Harley-Davidson’s sales of premium motorcycles have suffered in the recession — falling more than 40% from its 2006 peak. Harley cut costs with more efficient manufacturing and labor cuts. It has also carefully adapted its marketing strategy. For one, the company is trying to broaden its target market — trying to lure women, minorities, young adults and people outside the U.S. It must target these new markets with caution; Harley doesn’t want to dilute its carefully crafted macho image. Harley’s marketing chief notes, “We’re not trying to be everything to everyone, we’re trying to be our thing to more people.” So Harley has adapted its promotion and products to appeal to new segments. This is not an easy task — and your macho image might be lost when riders look around and see a growing number of women riding Harleys. The article provides a nice example to use with marketing strategy planning for product or promotion. You could ask students for other ideas about how to adapt the company’s strategy for these new target markets.
You can read more about Harley’s efforts in this Wall Street Journal article, “Harley, With Macho Intact, Tries to Court More Women” (October 31, 2011, non-subscribers may need to click here). Also posted at Learn the 4 Ps.