„BMW Marketing 101“ Checked

Since some days I am active on Twitter.com (a Microblogging site, which allows its users to exchange small messages). Inspired by a comment that said that Product Management will need to become more social and will need to use more social media, I have read a critical blogpost by Braden Kelley from the → Blogging Innovation Blog. I want to comment it here.

Blogging Innovation

First of all to the blog: The Blogging Innovation blog comes with very many, and well-elaborated articles in the areas innovation, marketing and social media. Several autors write for this blog. I recommend that you take a look and check the good quality of the material by yourself. Perhaps you want to also bookmark their → Twitter account and stay informed about new articles.

Joy is BMW campaign

In his blogpost Kelley is writing very critically about a recent BMW marketing campaign (→ Joy is BMW – Marketing Innovation or Marketing Failure?). This new campaign is about the following video and marketing approach, launched for the Asian market:

Here the negative parts of Kelley’s critics:

  • 1. If you do a search on Google, Bing, or Yahoo! for “joy” – BMW is not in the top ten search results
  • 2. Compounding this failure is that BMW is not doing any search engine marketing on the term “joy”
  • 3. The startup video was herky-jerky after waiting a long time for it to load on the Joy is BMW page
  • 4. The ‘Joy is BMW’ page is boring, not search engine friendly, and not social – there is no way for people to participate – no real value to the page
  • 5. The 3D building projection event from Singapore is not featured on the ‘Joy is BMW’ page
  • 6. There is no way for people to have conversations about the video (other than on YouTube)
  • 7. BMW is not active on Twitter and makes no mention of Singapore event or ‘Joy is BMW’ campaign
  • 8. No videos or photos related to ‘Joy is BMW’ on Facebook or mention of it by any of their 679,000+ fans
  • 9. http://www.joyisbmw.com not purchased by BMW before launching the campaign
  • 10. http://www.miseryisbmw.com also not purchased by BMW before launching the campaign

My results

I have checked his analysis, and found that in the meantime things might have changed as follows:

  • I have searched for „Joy BMW“, and found BMW internet sources make-up the only the top ten results (see the google screenshot below), so that it seems to be that 1) and 2) are certainly not any longer valid.
  • I then visited the BMW site on → www.bmw.com, and checked how the video started. I had no problem with the response-time (pt 3), and assume that many people may have hit the site when Kelley tried to download the video. This does not excuse temporarily long response times, but however, explains it.
  • On the BMW-Site, I saw that the contents can only be seen by Flash users (Users of a particular Plug-In). If you have recently read newspaper, you probably know that this is a problem for users, which are using for example the new Apple iPad, as this device does not support flash (these users can not see any content on the site). However, having circumvented this access-issue, I could verify that the site is indeed not social (it offers contents, but it does not support community functions, where people can post questions or comments). In contrast to Kelley (pt 4), I would like to state, that it seems to be working as designed, as BMW in general does not seem to offer community functions on their main site. Instead they appear to be using Facebook for this purpose (see i.e → BMW on Facebook)
  • Regarding 5) I could verify that the above excellent video does not seem to be available on BMW’s international site (nor on local sites). This is partly a pitty.
  • I found that BWM seems to be using Twitter (pt 7). However not as a whole, but their approach is depending on the division (For example → ClassicBMW, pr bmwjapan, or bmw_global own supported accounts). Nevertheless, Kelley seems to be right: the new campaign is not mentioned – at least I did not find it.
  • Regarding pt 8, I hit the following special Facebook page (BMW USA), which is dedicated to the Joy theme: → BMW USA JOY IS BMW. Thus BMW seems to assume that users use Facebook to discuss the brand, the campaign, and the video (pt 6), as they even spent a complete facebook area for it.
  • Regarding 9) and 10), Kelley is certainly right. However it seems to be generally the case that BMW uses subadresses to its main domains, such as www.BWM/xyz. As these articles here show, this can be a problem if the domain like joyisbmw.com is prominently listed in the search results.

bmwjoyjSummary and Recommendations

Looking at the data, I would like to conclude that the marketing campaign is not as bad as argued by Kelley. Also: Too unexperienced can BWM not be in terms of products and marketing, for instance, as the BMW Group reports double-digit growth in April, while other just continue to suffer from the financial crisis.

However, BMW just seems to use a different approach than the one, Kelley would have expected. This shows to me that there is rather a usability problem with BMW’s internet and messaging approach than a marketing problem.

So, what should BMW do?

  • Run some DAU-tests (Tests with the most silly users, they can find), and have these users try to find information in their web.
  • Establish a better integration of community functions into the main BWM domain (for instance, if a user does not start on bmw.com, but on a subsite, he might miss the link to Facebook. Twitter is not mentioned at all)
  • Better control of all elements of a marketing approach (and this I see as the task of a Product Manager). For instance should the entire area, discussed here, be defined before the launch of a product takes place.
  • Solve the accessibility issues on their site (Flash).

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One Response to “„BMW Marketing 101“ Checked”

  1. Hi,

    on the right hand side of the homepage can you now find feature to subscribe to my facebook, twitter, delicious, or RSS. Feedburner is enabled also.This allows delivery by mail.