BMW recently made the interwebs explode with its news of the upcoming M2. The BMW M2 is the go-fast version of most enthusiasts’ favorite Bavarian and the least expensive proper M Division product. So, naturally, the BMW M2 is marketed toward a much younger audience than other M products and most other BMWs in general.
Another BMW that has recently been launched to target millennials is the X1. The BMW X1 – the baby crossover in BMW’s lineup – is marketed toward a younger family audience, for people that have just started families and need a bit of extra space but also want something a bit sportier and more youthful than – say, an X5. So BMW’s really getting after a younger audience as of late.
In a recent interview with BMWBLOG, Manuel Sattig, Manager of Brand Strategy and Communication for BMW, was asked whether BMW was intentionally targeting that more youthful audience with the M2.
“The BMW M2 is a true enthusiasts car and is highly desired by people that want to have the best in performance and engineering,” Sattig said. “The car also resonates with a younger target group than compared to a BMW M5, for example. They spend more time on digital media and try to experience new technologies and platforms. Starting our communication for this car for the first time on social media has generated a huge buzz. The Periscope reveal was highly expected by a lot of fans and enthusiasts and became one of the highest trending posts that day.”
BMW’s second-generation X1 has been well-received by the media and its likely to be even more successful that its predecessor. Its new design, premium materials and affordable price – $35,795 – will be the main selling points.
“The BMW X1 is very interesting for us, not only because it is very appealing to the millennials, but also because it is the perfect car for families or target groups that we call “empty nesters,” Sattig said. “The design, combined with its best in class performance AND best in class versatility, attracts both target groups.”
One of those groups includes the millennials – the wholly grail today for many premium and luxury brands.
“You have to keep in mind that the millennials are the biggest and most diverse living population in the US and range up to an age of about 35 years,” adds Sattig. “So we are absolutely convinced that a big population of this target group can afford a car.”
So it’s clear that those millennials are exactly the audience BMW is looking to get involved with the Blue and White. But doing so requires more than just building cars that would work for millennials. Advertising and marketing have to change dramatically if BMW wants to shift its target audience toward youth. However, all cars have to be marketed as still having their BMW DNA embedded into them.
“For every single model in our portfolio, we have an individual strategy of positioning and communicating,” Sattig says in reference to the digital advertising strategy. “And that very much depends on the product substance of the car, the character of its engineering and performance as well as the demographics of the respective target group.
Of course all of that is connected by one thing: The Ultimate Driving Machine.”
To get the younger audience and sell these two vehicles as well as it would like, the Bavarian brand needs to update its marketing approach. Instead of primarily leaning on television advertisements – as carmakers have traditionally used for decades now – BMW aims to lean more toward social media, blogs and other digital advertisements. It’s a relatively new approach for BMW, whose typical audience is significantly older than the one its now targeting for the M2 and X1.
“All of these platforms are important for us to reach various target groups,” Sattig said. “We see that enthusiasts do spend a lot of time gathering information and exchanging opinion in blogs, forums and Social Media. When it comes to reaching millennials, we can generate awareness and desirability with digital ads. And our numbers show, that our shift in Marketing more towards digital platforms resonate very well with the change in the consumption of various channels. A great example is our website www.BMWUSA.com that is now ranked number one by J.D. Power’s manufacturer websites evaluation study.”
However, don’t mistake this more youthful approach to advertising and marketing as a sign of BMW losing its extraordinary dedication toward performance and advanced engineering.
“The BMW M2 is of course a true BMW M and represents everything that M stands for: genuine sports cars, advanced engineering for unmatched power and of course our performance history. With the BMW M2, we are proving once more that M is the strongest letter in the world,” the Manager of Brand Strategy and Communication concludes.
BMW is currently doing something that most other luxury brands are trying to do as well. Both Mercedes-Benz and Audi are also trying to bring in a younger audience. The idea for all of these companies is to get millennials into the more entry-level models and have them move up in the brand as they get older. And as BMW is a brand that tends to stick, being that it’s not uncommon for families to stick with BMW once one member buys one, that first millennial entry sets them up for several more BMWs in the future.