STP BEHIND THE RISE OF HARLEY- DAVIDSON

STP to develop marketing strategy

Harley-Davidson, the U.S. motorcycle market, initially focused its business on only one demographic comprising of older white guys without any strategy. This was going well until almost all of them lost their motorcycles to recession in 2006 (Hagerty 2011). Proper research and care was not made to choose the right people to aim at by Harley.

Harley’s sales started rising since 2006, but the growth was comparable to the movement of a snail. To increase the sales, Harley segmented its audience to women, minorities, young people and consumers outside U.S. Harley identified that 10% of the U.S. motorcycle riders were women. To reach them, it conducts “garage parties” “motorcycle boot camps” and launch models with lower seats. A video on its website shows that even small women can pick up bike of 550 pounds if it tumbles over.

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One can realise that its strategy is working because Harley got its first female customer in 2006 itself (THE ECONOMIC TIMES 2011)

The Harley-Davidson brand has become a lifestyle for customers. The logo and the brand image have attracted all consumers and non-consumers. There was not much need to explain about the brand or product as the simple images or messages were self-explanatory. Visuals like outdoor, email and print were its ideal mediums.

Their primary audience targeted is women between 18-54 years of age and the women with more than $50000 household income, with some education and the women seeking to escape boredom. The strategy is depth strategy as it is serving one segment well with different products.

Harley- Davidson is currently promoting sportster model bikes for women. There are number of sportster models. Harley is currently offered in approx 7 different models and this varies from country to country.  Harley was not able to produce required number of bikes to meet its demand because of the pricing it employed as the price ranged over USD 10,000 for most of the models. For its customers to keep coming back, Harley has set reasonable prices for all its vehicles thus employing the pricing strategy in its operational performance. This promotes the vision and mission of the real brand.

Harley has targeted the brand loyalty, which is important to be established with the sportster riders, as it is an entry level Harley. It had clear vision that its customer will purchase high-end bikes in future. Brand loyalty establishment with wife’s of Harley riders is also an important objective, since future purchases of high-end or sportster bikes may occur. Harley has promoted its motorcycle brand by implementing different strategies. Harley has dealer promotions and customer events to sell the products to retail customers. They have several advertising tactics which include national media and radio, direct mailings, print and the internet.

Harley positioned itself by saying ‘loud motorcycles’ to gain the attention of all. By nailing down the positioning, Harley is able to tell everyone what it is doing. Major competitive players for Harley include Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha. Honda is currently leading in market as the world’s largest supplier of motorcycles. After Honda, Harley is the solitary local supplier with a considerable portion of market and motorcycles presenting a majority of company revenue.

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Below video shows one of the attractive messages to people by Harley-Davidson.

From the real life experience of Harley-Davidson, one can understand that STP is important in market planning because by understanding your market segment, who your target customers are and how you position your brand in the market you can determine the 4Ps that govern the market: products that you decided to sell, to whom are you going to sell, the price you are going to set and how are you going to promote your brand/products.

Do you think Harley-Davidson has done enough to gain the market share? Please share your thoughts.

By: Gagana Donavalli (214396408)

References:

Hagerty, J 2011, ‘Harley, With Macho Intact, Tries to Court More Women’, wsj, weblog post, 31 October, retrieved 8 April 2016, < http://www.wsj.com/articles /SB10001424052970204505304576655244217556816>

THE ECONOMIC TIMES 2011, Harley Davidson enjoys growing romance with Indian women, retrieved 9 April 2016, <http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2011-07-19/news/29790954_1_harley-davidson-india-indian-women-bike&gt;

Trophy Wall | #LiveYourLegend | Harley-Davidson, You Tube, Harley-Davidson, 4 April, retrieved 8 April 2016, < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s35nYIgMWEo&gt;

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