Critical Mass Unveils New Dell Site

NEW YORK Critical Mass has launched a new Web site for Dell Computer, no small undertaking considering that online-influenced and Internet commerce represents nearly half of the computer maker’s annual revenue.

The site (www.dell.com) debuts nearly 18 months after Critical Mass landed the assignment, which thus far has involved more than 100,000 Web pages reaching customers in 80 countries and 20 languages. Dell, which has posted revenue of $38 billion for the last four quarters, selected the Canadian interactive shop last spring following a four-month review that sources said included Razorfish, Zentropy Partners, Organic, Tribal DDB and frogdesign [IQ Daily Briefing, May 30, 2002].

“We wanted to better align the Internet experience with the brand positioning of ‘Easy as Dell,’ by making the technology that Dell sells available through a very flexible, online experience,” said Neil Clemmons, senior vice president at Critical Mass, which is 50 percent owned by Omnicom Group.

The site needed to appeal to a very broad audience, explained Clemmons, from a home office buyer to a senior information technology manager within a global organization and everyone in between. Therefore, Critical Mass divided the site into sections: home and home office, small business, midsize and large business, and government, education and healthcare.

The depth and breadth of the information provided varies according to the audience and the product, as well as the goal; the Web site aims to drive transactions and build relationships. For a low-margin item, like an MP3 player, for instance, the site offers all the details necessary to make an online purchase. On the other hand, a complex product, like a server, might require case studies and white papers.

“The goal in this situation is less of ‘Add this to your [shopping] cart’ and more of ‘Get into contact with your sales rep.’ The site acts as a relationship-building or information source,” said Clemmons. Here, “we use the Internet as a tool to manage complex customer relationships.”

More than 40 staffers in Critical Mass’ Calgary, Chicago and Austin, Texas, offices collaborated with hundreds of people on the client side to develop the Dell Web site, which will continue to evolve, said Clemmons.

Omnicom Group’s DDB in Chicago handles Dell’s traditional advertising account. The Austin-based client spent nearly $235 million on measured media for the first eight months of 2003 and $360 million in 2002, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.