has begun doing solid demand generation work, and has eliminated most of the ad hoc advertising efforts and most of the massive number of advertising agencies that seemed to be paid by Dell to confuse and confound customers.

Trust me when I say that you don’t see this kind of talent often and that, to me (who also has a bit of a marketing background), running into it is always a treat and one that I value highly. The only issue is that she is under resourced against what she could be doing. And, I’ll bet, were she given a larger fraction of the budget an Apple has she could do some amazing things.

She has a daunting task because Dell’s image is tainted but she is one of the few I’ve met who is by background capable of addressing it.

Wrapping Up

Dell is having a few issues this week having to do with some suppliers that sold them some faulty parts nearly a decade ago. Michael Dell has stepped in and is building a team that seems to be more than capable of putting the shine back on the company.

On top of that there is actually some really interesting stuff going on inside the company and the surprising success of their secret OEM group left me almost speechless. I left expecting amazing things coming from Dell’s future and with the thought that sometimes it’s the things you didn’t know about that redefine a company in ways you couldn’t imagine.

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Tags: PC, Dell, marketing, lawsuits, PC hardware

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