Harley-Davidson: Evolution of Marketing Strategy

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTA014
Case Length : 14 Pages
Period : 1997-2003
Pub Date : 2003
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Harley-Davidson
Industry : Motorcycle Industry
Countries : USA

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Segmentation and Targeting

H-D had four major marketing objectives. First, it wanted to expand its potential customer base to include both enthusiast and non-enthusiast affluent males in the 35-44 age group. This was partly accomplished by introducing the V-ROD model to the younger demographic.

Second, H-D wanted to enhance its market share by targeting the first time buyers of motorcycles. Third, it wanted to set the appropriate pricing strategy, which appealed to the target customers, through market research.

When H-D was formed, it only offered one color of motorcycle - gray and three basic styles. Later, the company began to offer a variety of models, including Sportsters, Super Glides, Low Riders, Softails, Sport Glides, Tour Glides and Electra Glides, in numerous vivid colors. Many of these models were developed when H-D realized its customers were customizing the bikes but these additional revenues were not coming to the company.

In 1999, H-D introduced the Custom Vehicle Operations (CVO) program, which offered a limited quantity of H-D motorcycles, which had been uniquely customized at the factory with H-D accessories. The limited edition motorcycles were produced at the York, Pennsylvania facility on a separate, low volume assembly line that was formerly used for military contract production...

Advertising & Promotion

H-D's marketing communications mix had evolved over time. In the early 1990s, dealer promotions, customer events, magazine and direct mail advertising, public relations and cooperative programs drove H-D's marketing efforts. The company started advertising in magazines targeted at the general public. Fashions and Collectible catalogs were produced with various H-D merchandise twice a year. Clothes sold in stores such as Bloomingdale and J.C. Penny exposed H-D to people who might not have thought about visiting a dealership...

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