Since I replaced my own aging Dell laptop with a Sony VAIO VGN290-CSJER back at the end of February and I’m not quite ready to replace my also-aging (hmmm, guess that should be “aged,” huh?) Apple Macintosh G4 iBook, I have not been regularly checking out the latest laptop offerings.
I guess that is both a good and bad thing, because I completely missed Dell’s ill-conceived attempt at marketing their Inspiron Mini 10 netbooks specifically to women. I did not see the original incarnation of the site, no longer called “Della” (and wow, isn’t that a terrible idea from the get-go), but from the screenshots and blog posts I did see after the fact, it just reinforces in my mind what a bad idea it is to attempt gender-specific marketing of something that should be a gender-neutral product.
The stereotyping of assuming that women would mainly be computer novices and interested only in shopping, calorie counting, and finding new recipes is just laughable. Oddly enough, though, one other major criticism of the latest Dell effort is one that I didn’t personally find all that objectionable.
That would be using style as a selling point. I thought Dell had done a decent job of it up until now, too. For several of their laptop lines, cases were offered in a selection of colors, laptop skins were available, and their current Design Studio case offerings include some very stylish artwork.
Sony and Apple have always done a great job of selling style and design along with technology, and not by using insulting gender-specific verbiage either. I didn’t choose my laptops solely because of their look, but honestly. If the technical specs are similar and either one will do the jobs you need them to do, do you want the ugly one or the sharp-looking one? Be honest.
Dell lost my business entirely due to concerns that are not gender-specific at all: outsourced customer service and tech support, uneven quality control on the low- and mid-end laptops, and issues regarding timely fulfillment on some purchases made for my business. Perhaps they should concentrate more on improving areas that are of concern to everyone, rather than a poorly-planned gender-specific marketing push.
(NaBloPoMo | May ‘09: 24 of 31 | 75% Challenge: 120 of 274)