It looks like Dell is following the democratization of ideas enabled by the web. Dell is taking advantage of “crowd sourcing” with it’s new Idea Storm website, which solicits ideas and recommendations from anyone to improve their products.
I can think of two reasons why this is cool marketing. First it tells consumers that they care about what they think. If a lot of customers are unhappy about “Dell Hell”, they have shown they will act on such feedback. Secondly it is free market research. It is very costly to conduct surveys and focus groups are mostly ineffective. Idea Storm generates feedback at a fraction of the cost from willing participants who want to help Dell make better products that fit their needs. I suspect more companies will be creating their own “Idea Storm” sites.