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BMW's marketing innovation goals

News, 20 April 2016

AUSTIN, TX: Automaker BMW prefers opportunities that are authentic, ownable, unique and add value to its target audience when pursuing marketing innovation, according to a leading executive at the company.

Pete Harmata, Digital Innovations Manager/BMW North America, discussed this subject at MediaPost's OMMA conference held during South by Southwest (SXSW) 2016.

More specifically, he laid out some of the main criteria employed by the automaker as it considers new types of marketing activation.

"We always want to add value to whatever we're doing. Is it something we can own? ... Is it a brand fit? Is it authentic?" he said. (For more, including livestreaming tips for brands, read Warc's exclusive report: BMW takes Periscope for a test drive.)

"Also, from a BMW standpoint, is it something we can do from a driving perspective? A unique way to show features of our vehicles? Is it a unique experience? Can we launch a vehicle? Can we show a new product feature in a unique way? And/or can we give them an exclusive look behind the scenes?"

Such ideas were at play when BMW used Periscope, the livestreaming app, to show off its M2 racing around the track in real time just one minute after the coupé's official unveiling.

BMW leveraged the same channel on a day-long "adventure" program for its X1 crossover, and also – with a more niche, pre-selected audience – to drive sales of 50 limited-edition i3 Shadow Sport electric cars.

"We look at how much we can get from a targeting perspective," said Harmata. "Are the people using it who we want? Are they potential buyers? Or are they enthusiasts that we need to grow into the brand? So the analytics is fairly important.

"When iterating or going into some of these channels, they don't have that. Then it becomes more of a perception thing – of should we be aligned with something like this?"

Factors like these have helped the brand begin to clarify its thinking egarding how Periscope might best be used to engage its target consumer.

"What we've talked about, and this is by no means final, is: as we roll out products, can we give those people behind-the-scenes reveals before everybody else? Because it is, for us, more about exclusive content and getting them into our cars as much as possible," Harmata reported.

Data sourced from Warc