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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Marketing

Riverside MotorsportsHarley Davidson or Ducati? Future motorcycle owners can easily imagine which logo would be emblazoned on their new jacket. The brand cultures lean far from one side to the other. But how many degrees of difference are perceived between Ducati, Aprilia, and BMW sport bikes? Harley, Honda, and Indian cruisers? Now more than ever it’s distinct brand experiences that tip buyers from thought to sale. In marketing motorcycles, how does a brand ensure they’re exciting new riders at every point of impression and turning mouse clicks into throttle twists?

Straight from the steel horse’s mouth.
I’ve seen the awkward biker-babe cutouts propped up by the door. The victory lap posters from ’97 framed and faded on the wall. They’re fine for the tech-less crowd. Motorcycle websites are slick. From race day recaps and concept bike showcases to back-in-the-day photos and cross-country video journalism. Audiences are constantly seeking a quick fix of bike bliss. As they do this, they focus in on the brand that speaks to them. Knowing this, manufacturers must remember that dealers, not just bikes, represent the stable.

Customers research. They fantasize while .gifs and .jpgs steer motorcycle musing towards a dealer’s local marketing. These dealers are vital assets that represent the majority of a brand’s sales yet showrooms are often filled with ranks of comparable and competing brands; Suzuki, Kawasaki, Husqvarna. Only one gets truly preferential placement on the dealer’s Facebook and Twitter accounts as they excite local riders about upcoming events, sales, and new models.

Everyone would rather be riding.
Marketers, like motorcycle riders, need to adjust their technique based on conditions. Local dealers hastily perform digital diligence between group rides and shop management. Occasionally they’ll draw material from brand websites or a quick Google image search. By providing social media content that’s fresh, engaging, and quick to share, a brand can fill the gap between website and committed purchase research at the dealer level. Whichever brand does this will have an edge. The materials dealers need are the same as those already approved for a brand’s website, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. Dealers will eagerly amplify a brand’s materials en route to a sale. A manufacturer can get analysis and insight as to which dealers are their best evangelists and dealers get free advertising by way of an engaged local audience. These new customers know exactly what they want because the dealer showed them which road to take.