Harley Davidson Marketing Strategy

Topics: Harley-Davidson, Marketing, Motorcycle Pages: 9 (2115 words) Published: July 5, 2014

Table of Contents
1. Executive Summary……………………………………………………………2 2. Situational Analysis
a) Strengths………………………………………………………….3 b) Weaknesses…………………………………………………….3 c) Opportunities…………………………………………………..4 d) Threats……..……………………………………………………..4 3. Analysis of Harley Davidson Case Study……………………………..5 4. Recommendations…………………………………………………………….6 5. References…………………………………………………………………………8

1. Executive Summary
Harley Davidson is an American motorcycle company founded in 1903 by William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson. In the following 108 years of business, the Harley Davidson business has endured the peaks and troughs of economies to be recognised as an iconic brand in the motorcycle industry. After breaking records on the race track, Harley Davidson secures contracts to supply 60000 motorcycles American military during World War II, exposing thousands of servicemen to the Harley Davidson brand. Through clever marketing and positioning, Harley Davidson has shed the bearded biker image, and now appeals to people from varying backgrounds all over the globe. The following report will provide a situational analysis of the Harley Davidson Motorcycle Company and discuss some of the marketing strategies that have enabled Harley Davidson to adapt to its market place and create customer loyalty rarely seen in today’s business environment. Oliver as cited in Sorce (2002) discusses the aspects of developing customer loyalty, and four elements that are necessary in order to do this; 1. The product must be perceived as superior by a large enough segment of the firm’s customers in order to be profitable. 2. The product must be subject to adoration (or focused commitment). 3. The product must have the ability to be embedded in a social network. 4. The firm must be willing to expend resources to create the village (Sorce, 2002). The discussions in the following report will establish without doubt that Harley Davidson has in fact achieved a remarkable level of customer loyalty. By creating this loyalty Harley Davidson engages their customers and enables them to focus on developing long term relationships with them. It would be easy to say that Harley Davidson is a company that sells motorcycles. In reality they are not just selling motorcycles, they are creating images of a lifestyle; the motorcycle is merely a representation of this image. The motorcycle does not project the image; it fills the image. (Fırat, Dholakia & Venkatesh, 1995)

2. Situational Analysis
2a.Strengths
Harley Davidson is fortunate to hold a market position that boasts multiple strengths and opportunities that potentially outweigh their threats and weaknesses. In 2010 Harley Davidson gained approximately 55% of the heavy weight motorcycle market in the USA, a marginal increase from 2009 and substantially higher than 2008 (Harley Davidson, 2011). This is a promising trend in economically uncertain times. The brand recognition of Harley Davidson continues and remains a distinct advantage over its competition, especially in the American market. In recent years, Harley Davidson has made a concerted effort in targeting a wider range of customers with their range of motorcycles. By the end of 2010 Harley Davidson has also become the number 1 seller of heavy weight motorcycles to women, Hispanics and African-Americans. Another success has been in a market of which they had been previously criticised for not targeting well, young adults between the ages 18-34; as of 2010 they now hold that number 1 position as well (HD, 2011). There is little doubt that the real success in target marketing has been the development of the Harley Owners Group (HOG). HOG membership is given with all purchases of a new Harley Davidson motorcycle; affording the members benefits such as roadside assistance, HOG magazine, Fly and ride rental deals, touring information and event information. The HOG group sums it up well on...

References: Armstrong, Gary and Kotler, Philip 2011, Marketing: an introduction, 10th edition (pp. 50-51), Pearson Prentice Hall, USA.
Oliver, Richard L. (1999). Whence Consumer Loyalty? Journal of Marketing, 63, 33-44
Sorce, P. (2002). Relationship marketing: A research monograph of the printing industry center at RIT. New York, USA: Rochester Institute of Technology
Firat, F., Dholakia, N. & Venkatesh, A. (1995). Marketing in a postmodern world. European Journal of Marketing, 29, (1) 40-46
Harley Davidson Inc. (2011). Harley Davidson Inc. 2010 annual report. Retrieved from http://www.harley-davidson.com/en_US/Content/Pages/home.html
Clothier, M. (2010, September 30). Why Harley is showing its feminine side. Bloomberg Business Week. Retrieved from: www.businessweek.com
Pearson Prentice Hall (Producer). (2011). Creating & capturing customer value [Video]. USA.
Berry, L. (2002). Relationship marketing of services – perspectives from 1983 and 2000. Journal of Relationship Marketing, 1, (1) 59-77
MacAlexander, J., Schouten, J. & Koening, H. (2002). Building brand community. Journal of Marketing, 66, 38-54
Schembri, S. (2008). Reframing brand experience: The experiential meaning of Harley–Davidson. Journal of Business Research. doi: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2008.11.004
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