Until I read this article about Harley-Davidson’s latest marketing campaign, I’d never given motorcycles a thought.
I sure have now, and that’s because Harley Davidson’s elaborate website targets women masterfully.
What does the campaign do so well? It understands what women want and treats them with respect, all while remaining true to the Harley-Davidson brand.
In other words, don’t go to the site expecting to see women taking carefree joyrides on hot pink hogs. What you get instead is “My Time to Ride,” a six-episode reality series featuring four diverse and very real women. Each wants to ride for different reasons. One wants to step outside her “girly” comfort zone. Another is recovering from depression. A third is a mother looking for something special to do for herself.
These episodes put the people first, not the product. Yes, the videos touch on services like H-D’s New Rider class and its mentoring program, but they put more focus on the characters’ moving stories. We see the four women conquering fears and feeling a new sense of power and independence as they learn how to master their 500-pound bikes.
As the Wall Street Journal points out, this campaign to win over women (not to mention similar Harley-Davidson campaigns targeting Latinos and African-Americans) is a necessity of survival. Hard hit by the recession, the company has to expand its reach beyond its traditional demographic of white, male baby boomers. And since women already make 60 percent of car purchases, they’re a sensible target for the motorcycle industry.
Some companies, faced with the same challenge, might think it would suffice to make a smaller, pinker version of their men’s product. Instead, Harley-Davidson dug deeper and produced something more thoughtful. The campaign shows that biking can be a cathartic experience, a community builder, and a show of strength.
With its subtlety and skill, I think this is a great example of marketing a traditionally male product to women. I’ll be watching to see how the campaign affects sales figures.
What do you think of the campaign? Does it make you look at motorcycling in a new light?
Well, it won’t be long until boomers out there enter the riches of retirement. Life on a golden pond. Fishing. Quilting. Soap Operas. Fabulous group tours on one of those fancy buses with dark windows and rainbow speckled seating. Medicare coverage. Of course I’m kidding (well not the part about boomers becoming eligible for Medicare), but the whole group tour thing, now that was a joke. Kind of. You see, the boomer group is going to be large but it isn’t going to be homogeneous. Yes, some will be on group tours but others will want to stay close to home. Many will enjoy watching daytime television shows while others will be connecting with friends on Facebook. You may find some sitting down with a good book - either on paper or an e-reader. This group needs to be segmented so that they can be targeted with the right Medicare product, right creative message, and at the right place. I was pleased to read this blog by Robin Raff in MediaPost which emphasizes the importance of avoiding generalizations about this sought-after group.
Forget the sandwich, in the words of our illustrious COO, Maria Marcotte, I am a full-fledged member of the "four course meal generation." I won't mention my three children whose ages span 21 years, my full time career, or volunteering (although after 6 years of Lost, my schedule has now cleared for an hour a week), I'll just focus on an ever-so-gracefully aging mother who is halfway through a rehab stint at a very good convalescent home in North Carolina.
I've spent the last three weeks dashing around between home, work, hospital, and convalescent care, since my mother had knee replacement surgery. And would you like to guess how many elder-care marketing messages I've encountered? None.
What a missed opportunity. Do I want the best ongoing care for my mother? Yes. Do I have time to figure out what that really means? No. In the hours I have spent with her at the hospital and in the nursing home (sorry Mom, I know you like to call it re-hab), have I been a captive audience with a Blackberry and a penchant for searching health tips for older folks? You betcha. But not one relevant ad has crossed my path. In fact, kudos go to Johns Hopkins for being the ONLY organization to remotely recognize my situation, but that is only through opt-in health alerts.
So where are the marketers? I'm not that hard to find. Why not serve me up something on Facebook (since my life story is now ever-so-public)? As I dig around online why am I not targeted contextually? Why aren't those ads hitting me on my phone during those endless bedside hours?
Long-term care insurers? Long-term care providers? Home health organizations? Home medical equipment retailers? Hello? Anybody out there? Help me and the millions of people like me figure this elder care mystery out - we certainly don't have the luxury of time to do it ourselves.
When I was a kid, I remember seeing schoolteachers out and about (i.e., store, restaurant) and just couldn’t believe it. What? They let them out of the school? Shouldn’t they be in the classroom – clapping erasers, reading the dictionary or putting the border on the bulletin board? It was hard to imagine them as everyday folks doing everyday things. I find I do that with physicians. Shouldn’t mine be at the office – reading scans, looking through a microscope or discovering cures? Nope. Turns out they get to lead normal lives too. And boy do they. A study from Manhattan Research found 64% of physicians own smartphones and that this number is expected to rise to 81% by 2012. And can you find them updating their status on Facebook? Yes, 88% of them have visited the site. But, odds are you won’t find them tweeting – with about 16% of them using Twitter, which is a bit less likely than the U.S. adult population at large.
With the economy as it is today, we must be more and more conscious of our client’s dollars. This means less mass marketing, more targeted marketing. But to do it right, you have to be smart and truly understand your audience.
Colt 45 recently launched an advertising campaign in Detroit with a billboard that features the actor, Billy Dee, with the slogan “Works every time.” And I can tell you, living in Ferndale, I don’t see the billboards north of 9 mile. But why does that have Detroit city leaders up in arms?
I can tell you it’s not because the campaign is running in Detroit, but because the message isn’t relevant to the audience.
Who were they targeting? The old-school generation that would remember the old ads he did in the 80’s and that are already loyal to the malt beverage? Probably not. My guess is they wanted the younger, urban, city dwellers. And if that’s the case – the creative and the message don’t connect with them. First off, that generation probably doesn’t even know what malt liquor is or who Billy Dee is. Let alone do they remember the old commercials that featured him.
I would be interested to know what the residents of Detroit think about the campaign. What do you think? Did Colt 45 go to far?
On July 1of 1963, the U.S. Postal Service implemented the Zone Improvement Plan (ZIP) code as a technique to expedite mail delivery across the nation. The coding system was invented by Robert Moon, who submitted the idea back in 1944 while working as a postal inspector. The Postal System will only give him credit for the first three digits - which relates to a general region of the country. The last two digits that in essence carve out smaller geographies was a shared endeavor and credit goes to a "committee" of smarties.
But not only did Mr. Moon contribute to the efficiency of the postal system, he also gave a helping hand to marketers. Zip codes are often used as a way to identify particular market segments and advertise to them accordingly. Which segment are you? You can find out the top segments in your zip code by going to the following link and going to the "Zip Code Look-up" Tab: Click Here:
Who is most likely searching for medical information online? Market segmentation answers the question.
Have you ever used the Internet to search for medical information? Maybe even self-diagnosed yourself with a an ill-fated disease based on one of your symptoms (c'mon, fess up)? If you have been online searching for health-related data, welcome to the majority of the population. Sixty-one percent of Americans use the Internet to access health information - up from 25% back in 2000 (source: PewInternet). But, who is most likely to be searching on the Internet for medical information? According to PRIZM, a leading market segmentation tool, the PRIZM cluster most likely to be found listening to a health-related podcast, going to a medical website, and/or reading a blog or physician reviews is the nation’s most elite segment – The Upper Crust. A little bit about Upper Crust: their age range is between 45-64 and median HH income is about $114,000. They read the Wall Street Journal, Economist, and Forbes. They listen to NPR and ESPN radio. They watch tennis, golf, and horse racing. Think of Henry Higgins from My Fair Lady – but American and with Internet access. And if he had the latter, perhaps he’d spend more time focusing on his health and less time trying to change Ms. Doolittle. I happen to find her Cockney twang endearing.