Social Media Success – Two Leaders’ Perspectives: EMC and Dell’s Social Media Journeys

Synopsis of Social Media Success – Two Leaders’ Perspectives: EMC and Dell’s Social Media Journeys   
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Gene Alvarez, a VP with Gartner’s Research organization, notes that, “The corporate communications model is evolving to an IT platform.” Social media technology has forced companies to embrace new communications models with both customers and employees. In a recent Harvard Business Review (HBR) survey of over 4,200 global IT executives, HBR asked how organizations deploy social media tools and technologies,  and what benefits are derived from them. In general, executives stated that their companies were using social media to increase agility and to manage organizational complexity.

In this article EMC Corp and Dell representatives, Len Devanna and Rishi Dave, provide a deep and informative look at how their organizations embrace new media to create business value.  They outline how from relatively modest starts, their companies built corporate-wide social media programs that deliver business value to all stakeholders.

Devanna, EMC’s Director of Social Engagement discusses that although this fundamental change in the business world began in Business-to-Consumer (B2C) companies, it was clear to EMC Business-to-Business (B2B) marketing would also be transformed. Amidst this market change, the company was making numerous acquisitions and wanted to evolve the workplace to accommodate growth. EMC embarked on a social media journey to embrace the new communication technologies in order to engender a more flexible culture and improve communications.

Rishi Dave, Executive Director of Online Marketing for Dell’s Large Enterprise Business Unit, speaks of how Dell began to see changes in the demographic of social media users in the 2005-2006 timeframe. Their core buyer was actively listening to what their peers were posting online to make enterprise purchasing decisions. Social media was no longer a gamer phenomenon, while traditional marketing techniques of tech celebrity endorsements or PC Magazine “Product of the Year” awards, were reduced in relevance. Suddenly, there were bloggers writing great content about Dell and its competitors. On the consumer and the business side, they were influencing competitive positioning of the buying decision and impacting tens-of-millions of dollars in revenue, but this new breed of reviewer was hard to identify.

The solution for Dell came in the form of a social media command center. “It is like NASA,” jokes Dave. Dell now monitors 25,000 conversations globally about Dell and the competitive landscape. Moreover, they interject themselves into the conversation.

The interesting parallel about their journeys was that, while unique in approach, both ended up giving a stronger voice to the customer.
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