CMO assures ‘a different Dell’

Mark Jarvis, chief marketing officer at Dell, talks about what’s next for the tech giant.

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By  Vineetha Menon Published  August 20, 2008

In charge of overseeing the company's global marketing efforts, Mark Jarvis, Dell’s chief marketing officer, is part of an executive leadership team that reports directly to Michael Dell. When Jarvis joined a little more than a year ago, he brought with him ideas for change within the global technology company.

Looking towards the future, Jarvis talks to about plans in place for “a different Dell”

How important is Dell’s consumer business compared to its corporate segment?
Consumer is a very hard business to be in, with very low margins. Eighty eight percent of our revenue comes from business and only 12 percent comes from consumer. Having said that, every business person is a consumer and every consumer generally works, so there is a very very tight link between our consumer business and business business. We’re focused on growing both.

What is Dell’s perspective on emerging countries?

Take a look at the biggest ten PC markets in the world today. In four years time, there’ll only be one country that stays the same and that’s the United States. You’re going to see a massive influx from Russia, India, China, Columbia, Brazil and lots of countries. We are very focused on those emerging countries.

What’s next for brands within the company?
In the next twelve months, you will see 50 percent more notebook products than the previous twelve months. We’re expanding the models and brands in order to satisfy some of the holes in the market.
We won’t launch new brands as we already have enough. We’ve actually deleted a number of brands already and there are a few more consolidations to come.

For example?
When we initially launched our emerging markets products, they were not part of the original branch. Since I’ve came on board, now they’re part of the Vostro brand. In a few weeks time, you will see a launch of all the new Vostro products and we’ve virtually doubled the number.

Can you comment on Dell’s decision to go retail?
When we first went into retail, there was an expectation that we would sell less online because people could buy the products in shops. Actually, we saw the opposite happen. We have been very specific on which products we put into retail so that our online store complements retail.
Bear in mind also that when you go for retail, you can’t customize your computer. When you go online, you can choose the type of processor, how much memory, how much disk, the color and even the size of the screen; so you get a lot more options online. The lineup online is twenty times what you can get in retail at least.

How do you decide on which retailer to choose?

Every time we do a retail agreement, we’re looking at if this is the right retailer to deal with. We’ve been very choosy about which ones to pick. Secondly, we’ve also been very focused on how do we do support through this channel – do we need resources from our side? Or does the retailer need resources? We make that decision on a base by base.

What can we expect from Dell in the immediate future?
Let me assure you that you’re going to see a different Dell over the next few months. You’re going to see great products and a whole bunch of new products launched, which we’re very proud of. We think we’re making big strides in design and big strides in giving our customers what they want.

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