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Posts Tagged ‘Multi-generational’

HOG Bank

Start with the “charisma and swagger” of Charlie Sheen, add a little Lady Gaga recklessness, mix it all together with the sensibility of John Mayer, and you’re well on your way to a vibrant digital marketing campaign.

Or at least that’s what Harley-Davidson’s, CMO, Mark-Hans Richer seems to believe.

Taking a page from celebrities and musicians who blazed the path before them they’ve embarked on a crowd-sourcing recipe with Victors & Spoils, a Boulder-based crowd sourcing agency who intends to deliver successful digital marketing.  It would seem that every American company on the planet is amassing a rapidly growing list of crowd sourcing digital data to give marketers an even more precise method for targeting their ad messages to specific consumers.

I know, you hate social media.  More people despise Twitter than use it.  You thought Foursquare was a church.  You like Facebook, but you fear its Big Brother qualities.

Well, you probably don’t understand that Twitter is the number one news source for news happening right now.  But if you can’t wrap your head around that, maybe you should look into SproutSocial, which allows you to track your company in social media.  And if you don’t think social media is key to any company’s future, you’re on the road to extinction.

Mr. Richer totally gets it.  H-D has a multi-generational and multicultural customer strategy with a need to get potential customers more engaged in the brand.

You do that through social media.  But, part of the problem for the motor company is its audience knows too many people, who connect with each other online.  Once consumers start talking to each other not only do they spread the word about the so-called “motorcycle lifestyle,” but they also let each other know which products are good and which ones are bad.  Suddenly, the dealers can no longer jam any old product down the motorcycle riding public’s throat.  It’s bad enough when new products leak in advance and are dead on arrival due to bad word of mouth, but even those that make it to the release date intact are not guaranteed sales.  Because by the end of the week, the target audience knows whether the product is worth owning via references from friends.

It all comes down to who you know.

But, the reason I’m writing this is because of the job market.  Unemployment.  It’s steady at 10.5% here in Oregon.  About a point above the national average and has remained there most of the past year.  Just this past week the Oregonian reported another 300 layoffs by 3 different companies closing down operations.  And if that wasn’t enough did you happen to catch Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke last night on 60 Minutes?  He painted a grim picture.  Stating that the U.S. recovery is still not self-sustaining while defended his $600B bond purchase to help keep interest rates low.  Heady stuff.

Oregon and U.S. Unemployment - Dec 2010

I hate to frighten you, but all your partying and drunken pictures are going to work against you in the job market. Inebriation is not a criterion for employment, not even at Miller Brewing.  You see you’re building your resume every day online.  And whether you can get a job or not is based on this resume and who you know.  People always complain how they can’t get a job in this industry or that industry because they aren’t connected.  Hate to tell you, but it just got worse!  No one’s going to hire anyone without a history, who can’t be recommended by someone.  The days of placing a blind ad and taking on all comers is history.  That doesn’t even work on Craigslist, and have you seen the type of jobs on that site lately?

If you want to succeed in the future, you’ve got to know people.  Who can vouch for you.  Ever get called for a reference?  You never lie if you know the caller, it’s your reputation on the line.   And now that we’re all networked through social media, there’s always someone who knows you, who if they won’t say something negative, certainly won’t say something positive.

And you thought you were just playing online?  You see we all live in a social media world.  Scary huh?!  And as if to help prove my point the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, was also interviewed and talked about changes coming in a redesign.  For example, instead of a single profile picture, people who visit your page will soon see a row of photos you’ve been recently tagged in.

It might be time to start making deposits in the persona-curating bank account…

Photo courtesy of Harley-Davidson, SocialSprouts and Google.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog
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ClownI’ve written previously that Harley-Davidson has been losing traction in worldwide motorcycle sales and is pushing a marketing strategy that focuses on attracting more Latino-centric customers and other racial minorities to the biker lifestyle.

With costly and parallel marketing efforts the company is pushing multi-generational and multi-cultural marketing campaigns.  Like a circus clown juggling all balls, H-D is trying to attract minorities, boost sales with younger riders, promote the female factor which is geared to attracting women riders and at the same time maintain just enough focus on baby boomers, who as a group, have been the historical sales engine for the company.  Complex to say the least and it makes me wonder if a ball will get dropped.

By catering to the booming Latino population does Harley stand to alienate its core customer base?  Will the American public soon be seeing Harley-Davidson Supermercado dealers which focus only on Latino’s?  I don’t know.  It’s been reported that there are currently 49M Hispanics in the U.S. with nearly $1.1Trillion in purchasing power.  Today they make up 16% of the U.S. population.  It’s estimated that by 2050 Hispanics will make up 30%, eight years after Caucasians’ fall below 50% of the U.S. population.  America is witnessing a demographic revolution that is largely driven by Hispanics.  Purchasing power is the after-tax personal income people have to spend on virtually everything from necessities like food, clothing and housing to luxuries like recreational equipment and vacations.

So it’s logical to think that some Harley dealers will need to make local adjustments or conversions to a Hispanic orientation.  Similar to how a neighborhood-market-oriented ethnic food store needs to continue to reinvent around customer-centric shoppers.   It’s a wakeup call for H-D.  However, there are other factors which seem to make motorcycle sales culturally indifferent.  For example nearly one in ten of the nation’s 22M Latino workers (9.7%) are unemployed.  According to Pew Hispanic Center survey one in ten Latino homeowners reported missing a mortgage payment.  This mirrors all other multi-culture sectors of the population in the U.S. so, I wonder if Harley’s expectations of the Latino community isn’t aggressive or wishful thinking?  Another data point is the Hispanic “Mass Affluent” households.  Defined by Mintel as those with between $100K and $1M in investable assets and which currently comprise 10% of the U.S. population.  The Hispanic Mass Affluents reported they cut down or deferred overall spending because of the recession.  Sound familiar?

It’s my view that until H-D makes a decision to hire an executive VP similar to Wal-Mart’s Jose Antonio Fernandez and learns how to serve Latinos from experiences obtained in Latin America/Mexico….they aren’t super serious about merchandising the way Hispanics shop.  Until then we’ll continue to see Hispanic marketing around the edges such as this casting call announcement where H-D is encouraging all Latino Riders….aka Harlistas to share their story in a documentary which is being directed by Alfredo de Villa.  H-D’s manager of market outreach, Karina Jaramillo-Saa, states that the film will encapsulate the spirit of Harlistas and H-D wants to share the passion of Latino riders with the rest of the world.

The documentary feels like the continued isolation of an ethnic enclave.  Is Harley-Davidson guilty of an innocent lapse in judgment here or is there truly racial overtones?  The public was polled and the documentary research indicates Latino riders are best to share motorcycle passion via a film?  What about a female-only casting call or a Caucasian-only casting call and documentary?  Wake up H-D!  It’s about assimilation of ALL riders and sharing the passion with the world?

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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