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Marketing 404 Research Project

Peter Betto

The goal of this research paper is to analyze consumer attitudes for products from the tech
company I work for, Dell, and its chief competitor: Apple. By using surveys to learn what
customers find important in a product and gauge how our products rate against our competitors,
we are able to better adjust our products and marketing to suit our potential customers.
I used online survey forms to collect the data that I used. I created these surveys with Google
Forms and distributed them to various friends and colleagues via the internet and social media.
The survey starts off with asking what are the first words that come to mind when hearing the
brands Dell and Apple. Following that was a series of questions that asked the audience to select
between Dell and Apple for which company they think does a better job in various categories.
These categories include which brand releases better products, which brand would you be more
likely to purchase from, and which brand is a more reliable brand. After that came the semantic
differential scale questions, which were designed to draw out consumer attitudes towards the two
brands and their products, and which eventually led to the creation of the multi attribute attitude
matrix for Dell. The multi attribute attitude matrix details what aspects of our products are most
important to our customers. We can evaluate how our brand is hitting its targets in terms of
important attributes to priortize and how our brand stacks up to its chief competitor, Apple. With
this information, we have four options with which we can go about making our attitudes more
1. Improve performance on weaker attribute(s).
2. Change perception of performance on weaker attribute(s).
3. Change weights so that strengths are emphasized and weaknesses are not.
4. Add attribute(s).

The summary of responses and data are too long to post in this and can be found at
The first set of data detailing word association is mostly good, but some responses hint towards a
poor brand image and reputation. Getting the 20 or 30% of consumers to have more favorable
responses should be a large priority as thats a huge percentage that is completely ignoring all the
products we sell. On the other hand, Apple had its fair share of naysayers but as the latter
questions show, is still respected for its quality, something we should strive to reach for. The
next set of questions are direct questions that simply asks which brand they prefer (Apple or
Dell) in relation to a specific quality. This data is hard to interpret as both companies were rated
very closely in all three questions. Six people believed Apple released better products, with the
remaining five voting for Dell. The reverse was true for the other questions, as six people
believed that Dell was not only more reliable than Apple, but that they would also be more likely
to buy a product from them. We should focus on reinforcing our strengths in these categories and
try to slowly inch ahead of Apple.
Next up comes the multi attribute attitude matrix.
Brand Evaluation



Customer Service and Warranty Options





Importance x Brand Eval

Dell - Apple





Importance is scaled 1 = unimportant 5 = important

Brand evaluation is scaled 11 = unimportant 55 = important
Multi Attribute Attitude Matrix for Dell

Performance is considered the most important criterion, followed by cost, design, and finally
customer service and warranty options. Dell narrowly beats Apple in performance, heavily loses
in design, greatly surpasses it in cost and narrowly edges it out in customer service and warranty


options. The data shows that we are doing great in offering a budget friendly product for our
consumers, but we need to work on making design a forefront of our products, and further finetune the performance and customer service aspects of our business. My suggestion would be to
improve the perception our customers have of Dells product design. Our XPS laptops,
UltraSharp monitors, Venue tablets, anything that is at the cutting edge of design, should be
pushed heavily into advertisements and media in order to try and change what consumers
currently think of Dell. By changing consumers perception of our products, we can improve
their attitudes towards the design of our products and potentially attract new customers.

Peripheral Route Ads

These ads demonstrate the peripheral route to persuasion. They are low-involvement ads,
meaning the audience can simply look at the image and be attracted to and persuaded by the
brand. These ads dont require much processing to discover what theyre about: both showcase
how thin their brands laptops are, and how this should be viewed as a good thing. Both ads also
use a very simple color scheme (tones of black, white, and gray) along with crisp, easy to read
and understand text that highlights the main point they are trying to demonstrate with the ad.

Central Route Ads

These ads demonstrate the central route to persuasion. Central route ads are identified by their
high-involvement: consumers need to take more time to fully process the message the ad is
trying to send. The strength of arguments matter here, so brands tend to load plenty of details and
information about their products in this type of ad. These ads require active, conscious thought
and consumers must think carefully and extensively about what is being detailed in the ad. The
ads Ive selected show facts and specifications about the product, examples of what it can do,
and how it can consumers lives can be benefited with their products. Dells ad crams the sheet
with specifications on the laptops shown, along with prices and a small blurb of features. Apples
ad focuses on the various apps that can be used on their iPhone, with each app having a
description and cost that communicates exactly what the app is.

Brand Ad Analysis
Looking at the types of ads Dell and Apple tend to come out with show a primary usage of
peripheral route persuasion. Their ads focus on attracting consumers with eye-catching pictures,
slick design, and a focus on minimalism. Apple tends to do this far more than Dell though, as
Dell still tries to appeal strongly with central route ads, which could be one of the reasons why
Apple rates far higher in design than Dell in the multi attribute attitude matrix. Dell should still
put out the few central route ads it does come out with, because that still attracts a niche in the
tech world, but should up its tempo in terms of peripheral route ads if they want to complete with
Apples industry leading reputation for design and quality.

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