Managing Integrated Marketing communications
Launching of BMW Z3 Roadster
BMW Business Strategy (Background)
BMW is a Germany based global company who is the leader in the luxury and performance segment. Well known cars produced by BMW included Mini and Rolls-Royce. Headquartered in Munich Germany, BMW had operations in 150 countries. The unit sales figures for BMW were dropping in the US automobile markets as can be inferred from Exhibit 1 and the graph shown below.
The main competitors of BMW were Lexus, Acura and Infiniti in the mid-1980s.The image of BMW was “ Yuppie status symbol” and they wanted to change it to more Quality oriented “ Ultimate Driving Machine”. Objective of BMW
•Attain annual unit sales of hundred thousand units in the United States. •Branding BMW as a Global Brand
•Corporate goal of being the BEST and not the biggest
•Improve the dealer network
•Have a steady flow of orders to have the Spartanburg plant keep on going concern.
To achieve these objectives BMW needed to update its Corporate image and identify the new product capable of sustaining this image and delivering on the above mentioned objectives.
BMW Roadster New Product Initiative
Identification of the Roadster concept started in 1992 with the declining sales of the motorcycles. Roadster was identified as the product as BMW already had expertise in producing Roadsters , evoked the same emotions and feelings in the drivers as motorcycles ,went with the new image of BMW – Performance and luxury (Ultimate Driving machine).It suited the corporate goal as well.
Concept tests revealed high interest from the men and women belonging to 40-50 age group plus late baby bloomers.
The production was moved from Munich, Germany to Spartanburg, USA. This helped BMW in many ways. Firstly it saved them from high cost environment of Germany and safety against foreign currency changes. It was priced at $ 28,750. It invoked the feeling of nationality in American people as the car was 100% US made. It also was an effort to improve dealer relationship and network as showing dealer that BMW was seriously pursuing to make it big in the US market and dealers should invest in along with BMW. But this move also posted the challenge of making customers realize that this will not impact the Quality of the Cars as ‘Made in Germany’ was seen as a mark of precision and technological advancement. This was countered by removing the mark ‘Made in Germany’ with ‘Made by BMW’, which also worked in increasing the creditability of BMW. It marked BMW’s move as a global player.
Introductory Marketing Plan
BMW aimed to position Z3 Roadster as truly American car, made in America, made for Americans. They adjusted the price situation as per the competitive market conditions, improved the dealer network by bringing the customers buying experience in line with the new customer expectations of service offerings. Significant improvements were done to improve the Product line. They intended to create enough BUZZ so that people talked about roadster in normal context of their lives. They wanted to later leverage this Buzz to further book orders in future. With this frame of mind the launch team aimed for a ‘nontraditional’ approach to the marketing of Roadster. From the psychographic segmentation it was clear that nontraditional media was more cost effective as it delivered on a broader audience base and had a greater recall value. Extensive Research was done in evaluating ideas from various PR firms of how to go about marketing Z3. They made the launch go in two phases.
Phase 1 – Z3 Roadster was positioned in latest James Bond movie ‘Golden Eye’. Phase 2 – Leverage the Buzz created and re launch the product. BMW was also the automobile sponser of the 1996 Atlanta summer Olympic Games. The association of Z3 with the James bond character was very influential in positioning of the car in peoples mind. There was a lot of...