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Does Dell Know What Women Want In a Laptop? 669

Posted by kdawson
from the fashion-don't dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Finding the right approach for gender-specific marketing can be really tricky, said Andrea Learned, a marketing expert and author of Don't Think Pink — What Really Makes Women Buy. So when Dell recently took the wraps off a new Web site called Della, geared toward women, featuring tech 'tips' that recommended calorie counting, finding recipes, and watching cooking videos as ways for women to get the most from a laptop, a backlash erupted online, as both women and men described the Web site as 'ridiculous' and 'gimmicky.' Della's heavy emphasis on colors, computer accessories, dieting tips, and even the inclusion of a video about vintage shopping 'seems condescending to women consumers,' says Learned. Instead, Dell should have emphasized function and figured out ways to sell the netbooks that weren't clichéd and reliant on gender stereotypes. 'Some brands go too far with the girlie stuff,' Learned says. 'Della's marketing strategy sounds like it's advertising a purse. There's a level of consumer sophistication they're missing.'"
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Does Dell Know What Women Want In a Laptop?

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  • News flash... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Overzeetop (214511) on Friday May 15, 2009 @09:34AM (#27965259) Journal

    In the top ten percent of the personal market, women want very similar things to men. In the bottom 90, they want pink frilly stuff. If you want the 90%, you have to figure out how to silence the 10% of people you're going to offend.

    Hint: Men are the same way (not the pink part). Give them sports data and stuff with their favorite team logos.

    Business is a whole different world...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 15, 2009 @09:39AM (#27965347)

    Stop being a feminist douchebag. Wow someone has ex-girlfriends it must be his fault because he is not out there kissing ass and finding everything offending. Where do you think some stereotypes come from? There is a billion dollar marketing industry on what you may find offending so instead of trying to attack someone because you think his observations of misogynist (because thats everyone's favorite word these days) why not take a look at Madison avenue. Marketing isn't racist, sexist, evil, or good, it is just a cold calculating system designed to get your attention positively.

  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Friday May 15, 2009 @09:59AM (#27965699) Homepage Journal
    Then after a month, come back to me and tell me how comfortable you felt about doing it.

    I'm not the OP but I did wear a pink shirt for a while when I had to wear a tie. It was a very nice pink. Only one person asked me about the color and I had no problem telling them I liked the color of the shirt.

    That said, I also have a wonderful, no-longer-able-to-find tangerine-colored shirt which I wear in the cooler months. I would like to find more shirts like this but retailers, aside from not carrying clothes in my size, are more interested in grey, black and white than they are about splashy colors to liven up ones day.

    But that's just me. I'm still trying to find a neon-yellow shirt I saw at a store closeout but wasn't in my size. It's from a well known manufacturer but I haven't been able to find that shirt anywhere.

    While stereotypes, as others have pointed, are there for a reason, there are always exceptions to the rule.
  • by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:03AM (#27965783)

    On top of that even if a lot of women are interested in cooking and recipes it comes out in very bad taste when you release your laptop for women as an extension or helper of domestic chores.

    It's not just that. Let's say hypothetically that Dell's marketing department has decided that in order to reach the male demographic better, they're going to start putting sports news on their web-site. Now, does anyone really think that putting sports news on their web-site is a good idea? No, of course not, it's totally irrelevant to the process of buying a computer, if I want sports news, I'll go to espn or something. Dell would pretty quickly get a reputation for being complete idiots doing this. It's one thing to try and appeal to the female demographic by targeted marketing, but it's another to do it badly, which is what Dell did here. Just like nobody wants sports while buying computers, nobody wants recipes either.

    Between this and the Adamo [slashdot.org] ads, I think that Dell is rapidly destroying any desirability or panache they ever had (think Apple products). But then again, they never really got much after those "Dude, you're getting a Dell" commercials, I myself just kind of forgot about it. I think they're pretty much doomed to stay the mundane computer manufacturer like this though.

  • by actionbastard (1206160) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:12AM (#27965927)
    But Microsoft does [youtube.com].
  • by kseise (1012927) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:28AM (#27966215)

    The correct answer to "Do these pants make me look big?" is NOT "There's nothing wrong with those pants."

    I have put this issue to rest in my household by always answering yes. I don't even turnaround or give a quick look. This approach has worked for "Does this (whatever) make me look fat? Does this match?, Do I look OK?" etc. Don't even look, the issue is in her head and there is no correct answer. Once she knows that the answer will always be yes, she will just stop asking and figure it out for herself. Oh, and the answer to which shoe looks better is always the one on the right. Even if it is a flipper, stick with it. She will learn that you don't have an opinion. When she screams at you the first time, compliment her inner beauty.

  • by kimvette (919543) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:40AM (#27966431) Homepage Journal

    Recipes? Check.
    Cooking videos? Check.
    Calorie counting? Check.

    However, I also do:

    * occasional gaming (unfortunately I need to run Windows for that - neither cedega nor crossover games will run the games)
    * video editing and transcoding
    * graphic design
    * embroidery (unfortunately I need to run Windows for that)
    * web design
    * occasional small coding projects

    My preferred environment is Linux. When I buy desktop computers, I build them myself; I want workstation-level motherboards and nvidia-based video cards with low failure rates and decent performance.

    When I buy laptops, I seek out desktop performance. For me, that means Dell Precision, Dell Latitude, or a higher-end Asus. Fast dual core processor (quad core isn't worth the premium Dell charges), internal RAID, and the smallest hard drives and RAM they'll ship because I can upgrade those from a distributor or Newegg for 1/5 to 1/3 the markup Dell charges.

    It'd be really neat if I could get a Precision M4400 or M6400 in purple or hot pink, or even blue, but unfortunately the only option is an orange color (Covet). Thanks but no thanks, I'll take the industrial-looking graphite.

    Now, when it comes to a netbook, which I will buy, a nice blue would be nice. The Aspire One would do nicely but there is a huge range of options, and since the goal there is solely maximum portability, performance isn't the goal. For a netbook I will accept compromises for style.

    A computer is a tool, not an accessory. When it comes to tools I try to be practical.

    $.02

  • by kandela (835710) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:43AM (#27966483)

    I assume you think pink==not tech savvy?

    No, I don't. The test is designed to make the slashdotters think about why "Slashdotters would feel uncomfortable wearing pink." Pink is just a colour but we have attached all sorts of stereotypes to it. Stereotypes many slashdotters might not feel comfortable with.

  • by Vindicator9000 (672761) on Friday May 15, 2009 @10:49AM (#27966599)
    You obviously don't have a 2 year old niece then, who screams bloody murder if she gets anything that's not pink, and throws it at her little brother. We can't even wrap her presents in paper that's not pink... she won't open them. She wasn't taught that, and the family has tried not to encourage it, but that's just how she is. Hopefully she'll grow out of it.
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Friday May 15, 2009 @11:06AM (#27966895)
    My sister actually had a "no toy guns" rule in her house for my nephews, trying to keep them away from that "militaristic macho bullshit mentality" (as she put it). But she eventually gave it up after about the hundredth time she caught them making guns out of sticks and having their shootouts that way. Yes, some of our behaviors are indeed taught, but there is also an inherent physical difference between boys and girls that *generally* makes boys attracted to more aggressive behavior/games/toys and girls more attracted to more nurturing behavior/games/toys.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 15, 2009 @11:11AM (#27966985)

    These questions do have a correct answer, you know. It is the same for most people, regardless of their gender. When someone asks your opinion on a subject you are not an expert, such as "Do these shoes work with this dress?", "Do you think I should marry her?" or "Should I take this job?", they want you to reinforce their decision.

    Look in their eyes and see what their own answer is. If they have already made up their mind, answer the same as them. "No, you need to buy a new pair", "Yes!" or "Yes, but ask for more money". If they haven't made up their mind yet, ask a follow-up question. "Maybe, what other shoes do you have?", "Do you love her?", "Do you like your current job?".

    This is basic human interaction, but since this is Slashdot, I thought I'd post it anyway. Of course, if you have Asperger or some similar disorder, these questions can be nigh on impossible to understand. In that case, your partner needs to respect your disorder and not ask such things.

  • by asdf7890 (1518587) on Friday May 15, 2009 @11:13AM (#27967013)

    I assume you are a guy with a comment like that. So, go to the department store. Find and buy a pink jacket/shirt and wear it for a month. When someone comments, or asks why you are wearing pink, reply that you like the colour. Then after a month, come back to me and tell me how comfortable you felt about doing it.

    Oddly enough pink was once considered a masculine colour, being derived from red which was considered a masculine colour because it is a visually strong colour. What changed thins I don't know, but it makes the point that gender based colour preference is basically just indoctrination by society. Fashion. Nothing more.

    The stereotype of women being far more concerned about bright shiny happy colours and such and men not caring seems to me to be one of those recursive attitudes - people behave that way because people think they should because other people behave that way, and the same in reverse (men not thinking that way (or trying to give that impression) because of what it might imply given the stereotype and their own prejudices). Circular thinking works because circular thinking works.

    Most of the women I know only behave in a particularly girlie way (oooh pink! and ponies!) deliberately, as they find pandering to the stereotype has uses in certain circles, and the younger girls in my family do so because they are essentially brought up to by the TV, their family, & their friends and haven't developed their own mind on the matter yet.

    Personally I don't like pink, wouldn't wear it, and generally think it looks right on other people either (even women, though to a lesser extent which shows I'm not beyond prejudice in that sense). Then again, I dislike teal almost as much. But what do I know, it is rare to see me ware anything other black or deep blue.

  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Friday May 15, 2009 @11:17AM (#27967103) Homepage Journal
    "'m still not sure why cooking is always lumped in with the stereotypical female thing. There's a lot of guys that are good cooks, and some of the best professional chefs you see on the food network are men. There are surveys [columbuswired.net] out there that show that cooking is not just a female-dominated thing. Women are more likely to cook, "for the family", so it's more of their chore. Men are more likely to cook as a hobby, so they get into some of the more gourmet stuff. So I'd say this "stereotype" is "busted",..."

    Actually, the women cooking thing is an OLD outdated stereo type from my experience.

    You are right, these days, men seem to be more into cooking, and the best chefs in the world are generally male.

    I dunno when it was exactly when women/moms stopped even knowing HOW to cook. I mean, the last 3-4 girls I've dated and passed on...their present day husbands need to thank me, I had to teach them how to cook and clean. Hell, I might just open an old fashioned 'finishing school' and try to make a little bread off the situation.

    I like to cook, it is as much a hobby to me as home brewing, tinkering around with computers, trying to play guitar a little, etc. I'm often shocked at how many people these days just do not cook home cooked meals, and eat out all the time.

    I didn't realize how bad it was till shortly after Katrina.

    I stayed at a friend of mine's house with his wife and 2 kids (aged about 10-11). He was having to work out of state, so it was just me and them. I was shocked how often they ate junk food. She would come home with the kids, and easily 4 out of 5 week nights, they had some kind of fast food with them...Sonic, McD's, Popeye's...etc. The other nights of the week, the 'home cooked meal' most of the time, was pre-packaged or frozen prepped stuff. Hell, the only time it seemed they got a from scratch meal was when "I" would cook for everyone rather than just myself (I offered to do this quite often, but, we were on slightly different schedules).

    I now understand why kids today are so obese. You rarely saw the fat kid in my day, but, now...it almost seems rare to see the odd fit kid running around. That the parents are walking tubs is a given. And I think it has a LOT to do with people not cooking, and to a large extent...mom's not cooking (yes, dad's should help too). Hell, when I was old enough growing up, "I" was directed to help start the family meals since I got home earlier from school than my parents did from their jobs. Both my parents worked, yet we had home cooked meals most of the time. Pizza or the fast food thing was an occasional treat.

  • You are right, these days, men seem to be more into cooking, and the best chefs in the world are generally male.

    I blame the former on an overreaction against traditional gender roles. But the latter I blame on male-dominated society reinforcing stereotypes. As head chefs, women are generally greeted with derision, even by female owners and managers. This certainly has a chilling effect on entry into culinary academies by women. Put the two together, of course, and you certainly get a lot of men doing a lot of cooking. My Lady is a chef so I lucked out there, but I do end up doing pretty much all the dishes.

  • by xaxa (988988) on Friday May 15, 2009 @11:44AM (#27967673)

    I was going to suggest UNIQLO, since their t-shirts are all in really bright colours, but their shirts are mostly blue, white and grey. And you're probably looking for something smart.

    My fancy school required me to wear a shirt and tie of my choosing (age 16-18). I didn't want to wear a white or blue shirt, like 95% of the rest, or black, like the other 4%. I eventually found shirts in bright orange, turquoise, yellow and lime green from Asda (i.e. Walmart) and Matalan (discount clothes store). They were crap quality, but then they did only cost £3 or so. They went well with the purple, blue or black ties.

    In Britain at the moment there's a fashion/subculture called "New Rave" that's mostly about dressing in very bright clothes [google.co.uk]. Some of the specialist shops for that fashion have really bright shirts, but the fabric/cut is going to be quite casual.

  • by Peganthyrus (713645) on Friday May 15, 2009 @03:01PM (#27970965) Homepage

    Well, hey, I know a lot of transwomen who are total nerds. I mean, one is a malware researcher who regularly spends hours of her life staring at raw x86 disassemblies. If you're not hung up on breeding, some transchicks make pretty awesome girlfriends for the slashdot type.

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