TRIDENT UNIVERSITY INTERNATIONAL
Kim Brown Sims
Module 1 Case Assignment
MKT 501: Strategic Marketing
Dr. Darlene Jaffke
February 27, 2012
Selling Mama Hog
Harley Davidson has typically targeted older, well established men seeking exhilaration and a desire to exhibit their status. To grow its brand and sustain its business in a declining economy, Harley must aggressively target women. Key foci to accomplish this goal are glorification of the feeling of ownership, introduction of color and styles behooving a woman’s taste, development of selling venues appealing to women and capitalizing on the sense of fulfillment achieved through buying. Increasing the number of female Harley owners affects the male market as well: women who can afford the high priced machines are typically seen as more fitting partners for their male counterparts. Applying appropriate strategies, Harley Davidson can be successful marketing to women and at the same time maintain and potentially grow its current customer base. Briefly describe Harley Davidson’s targeting and positioning strategy.
Harley's historical target and positioning strategies were focussed on the 40 plus year old financially established male. According the to Corporate Design Foundation (CDF) article, (1996), maintaining Harley's image as an American Icon by preserving its trademarks such as the V-twin engine, tear drop gas tank and oversized speedometer, allows the company to focus on selling Harleys as a dream and lifestyle versus a mode of transportation. Although Harley’s main segment is the well established male, they also target younger adults, women and anyone seeking to live the Harley lifestyle. Buying a Harley does not just mean a person is now the owner of a motorcycle, conversely it allows a person to become a member of the prestigious and highly coveted Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.). This achievement is the single most important positioning strategy Harley employs.
Sponsoring rallies know world wide, Harley H.O.G.s come together to live the lifestyle they bought into and share ideas on new products and innovations. Harley executives listen and incorporate the responses into future design and development. These rallies and H.O.G.s exemplify the idea of word of mouth advertising thereby allowing Harley to spend its money on the development of their motorcycles. How does Harley have to change its targeting and positioning strategies to reach women?
According to Hagerty in his Wall Street Journal article of 2011, older white male baby boomers, Harley’s target audience, are surpassing their days, and subsequently, abilities to live on the wild side. Men of status and wealth are often seen astride these shiny representations of virility and strength, and yet, in this declining economy and aging population, Harley-Davidson must expand their target markets as a means to remain viable.
To grow its brand and stabilize sustainability in a declining economy, the company must expand its marketing efforts, aggressively pursuing women. Key foci to accomplish this goal are glorification of the feeling of ownership, introduction of color and styles in both the machine and accouterments, development of selling venues appealing to the woman and capitalizing on the sense of fulfillment achieved through buying. Mark-Hans Richer, Harley’s marketing chief states, “We’re trying to be our thing to more people,” (Hagerty, 2011), which implies that Harley doesn't want to lose its big toy, bad boy image, it just wants to make it more accessible to more people.
As women age they become more aggressive in their search for stimulation and a feeling of power. As a society, youth, beauty and physical appeal are targeted, but women in the 40 plus age group realize that the true value they bring to the table is their confidence, independence, compassion, strength and intelligence. The acceptance and adulation women...