Guest post: New Marketer´s Philosophy – and a well documented case

In the highly praised book Socialnomics, Erik Qualman, Global Vice President of Online Marketing at EF Education, describes the change that has happened in marketing philosophy:

Marketer’s Philosophy Yesterday

  • It’s all about the sex and sizzle of the message and brand imagery.
  • It’s all about the message; good marketers can sell anything.
  • We know what is right for the customers – we are doing the customer a service because they really don’t know what they want.
  • We develop products and messaging in house and then disperse them into public.

Marketer’s Philosophy Today

  • It’s important to listen and respond to customer needs.
  • It’s all about the product; it’s necessary to be in constant communication with all other departments.
  • We never know what is exactly right for the customers; that is why we are constantly asking and making adjustments because we usually don’t get it right the first time.
  • Often our customers will market the product better than we can; if we can leverage one of their ideas, then it is beneficial to everyone.

Does this make sense? It did for Dell.


Because Dell was one of the first brands to experience how the world has changed and because they have learned the hard way, they are now one of the best cases on how to improve a brand.

It all started with the now famous blogger, Jeff Jarvis, who criticised Dell’s costumer service. He used the term ‘Dell Hell’ which quickly became known in the tribe surrounding Dell and social media. Dell was very slow to react which allowed the tribe’s voice to grow loud and powerful. Ultimately, this led to Dell losing costumers along with their good reputation.

Today, Dell is a very good case on tribesourcing because of the way they interact with their tribe. In the book, Word of Mouth Marketing – How Smart Companies Get People Talking, Andy Sernovits describes some of the initiatives Dell has created:

The Company blogs with a real human voice that makes it accessible and open – in English, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and Norwegian. Why Norwegian? Because a talented employee wanted it.

  • Dell´s 35 ”Community Ambassadors” spend their days online talking, sharing and solving problems. These folks are out on the front lines, building goodwill and finding new friends for the company. The program easily pays for itself by pre-empting or quickly resolving customer service problems.
  • Bob Pearson, Dell’s Vice President of Communities and Conversations, makes sure the company stays committed at the highest level and for the long term.
  • Dell talks to its customers wherever they want to talk. The Dell Crew jumps into any new community that its customers decide to use, such as Facebook, Second Life, Twitter or whatever comes next.
  • Anyone can suggest ideas for the company, comment on them and vote for their favorites. Almost 10,000 ideas have been submitted, and more than 65,000 people have voted for them. That´s a lot of customer love and support, just because the company asked.

Since the before mentioned book was written, Dell has received more than 12,968 ideas which have been voted for almost 7000,000 times. Most importantly for Dell’s product developments, initiatives have given rise to more than 385 idea implementations.

Listening, engagment and involvement is the new black so to speak.

The author, Jonas Klit Nielsen, is Managing Partner at Mindjumpers, and co-administrator of Mindjumpers is a social media agency from Denmark that works with creative communication solutions, based on a strategic work process called Tribesourcing. Jonas blogs on

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4 thoughts on “Guest post: New Marketer´s Philosophy – and a well documented case”

  1. Hi Erik,
    Thanks for your comment, in my opinion your book is in the top of “Social media / Web 2.0” books. A new hire at our agency gets told to read your book 😉 Then I don´t have to spend time training them.
    If you ever go to Europe to give a lecture, please let me know.
    Again thanks for a great book.

  2. Jonas and Erik:
    I enjoy reading it! I’ve heard much about it before I started reading and I assure you that it meets all the expectations. When people ask me how social media could have a business purpose I tell them the Bacon Salt story 🙂
    Thanks Erik for a great book, and thanks Jonas for recommending it to me.

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