BMW drastically changing its marketing and you might not like it

Interesting, News | June 29th, 2017 by 12
BMW i Coachella 07 750x500

There hasn’t been an article about a BMW in the past few years that I’ve read without it mentioning the brand slowly departing from the values it once had. The complaints about BMW not being the BMW of yore are written and spoken ad nauseam. It’s exhausting, frankly. Though, despite their monotony, these complaints are warranted. There’s a lot of change happening at BMW. The brand is moving into a new generation and it needs to adapt to survive. And a big part of that change is through marketing.

BMW’s traditional customer base is one that, to be kind, isn’t exactly young. So there aren’t many cars left to buy for these customers, maybe one or two more in their lifetimes, realistically. BMW knows this and knows that the future of its brand lies with youth. So cars are changing, becoming more connected and high-tech, and the way BMW reaches their new audience is changing. Millennials don’t respond to traditional means of marketing and BMW is well aware of this.

BMW i Coachella 04 750x538

According to Hildegard Wortmann, Senior Vice President of brand for BMW, Millennials “want brands that behave like human beings”. They want the brands they use and buy to communicate with them, resonate with them and ultimately create a relationship with them. It’s why social media is such a massive part of all automakers’ marketing now, probably the largest part. Hell, Instagram may be the largest and fastest way BMW reaches out to Millennials. It’s not TV commercials or billboard signs, it’s Instagram. BMW doesn’t want their youth audience to have to find their ads in the wild, instead BMW wants to send ads to their pockets.

Further evidence of BMW’s push to target a more youthful audience was at the most recent Coachella music festival. BMW had a multi-colored i8 on hand for the youth in attendance to take selfies with. The idea of BMW attending such an event, even a short time ago, would have previously been unthinkable. Wortmann says the Coachella event was one “I would have probably gotten fired for” even a few years ago.

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It seems as if the idea of the “Ultimate Driving Machine” might be one of the past. Millennials aren’t interested in that, they’re interested in the brand itself and how it resonates with them. Is the brand like a person, does it communicate with them and create dialog, reach out on social media or meet them at festivals? Those are the questions Millennials are asking and the questions BMW is facing. So the Bavarians are changing the way they market their cars and, maybe soon, even designing their cars.

[Source: Forbes]

12 responses to “BMW drastically changing its marketing and you might not like it”

  1. Giom says:

    Swim or sink. Simple as that. I bet, not even BMW likes this. No one wants to sell their soul to survive. Luckily, us people don’t have to do that, but large companies must. And the only thing lost, really, is the things we held dear when we were younger.

    I’ll tell you what I’m NOT prepared to see… BMW shriveling up and disappear into oblivion. This could so easily happen if not for their willingness to adapt.

  2. Fritz says:

    Marketing is arguably already their achilles heel. Just think of all the different names alone. (M, M Performance, iPerformance, M Sport, Luxury, etc.)

    • Terry Cowan says:

      Check the model ranges of the Detroit Big 4 during their Glory days – most models, options, variations, most volume, most profit. How many models does Ferrari have?

  3. Hinu says:

    Fuck millennials, they know nothing about cars… I hope they market it well and still make cars with real BMW spirit. Make it connected and whatever, but don’t force it down people’s throats if they don’t want it…

    People are ruining cars… Please, BMW, don’t go away from being a contrast to all the boring and terrible cars out there… Their FWD lineup is a disgrace! We don’t need more crap like that!

    • Hemi426 says:

      The worst thing.. it is happening with all brands.. Mercedes, Audi and so on..

    • Dick Rocker says:

      I’m a millenial and I agree with absolutely nothing in this article.

      “It seems as if the idea of the “Ultimate Driving Machine” might be one of the past. Millennials aren’t interested in that, they’re interested in the brand itself and how it resonates with them. Is the brand like a person, does it communicate with them and create dialog, reach out on social media or meet them at festivals?”

      This is beyond cringe-worthy, disgusting. I’m 25, I’ve been driving an e30 for the past 5 years or so, the “Ultimate Driving Machine” means the world to me. BMW is, in my opinion, is straying so far from the the exact reason I fell in love with the brand, reaching out on social media or meeting at festivals? Are you kidding me? This is the farthest thing in my mind that I would like to see from BMW, day by day I become more and more saddened and disappointed by these foolish marketing actions… Fuck this generation I am unfortunately apart of.

      • I agree with you. I’m 27 so I’m also part of the same generation. It’s aggravating but true. Btw, great car :) my first car was an E36 I had for almost 10 years, so I’m completely understand what you’re saying. It’s a sad but necessary change.

        • Dick Rocker says:

          Haha I appreciate the reply! Having lived with an E36 for so long I know you understand exactly where I’m coming from, sad but necessary change for sure. I definitely fall in to the “might not like” aspect of this new marketing… to say the least!

      • Hinu says:

        You aren’t the average millennial. Most people don’t even know what an E30 is, nor do they care. Unfortunately. Many people are just fanboys sticking to what’s trendy and cool and whatever… Whether it’s Tesla or BMW fanboys… Slap some touch and RGB on that shit and they’re sold.

        I agree a lot with your comment. I’m 24 and drive a BMW i3 and have reserved a Tesla Model 3. I still want to own an E30 (probably the BMW I want the most), I might get one as a track car. That will make it easier to modify it like I want anyway, instead of having to get it approved by the DMV equivalent that hate cars and modifications. The people that work there hate every modifications, no matter if it’s lights or performance improvements (which actually also improve safety).

  4. Guillaume Perret says:

    Avarage new car buyer is 50 to 60 years old in Europe.
    If demand for sport cars is low, it is NOT youth fault but because of this so-called “car lover” generation that prefers bying fat SUVs instead of M2s …
    The youth are busy giving all their money to the old generation to rent or buy their appartment … no money left for powerful cars !

  5. anotheran says:

    Build the cars that BMW buyers want. Makes a lot of sense. If it’s technology then it’ll make their cars highly desirable when new but become dated very quickly. But if they keep it looking aggressive and sporty looking, it might just be enough to keep the used market strong enough to keep residuals high for their core buyers, leasers.

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