At a time when the overall PC market has reached the saturation point, Dell has stepped up its efforts to attract Hispanic consumers.
Dell isn't the first PC manufacturer to aggressively target Hispanics. Some of its competitors, including Gateway and Hewlett-Packard, have for years courted Hispanic customers with Spanish-language broadcast advertisements, services, Web sites, or celebrities.
In its initial big push into the Hispanic market, Dell is taking a broad approach and targeting low-income, middle-class, and affluent consumers, observes Felipe Korzenny, CEO of Cheskin, a Redwood Shores, California, research firm that specializes in the Hispanic market.
Dell does not reveal the demographics of its target markets, track the ethnicity of its customers, or disclose its spending on advertising. However, CEO Michael Dell says, "Our overall consumer-advertising spend is the largest in the industry."
Part of that money is being used to entice Hispanic consumers who speak only Spanish with advertisements on Univision and a new Spanish-language Web site, www.dell.com /espanol. The Round Rock, Texas-based company aims to attract English-speaking Hispanics with English-language advertisements in Hispanic-oriented national magazines and local markets such as Austin, Texas, and San Antonio. Dell also has increased marketing to Hispanic professionals at various annual conferences.
Mr. Dell says the company's new strategy is part of a broader effort to reach more consumers overall with advertising and new product lines. "If you go back three or four years ago, we were not participating as broadly in the consumer market as we are now," says Mr. Dell. "We are now No. 1 in the U.S. consumer market, so there's a lot more going on in terms of [marketing to] Hispanics as well."
Late last year, Dell began airing its first nationwide Spanish-language television advertisement for U.S. Hispanics. The commercial first appeared on a Houston station and aired on Univision for about eight weeks. Dell expects to evaluate the commercial's effectiveness to determine how it will be used in the future. With the Univision ad, Dell is taking dead aim at mostly low- to middle-income Spanish-speaking consumers. Univision's owned and operated stations routinely rank No. 1 in their respective markets among adults 25 to 54 years old.
Dell's Spanish-language Web site, launched late in 2003, targets consumers that prefer to use Spanish only or a combination of Spanish and English when surfing the Web. About half of Hispanic Internet users prefer Spanish-language content, according to comScore Media Metrix, a Reston, Virginia-based Web research and measurement firm.
Dell increased its participation in annual conferences of Hispanic organizations partly to market its products directly to influential, upscale participants including La Raza, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. At each conference, Dell showcases cybercafés where participants can use the company's computers to surf the Web and check e-mail.
Dell dominates the overall U.S. computer market and claims to be the No. 1 brand in Hispanic households. According to Stamford, Connecticut, Gartner Inc., Dell's share of the entire U.S. PC market is more than 30 percent. That's larger than the market shares of No. 2 HP (which merged with Compaq), No. 3 IBM, and No. 4 Gateway combined. Among Hispanics, "We believe our market share is similar to our overall market share," says Mr. Dell.
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