Marketing entails involvement with prospective customers, as well as showcasing the ability of a product to solve a buyer’s problem or address their desires. Hence, marketing is a process requiring the marketer to formulate strategies for identifying prospective buyers and influence their decisions in favor of particular products or brands. As pointed in the case study, BMW, the ultimate driving machine, was founded in 1916 as an aircraft-engine manufacturer. Later in the 20th century, it evolved into an automobile and a motorcycle manufacturer. An overview of the BMW Company illustrates that buying is a consumer-marketer process involving diverse phases.
Consumer Buying Process
The buying process begins with the recognition of a problem. A necessity must exist for purchase to be considered, creating a want for the customer and a marketer’s prospect. Based on the current case study, BMW’s growth had exploded in the 1990s, targeting baby boomers and the growing automobile market. Similarly, the professional yuppies’ prioritized work realized that they needed car models that depicted their success. Given their desires for the BMW unique product, the customers became the target to the marketer in the first stage of buying.
The second stage involves searching for information regarding the desired product. In this phase, the consumer identifies their preferences, hence, there is the search for a prospective solution. BMW found an opportunity by learning yuppies require unique cars to showcase their success. Thus, BMW produced sporty sedans, which depicted status and achievement. The next step involves evaluating alternatives, which consists of the customer comparing the products; in this case, the automobiles are based on their performance. The sporty sedans came in a 3, 5, or 7 series, which the yuppies referred to as Beemer and Bimmer for the BMW.
A purchase decision is central to the consumer buying process where the buyer, after exploring options, chooses to purchase the product. At this stage, the marketer convinces the customers, assuring them concerning the product quality as well as security. BMW provided various options to its customers and introduced different designs, styles, prices, and sizes of cars, making it easier for them to select their preferred products. The phase involves ensuring that the customer’s wants are met, while, at the same time, sales and profits are made. According to the case study, BMW’s sales grew to more than 300000 units in 2013 in the United States. This trend was attributed to customer satisfaction as they considered the BMW the best alternative.
The final stage in the consumer process is post-purchase monitoring, which refers to the marketer’s follow-up to determine if the customer’s needs were met. Customer loyalty is built on this stage as the marketer finds the desired tastes and strategies to meet the specific customer prerequisites. Even after making a high sales volume, BMW continued to innovate and introduce new car models targeting diverse customers. Understanding this buying process is fundamental to the sales and marketing strategic plan at BMW. To persuade and attract a customer to buy their cars, the marketing team should determine the complete process of how the given product meets the consumer essentials, the phases associated with reaching prospective customers to close the respective deals.
Use of Data Analytics in Consumer Research at BMW
Data analytics use at BMW entails compiling raw data for analysis to reach conclusions based on statistical inferences. For BMW, data analytics could analyze consumer behavior to obtain relevant insights concerning sales and marketing, especially design and branding. Considering demographic and socioeconomic attributes, data analytics can assist to determine the financial capabilities of the potential consumers, as well as predicting future trends. These insights are crucial in strategic planning with respect to sales and marketing, as well as branding.
In analytics, such factors as the determination of the customer groups should be considered. One of the categories for BMW’s customers is based on lifestyles. The case study denotes modern mainstreams focused on families but still active, upper conservatives who are wealthy, traditional, and upper liberals who have attained success, have children and engage in curriculum activities. Upon identifying the customers, the company continuously innovated new cars designs, hence making exceptional sales.
Considering the benefits of data analysis with respect to intelligent and informed decisions, analytics play a central role in understanding consumer demography and behavior. It also helps maintain the existing customers by assisting the company in understanding their customer base appropriately. Lastly, data analytics provides a company with a competitive advantage over its competitors as it increases the chances of acquiring new customers.
Segmentation Process in BMW’s Market Targeting
The success of BMW can mainly be attributed to the identification of the target market. Market segmentation is a step-by-step criterion a company uses to recognize such markets. The first phase is to determine the requisites for the category, as well as perceive useful characteristics. Once the desires are established, the product’s prospective customers are analyzed based on their features, such as geographic and demographic segmentation.
BMW adopted demographic segmentation, dividing the market in terms of income and age, which ensured customer service, as well as branding. According to the case study, customers in this segment do not care about the car’s prestigious status but started considering distinguished designs, prices, and style. Following this insight, the company resolved to unique redesigning of the vehicles to satisfy the identified groups’ different needs.
BMW Situational Analysis
Despite BMW having a marketing strategy, it is essential to conduct a systematic situation analysis to determine its sustainability. The analysis identifies the internal and external factors impacting the company. A compilation of the PEST and SWOT analysis assists in reviewing these factors. PEST or PESTEL analysis examines external factors influencing the company while SWOT investigates both internal and external factors influencing business processes. The primary aim is identifying issues, both internal and external, affecting the firm’s operations, which are crucial in strategic planning.
A PEST analysis provides an overview of external factors, including political, economic, social, and technological dynamics that affect a corporation. An in-depth examination of BMW reveals that it is affected by political influences, such as introducing new policies, which can affect consumers’ purchasing power and buying patterns (Frue, 2019). Additionally, corruption and political instability in countries where BMW has established branches can subject its investments to operational risks. To counter such negative implications, the company may be forced to allocate funds based on political factors. Economic factors affect BMW’s functioning, performance, and profitability as they cause the company to project returns or losses in the next years. Foreign trade regulations directly impact the company since different countries in which the company is located have various policies.
Social influence might also affect BMW, given that it operates in different parts of the world whose culture differs. Therefore, the company has to adjust its products to be in line with their target markets (Frue, 2019). To choose where to locate the plant, BMW should research to understand its customers. Technological factors should be considered in the performance analysis of the company. Following the automotive industry’s evolution and competition, it is important to be updated and adopt the most recent technologies. BMW may consider deploying the latest technological features, such as autopilot and advanced navigation systems.
Another factor that should be considered in determining a company’s sustainability in the highly competitive industry is the environment. It impacts the brands in terms of popularity as the policy-based thresholds must be attained for the vehicles to be recommended as environmentally friendly. The implications of the surroundings in the automotive industry continue to take the center stage as the stakeholders invest significantly in green sources of power, as opposed to the traditional fossil non-renewable resources. For instance, BMW continues to invest in electric car models, which are environmentally friendly. This position, as well as a strategic action, is beneficial to the company, and it has numerous benefits to humanity.
Most consumers are interested in green-energy car models due to their association with UN sustainable goals for climate and health. Successful adoption of environmental friendly vehicles will yield increased sales volume raising profitability. Furthermore, local governments reward businesses with the least carbon footprint, which also increases the company’s revenue. As a result, the company benefits from being carbon-free as it enjoys low operational costs. Therefore, environmental factors should inform business processes, research and development, and strategic plans.
The SWOT analysis accounts for BMW’s capabilities in shaping favorable factors and risks. It focuses on internal strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities and threats. The automotive corporation’s analysis shows that while it may be a leading company in the industry, it may be struggling with internal challenges. The firm’s marketing strategies and its commitment to serve customers have helped retain the top position in the industry and gain popularity. BMW also has a broad range of products besides cars, including motorcycles (Pratap, 2019).
It also has a variety of high-performing car models, enabling it to cover broader customer preferences. Being a global brand, BMW has a higher monetary value as compared with other market leaders. In the global automotive sector, this brand is ranked third after Toyota and Mercedes-Benz. Hence, it is a highly perceived brand, which impacts sales price, as well as revenue. On the contrary, BMW invests in quality innovation and human capital that force the vehicles’ prices to increase. The high pricing affects its fast growth in sales since most consumers purchase cheaper brands from the company’s competitors. Additionally, the company has invested in manufacturing premium cars, requiring a high production cost and spending more on its research.
Concerning opportunities, the advancement of technology requires the corporation to focus on innovation. For instance, it should improve on customer online engagement platforms and encourage online promotion and marketing. While more opportunities emerge daily, active threats continue to increase. Competition has become intense as other players in the industry strive to invest. BMW also faces regulatory pressures as the cost of compliance increases (Pratap, 2019). To counter this threat, the company has established compliance codes.
Major Problem Facing BMW and Its Solution
After reviewing the BMW Company, based on the research and analysis, globalization is identified as a significant problem facing the company. Failure to address the implications of globalization could cause the organization significant challenges in the future. Companies with different backgrounds have merged, posing substantial competition. Those in the developed economies have taken control of the automobile industry, posing a threat to the traditional setups (de Villiers et al., 2017). Hence, globalization poses risks to BMW as it competes with other firms in developed economies.
After identifying this organizational challenge, some strategies can be introduced to counter the problem. First, the company should examine technological advancements to enable it to navigate through economies. Secondly, it can opt for acquiring the already existing plants in the developing economies instead of establishing new ones to save costs. Thirdly, BMW can prioritize a people-centered growth to equip customers with technological skills to understand the corresponding innovative solutions’ benefits.
Marketing Strategy Recommendation
From the above alternatives to address the globalization problem, it is recommendable that technological advancement is considered as BMW’s best marketing strategy. Embracing technology will give the company an advantage over its competitors as it will help it penetrate the global market. Technology will enable it to have a check and keep track of the world market, necessitating its easy penetration into the worldwide market (de Villiers et al., 2017). Similarly, brand awareness will be created even in the recently developing economies. The overall analysis of the BMW case study shows that each corporation is subject to operational challenges, which require adjustments to survive in the highly volatile global market despite its size. BMW needs to concentrate on technological advancements to stay competitive in the industry.
de Villiers, R., Chen, P.J., Bernal, P.M., Coleman, L., Huan, T.C.T., and Woodside, A.G. (2017). Achieving requisite variety in customer experience research for improving marketing relationship performances. International Journal of Business & Economics, 16(2), 127-143.
Frue, K. (2020). PESTLE Analysis of BMW: Shaping the automotive industry. PESTLE Analysis. Web.
Pratap, A. BMW SWOT analysis 2019. Notesmatic. Web.