BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke) is a German automobile manufacturing company. It was established in 1916. It manufactures cars, motorcycles and aircraft engines (under the brand of Rolls Royce). The brands under the BMW umbrella are BMW, Mini, Rolls Royce, BMW Motorrad and Husqvarna.
The brand mantra of BMW is “We are BMW. We don't just build cars, we create emotions - enthusiasm, fascination, goose bumps guaranteed.” The BMW product portfolio consists of the following series – 1, 3, 5, 6, 7 series, the X series, M series and the Z4, and finally the Hybrid cars. This highest selling series is the 3-series, followed by the 5-series. MINI is communicated as more than just a brand. MINI is communicated as a state of mind, extroverted, Spontaneous and different. The products offered by MINI are the standard MINI series, MINI Cabrio series and the MINI Clubman series. Rolls Royce stands for sheer perfection and stylish luxury. The brand combines traditional engineering finesse with innovative technology to create fascinating cars of the highest quality and reliability. The cars currently offered by Rolls Royce are the Ghost, the Phantom, Phantom Drophead Coupe and the Phantom Coupe.
Before 2001, BMW had pretty low sales compared to the other luxury segment auto manufacturers, such as Mercedes. However, their sales were slowly increasing, and they started becoming a big threat in the luxury car segment. Before 2001, a majority of the success of BMW was attributed to the development of a very consistent marketing strategy – a market niche strategy. A market niche strategy is basically launching a product for the niche market instead of the mass market (as FMCG companies do). It’s always much easier to launch a product in the niche market. Niche markets are more often than not a subset of the mass market, and there are a lot of mass market companies than launch products for the niche markets. Examples are: Chrysler makes the Dodge Viper only for petro-heads. The mass market would never appeal to the Dodge. Similarly, Fiat makes the Ferrari, and Ford makes the Aston Martin. Alfa Romeo is another example as a niche product, which is a poor man’s Dodge. The core values of BMW were:
Exclusivity – Quality, technology and performance always go hand in hand, but this is where BMW focused a lot before 2001, i.e. to be exclusive. They wanted only a specific group of people to be their customers. The method BMW used for marketing was advertising. And as the economy, environment and the competition landscape changed, their advertising techniques changed with them. Their promotional activities mainly consisted of: •
TV and Print ads
Event and trade fairs
Brochures and Price lists
This is the year they changed their marketing strategy, and brought in the use of internet as a key marketing medium, and they changed the rules of the game. In 2001, BMW launched “The Hire” by BMWfilms.com. This was basically a series of 5 different short films (now has more than 5). It was the first time a company had merged the two big industries of entertainment and high profile, big budget celebrity advertising – onto the internet. The movies involved a movie plot, directed by leading Hollywood directors, and world class actors like Clive Owen as the “The Hire”, doing great stunts with different BMW cars (eg: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBdOaIiz60I&feature=related). This series was an instant hit. Traffic to this site went up by 55%. There were around 214000 new and unique visitors to the site, compared to only 138000 the week previous to the launch of “The Hire”. Target Audience
BMW sliced and diced the market to find out a new market segment that they can cater to and sell their cars to and gain great profits. On a detailed research, they saw that the average hardworking, play hard customer was about 46 years of age, with a median income of around...
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