Learning Strategy

Unit IV Case Study Instructions:

Case studies are an essential learning strategy in business classes because they provide an opportunity for you to critically analyze events that have taken place in real-life businesses. This develops your critical thinking and research skills as you research the competition and industry in which your business resides in order to formulate a recommendation for the challenges faced by the company.

For this unit, review the “Marketing Excellence: BMW” case study on pp. 273 of your textbook. This assignment will be comprised of two parts; one part will ask you to respond to questions, and the other will require you to complete a case analysis.

Part 1: Evaluate this case, and respond to each of the following questions using both theory and practical managerial thinking. §  Examine and apply the consumer-buying process for BMW. Identify the steps and the application to BMW. How does this process assist the marketing team at BMW?

How could data analytics be used to research the consumer in order to ensure a strong understanding of overall business and marketing outcomes at BMW? §  Within the case, several clearly different target markets are identified. What does BMW do well to target each of these groups, and what could it do better? Within your response, include the process of segmentation. Your Part 1 response must be at least two pages in length. Follow APA Style when creating citations and references for this assignment. Note that you will submit Part 1 and Part 2 in one document.

Part 2: Complete a case analysis of BMW. This requires that you conduct research on BMW beyond the case study material in the textbook. In the case analysis, you will look at the situational analysis, problem, and alternatives, and you will provide a recommendation. Refer to the instructions below as you construct your analysis.

Situational Analysis: Discuss the external environment through the compilation of a PEST (political, economic, sociocultural, and technology) analysis. Discuss the internal and external environment through the compilation of a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis.

Problem: Identify at least one organizational problem that BMW is currently having or one in which you project it will have in the future. Base this upon your research and critical thinking.

Alternatives: Compile three or four potential marketing-related solutions to the problem above. Remember that these are potential alternatives; you will not select all of the alternatives to solve the problem.

Recommendation (Marketing Strategy): Select one or two of the alternatives above to solve the problem that you identified in this case analysis. Discuss your rationale for choosing these and not the others. Include supporting research that will increase the depth of your analysis.

In order to successfully complete Part 2 of this case study, you need to review the video and task learning guides (TLGs) below. The following resources will provide you with the skills to research industries/competitors. Company and Industry Research video (transcript for Company and Industry Research video)

How to Find Company Information in the Business Source Ultimate Database TLG How to Search for Articles With a Company Focus TLG Part 2 must be at least four pages in length. Follow APA Style when creating citations and references for this assignment. Support Part 2 with at least three sources outside of the textbook. As aforementioned, keep in mind that Part 1 and Part 2 will be submitted in one document.

Marketing Excellence: BMW is the ultimate driving machine. Manufactured by the German company Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, BMW stands for both performance and luxury. The company was founded in 1916 as an aircraft-engine manufacturer and produced engines during World Wars I and II. It evolved into a motorcycle and automobile maker by the mid-20th century, and today it is an internationally respected company and brand with $106 billion in sales in 2012.* *

BMW Group includes BMW, MINI, and Rolls-Royce brands. BMW’s logo is one of the most distinctive and globally recognized symbols ever created. The signature BMW roundel looks like a spinning propeller blade set against a blue sky background—originally thought to be a tribute to the company’s founding days as an aircraft-engine manufacturer.

Recently, however, a New York Times report revealed that the logo, which features the letters BMW at the top of the outer ring and a blue-and-white checkered design in the inner ring, was trademarked in 1917 and meant to show the colours of the Free State of Bavaria, where the company is headquartered.

BMW’s growth exploded in the 1980s and 1990s when it successfully targeted the growing market of baby boomers and professional yuppies who put work first and wanted a car that spoke of their success. BMW gave them sporty sedans with exceptional performance and a brand that stood for prestige and achievement. The cars, which came in a 3, 5, or 7 Series, were basically the same design in three sizes. It was at this time that yuppies made Beemer and Bimmer the slang terms for BMW cars and motorcycles, popular names still used today.

At the turn of the century, consumers’ attitudes toward cars changed. Research showed that they cared less about the bragging rights of the BMW brand and instead desired a variety of design, size, price, and style choices. As a result, the company took several steps to grow its product line by targeting specific market segments. This resulted in unique premium-priced cars such as SUVs, convertibles, and roadsters, as well as less expensive compact cars like the 1 Series.

In addition, BMW redesigned its 3, 5, and 7 Series cars, making them unique in appearance yet maintaining their exceptional performance. BMW’s full range of cars now includes the 1 Series, 3 Series, 5 Series, 6 Series, 7 Series, X Series, Z4 Roadster, M Series, Hybrids, and BMWi. BMW created the lower-priced 1 Series and X1 SUV to target the “modern mainstream,” a group who are also family-focused and active but had previously avoided BMWs because of their premium cost. The 1 Series reached this group with its lower price point, sporty design, and luxury brand. The X1 and X3 also hit home with a smaller, less expensive SUV design.

The redesign of the 7 Series, BMW’s most luxurious car, targeted a group called “upper conservatives.” These wealthy, traditional consumers don’t usually like sportier cars, so BMW added electronic components such as multiple options to control the windows, seats, airflow, and lights, a push-button ignition, and night vision, all controlled by a point-and-click system called iDrive.

These enhancements added comfort and luxury, attracting drivers away from competitors like Jaguar and Mercedes. BMW successfully launched the X Series by targeting “upper liberals” who had achieved success in the 1990s and gone on to have children and take up extracurricular activities such as biking, golf, and skiing. These consumers needed a bigger car for their active lifestyles and growing families, so BMW created a high-performance luxury SUV.

BMW refers to its SUVs as sport activity vehicles in order to appeal even more to these active consumers. BMW introduced convertibles and roadsters to target “post-moderns,” a high-income group that continues to attract attention with more showy, flamboyant cars. BMW’s 6 Series, a flashier version of the high-end 7 Series, also targeted this group.

BMW uses a wide range of advertising tactics to reach each of its target markets. However, the company’s U.S. tagline, “The Ultimate Driving Machine,” has remained consistent since it first launched there in 1974. During that time, sales have grown to more than 300,000 units in the United States in 2013.

In recent years, BMW has returned to emphasizing performance over status, stating, “We only make one thing, the ultimate driving machine.” BMW owners are very loyal to the brand, and enthusiasts host an annual Bimmerfest each year to celebrate their cars. The company nurtures these loyal consumers and continues to research, innovate, and reach out to specific segment groups year after year.

Questions:

  • How does BMW segment its consumers?
  • Why does this work for BMW?
  • What does BMW do well to market to each segment group?
  • Where could it improve its marketing strategy?
  • Should BMW ever change its tagline, “The Ultimate Driving Machine”?
  • Why or why not?

Sources: Mark Clothier, “Mercedes Outlasts BMW’s Late Surge to Capture U.S. Luxury Crown,” www.bloomberg.com, January 4, 2014; Stephen Williams, “BMW Roundel: Not Born from Planes,” New York Times, January 7, 2010; Gail Edmondson, “BMW: Crashing the Compact Market,” BusinessWeek, June 28, 2004; Neil Boudette, “BMW’s Push to Broaden Line Hits Some Bumps in the Road,” Wall Street Journal, January 10, 2005; Boston Chapter BMW Club Car of America, http://boston-bmwcca.org; Rupal Parekh, “BMW Changes Gears with New Campaign from KBS&P,” Advertising Age, January 6, 2012; BMW.com; BMWgroup.com; BMW 2013 Annual

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