Tag Archives: BMW

Red Volvo S60 Polestar

Automotive Consumer Demographics Are Proven To Be Right In Car Shows

Red Volvo S60 Polestar

Volvo S60 Polestar

If you’re a car enthusiast, a follower of Car & Driver, Top Gear, or other car magazines on Facebook, you’ve probably read or been a part of conversations on which car is better. You’ve also most likely had to defend your position numerous times as you believe that the car you like is indeed better. Well, you’re not alone. This happens on a daily basis between car enthusiasts, but what do market and consumer demographics have to say about brand’s perceptions, build quality, and overall popularity?

Auto shows are a great way to find out which car you like, but from a business and marketing standpoint, you find out who is actually buying what brands, their age, gender, relationship status, and where they stand in financial stature. The beautiful women who are employees of the car brands are always around at the desks to either answer questions, or in my experiences the past two years, to ask questions on what I think of the car and what could be improved. These employees are survey takers, and are also marketers as well. The knowledge of the consumer demographics are beyond what I know, but after really taking a good long look at the cars and crowds, it’s clear that there is a dramatic difference between consumers of certain brands.

“Cadillac Is An Old Person’s Car”

Being a college aged adult, Cadillacs are beyond my financial reach to begin with, but with a resurgence taking place within the company, many younger adults are beginning to look at the luxury GM brand a bit differently. Some have emphatically defended Cadillacs over the German competitors, and on occasion insult those who disagree that the American automaker is an old person’s car and make vehicles car companies used too make. Last weekend, that perception held strong.

To humor myself I wanted to sit in the new ATS and other models Cadillac is introducing and selling. Each time I made an attempt, 65 year olds and retirees were the ones looking at those cars, spending much time in the driver seats, making it appear that they do intend on owning one in the near or distant future. The cars that were present didn’t draw in younger people, and there were very few middle-aged adults taking good long looks at the Cadillacs. Right now the luxury car maker is trying to compete with Audi, BMW, and Mercedes Benz, and currently they’re not drawing anywhere near the same crowd.

Mercedes Benz Is Trying to Be The Car Of The People

It’s absolutely incredible what Mercedes Benz has done with their lineup. They have a car for almost every market in the automotive world. From small compact sedans, to full-sized SUV’s, Mercedes has by far made the biggest impact in the automotive industry and consumers are taking notice. Having gone to the auto show in Boston two days over last weekend, the results were the same. There were dozens of people swarming over the Mercedes Benz’s, and with an array of different models, people were spending close to 10-15 minutes talking about the cars, taking photos, and sitting in the driver seats.

It’s clear that Mercedes Benz wants to be in every single market. They recently began marketing the new B-Class which runs on electricity, a market that is growing every month, as Tesla’s success is putting pressure on other manufacturers to begin producing cars that run on electricity.

Volvo: The Family Car For The Family Oriented Adults

As a Volvo owner myself, I know the perception of the Swedish automaker to be safe and for the middle class adult who has a family. I’m happy to say that’s the complete and honest truth. Families with young children were surrounding the Volvos, especially the XC60 and V60, one being a crossover SUV the other being more of a traditional station wagon. Cargo space and comfort appeared to be the most important aspects of the cars themselves for the families looking at them, and having foresight of their demographics, Volvo even set up comfortable chairs to sit in within their section of the auto show so kids could have a place to rest.

However, the Volvo that was attracting many young adults was the S60 Polestar. A turbocharged 6 cylinder engine putting out 325 hp would get anyone excited. This car was by far the most popular attraction for Volvo in terms of reaching consumers of multiple demographics.

Right now car companies are competing for a strong stake in the automotive market. At times it appears that some of the auto brands are going away from their identity to attract consumers who weren’t originally part of the specific market that bought those cars. For Cadillac, they’re in a Catch 22 because they can’t look back, but they’re also having great difficulty in moving forward because the Germans are always one step ahead. At the end of the day, the demographics reveal all about who is buying what. Auto shows are the best way for these companies to get a feel for the market and who they’re attracting, and for some brands, they have a lot of work to do before they begin to compete with Mercedes Benz, Audi, and BMW.

Walkman

It May Be A Great Product, But What Do The Sales Figures Say?

Walkman
muadib.ar / Foter / CC BY-SA

Whether you’re selling candy, clothes, automobiles, tech gadgets, or any other products you can think of, everything you do behind the scenes and in your marketing strategy mean nothing unless the sales figures reflect the day-to-day operations and processes. The product may be great, it may look cool, and you may think it sells, but if there are no buyers and sales figures are down, changes have to be made to create a desire and want for the product you’re trying to sell. When it comes to products, there is so much to selling and marketing than what you, or your friends think, and what may seem popular in one clique, could be completely irrelevant to a broader customer base and bigger target markets.

At the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Sony unveiled their new Walkman (I know, we’ve suddenly taken a trip to the past). It will be on sale for a mere $1200 this Spring. While Generation X can have their flashbacks down memory lane, the issue comes down to what we should expect in terms of sales figures. Taking on Apple where they’ve dominated since the beginning of the millennium is a very bold strategy. Most MP3 players have failed against the iPod, why should the Walkman expect to steal market share away from Apple?

At $1200, are consumers really going to buy that over the traditional iPod? As a consumer and student of business, these questions have to be raised. We’ll find out soon enough, but let’s move our attention to automobiles that are selling, and in particular Cadillac.

Over the past 6 months all you’ve heard from Cadillac is how they’re going to take on BMW, Audi, and Mercedes Benz. ‘The reign of the German Big Three is coming to a close because they’re not making cars like Cadillac’, is essentially what the leaders of the American luxury brand has bragged. Well, the annual sales figures have been released, and it’s time to see who has ended up with egg on their face.

According to goodcarbadcar.net here are the statistics.

Audi: Sales up 15.2% in 2014 from the previous year.
BMW: Sales up 9.8% in 2014 from the previous year.
Mercedes Benz: Sales up 6.5% in 2014 from the previous year

And then there’s Cadillac.

Sales figures down 6.5% in 2015 from the previous year.

Cadillac is improving from what they’ve produced over the past few years, the problem however is the very strong perception that Cadillacs are still owned by older folks, and even worse they’re still a branch of GM. Once again, the product can look great and may be a better option, but the sales figures don’t show that.

Another example is coming from a different side of the business spectrum, the branding, marketing, and advertising branch of business. Entrepreneur Magazine shared an article discussing 10 of the worst new logos for big companies in 2014. While a few are clearly bad, others were an improvement and further developed the brand and direction the company is moving in. Whether these logos were bad or not, what do the sales figures have to say?

Personal opinion is what blinds us all from seeing the truth, and in this instance I’m talking about business, and this can be from the owner or the consumer. Sales figures show no bias, they have no favorites, they reflect the changes that really matter, positive or negative. Sony’s Walkman could be a huge bust or a success, but at $1200 let’s see how long that price lasts when consumers can buy an iPod for much less. Cadillac is being aggressive, attacking the German auto brands and trying to compete against the most popular car companies in the world. In 2014 they failed to live up to the hype. Lastly, personal opinion that fails to see what the sales figures really say, loses all credibility.

In business there are two things you must be aware of, listen to, and learn from. Sales figures and the consumer. These two aspects tell the truth. The customer is always right, and sales figures are never wrong.

bmw-zentrum-spartanburg

Social Media Marketing Shouldn’t Just Be About Sales


Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Since social media marketing’s existence, there have been doubts cast upon this marketing strategy by old school marketers who specialize in web content and SEO. Even those who aren’t in the marketing and advertising industry are either skeptical or hesitant to look to a new way of attracting and growing a customer base. For the ones who’ve hopped on the social media bandwagon, they see marketing on multiple platforms as a money making opportunity which it is, but shouldn’t be the only reason to use this one of a kind marketing tool.

What is so unique about having social media into one’s marketing strategy is that it’s a way to promote a brand that wouldn’t have gotten exposure 20 years ago. As important as sales are, brand awareness should be a very close second when it comes to your priorities on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms. Besides using Facebook ads, why are users coming to your fan page or Twitter account? Never look at it as they searched on the internet or your account was in the suggestion box and they just happened to find you among other companies who are in my business sector. Those viewers want to see and get to know your brand, whether they searched it on Google, heard about your business from a friend, or saw a tweet you posted that’s been shared and retweeted among your followers.

A company based in Dublin, Virginia by the name of BimmerWorld, happens to be a business that specializes in tuning and adding on after market parts to BMW’s. They are also a race team and member of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge who race primarily on circuit tracks, competing against teams that drive Camaros, Mustangs, Porsches, Aston Martins, and other street tuner sports cars.

Being a car enthusiast I watched a portion of one of the races they competed in, and later searched the association and league they’re a member of. Thinking they were only a racing team, it was a surprise to find out they were also a business in the automotive industry.

Their Facebook page combines both their business and racing aspects, and has a strong following of over 12,500 fans. Not only did I find out who they were, I also learned more about the racing league they’re in. By doing this, I’m now aware of their brand and of the races they are a part of, which means they also promoted the sport and association they compete in.

Think from a consumer’s point of view and ponder whether you’d do the same; watch something on TV and then search to find out more. Your main goal is to find that website or Facebook page and learn as much as you can about the product or business. That is how you should look at your potential customers and fans. They want to learn and know who you are before buying into what you sell. By promoting your brand on social media, your exposing what you do, who you are, and what you sell, and if you can successfully convince the potential fan and customer, you will make money off of social media.

Remember, when it comes to all forms of marketing, the main goal should be to promote your brand and show the customer that there is another alternative, and that your business sells a better product, or does a service better than your competitors.

Marketing: Where One Industry Got It Wrong

Wind farm and greenhouse gas farm, together
kevin dooley / Foter.com / CC BY

 

Previously I had discussed the industry that got marketing and advertisement right, briefly analyzing Apple and Microsoft’s ad campaigns for their laptops and tablets. Now it’s time to take a look at the automotive world and see some flaws in how some car manufactures are marketing their vehicles and why possible buyers might not be influenced by the ads shown on television. This wasn’t always the case as car companies a few decades ago clearly stated what their product could do and it’s benefits. Technology and vehicles are at the top of the food chain when it comes necessity, and the importance of drawing in customers should be a number one priority, especially for those companies and manufactures who aren’t leading in sales.

One example, Dodge recently had an ad for the new 2014 Charger, in which it’s doing donuts off-road in dirt. Whether an owner of a Charger would actually do that to their car or not, it’s the comment the narrator makes that neither contributes any information or sense.

 

“We’re willing to bet, no kid ever grew up with a poster of a Passat on his bedroom wall.”

They’re correct, it’s not likely a kid had a Passat on his bedroom wall, but what does that have to do with the Charger, a car that isn’t in the same class as the Volkswagen Passat? For a potential buyer, all the person gets out of the commercial is that the Charger has 300 horsepower, 31 MPG, and that the car he or she owns will be on a poster in some kids room. The Charger has traditionally been categorized as a muscle car, but since it’s reappearance to the market in 2006, it’s now a sedan, adding a whole new dimension to what an American sports car is. With the Chevrolet Camaro also coming back a few years ago, the Ford Mustang getting a new look, and Dodge’s own Challenger, why should a potential buyer choose the Charger over any other muscle car?

In short, some benefits need to be explained in a thirty second commercial. The Charger is a sedan, meaning more seating capacity. It still gets the horsepower of a sports car, and it’s not your average luxury car, if it can even be called that. A person who wants a Passat is not likely to buy a Charger and vice-versa. This isn’t just confined to cars or big business sectors either and can reach the local business level. Everyone has certain preferences and tastes. If you know who you’re marketing to, continue advertising to people who you know will buy into your product, not the person who would prefer the Passat.

Taking a look at an older car commercial from 1996, this ad was an award recipient for BMW. There is a similar amount of words spoken, same time constraint, but a different element the car is driving in.

“Why float through life, when you can drive?”

Unlike in the Dodge Charger commercial, that quote fits the ad, and is relevant in the time that it was aired. During the mid 90’s, bigger luxury cars were referred to as “boats” because they were square-shaped similar to boxes. It was around this time in which BMW and Mercedes Benz  ushered in a new era of mid-sized luxury sedans, and 18 years later, we can look back and see what was being envisioned through this commercial.

While benefits of the car aren’t mentioned, the camera angles, the car weaving through the boats as to say it can maneuver through traffic, and the comment, “Why float through life, when you can drive?” insinuating that the BMW drives differently than it’s competitors, shows advantages to owning the vehicle. Even though BMW chose the approach of not specifically stating what its product could do, the visuals alone painted an image in the consumers mind. This car looks nice from a pedestrians point of view, it drives better than the other luxury sedans on the market, and the vehicle is smaller than it’s competitors.

Lastly, you can find many car commercials from the late 80’s through the 90’s in which the benefits, safety features, and price are clearly presented in the ad. This Nissan Altima commercial from 1993 features all three points from the list above, stating that their car has dual front air bags, front and rear crumple zones, starts under $14,000 and is a car “that could possibly save your life”.

 

Looking at all three ads from different car manufacturers, the same rules can be applied outside the car industry for marketing and advertising. You want to inform your customers about your product, but you also want to capture their attention through visuals. The real question is when looking at making a basic ad, do you go with the completely nonsensical approach like Dodge, find a happy medium similar to the BMW commercial, or lay the facts out about your product right in front of your customers. Combining any of the marketing strategies works too, but remember, who is most likely going to buy your product? The Charger is a beautiful car, but there is no reason to mention a non-related competitor in a completely different class.