Dell LaptopBrian Morrissey of Adweek recently interviewed Erin Nelson, who has been the chief marketing officer for Dell for just over a year and vice president of marketing at Dell for 10 years prior.

Nelson speaks about some of the changes Dell is beginning to implement, including redefining the company’s purpose to have a less narrow focus, and the internal marketing efforts to get the 95,000 Dell employees to understand that purpose. The company is also reshaping its website,, to allow for more social commerce tools. Dell is also launching a social media university within the company, about which Nelson says:

We’re trying to make sure it’s not a department. Whether you’re in customer relations, product development, it doesn’t matter where you come from, we want you to have the ability to provide outreach and conversation. It’s important to scale it. We’re focused on training 1,000 [employees] in the next six months. What we don’t want is to have a lot of people with really good intent out there in the marketplace engaging but with no purpose. It’s not like setting up people with a Twitter handle and letting them go.

Nelson also comments on the “Dell Hell” fiasco from a couple of years ago, referring to it as a “real blessing.” (Mei Lin Fung’s article for Customer Think is a good read on this subject, and includes some insights from Dell corporate blogger Lionel Menchaca.)

As far as measurable success from the company’s transformation efforts, Nelson says that she is not focusing as much on return on investment (ROI) as on whether it enhances the customer experience. “The things I can measure I feel great about,” she says. “Those I can’t I’m not losing sleep [over].”

Source: “Dell CMO on How Social Media Is Helping the Brand,” Brandweek, 04/27/10
Image by Pink Sherbet, used under its Creative Commons license.

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