Problems Harley Davidson Face
Harley Davidson was the only American brand for heavy weight motorcycle manufacturer. However, Harley Davidson faced problems on positioning in its core market segment, that is, those middle aged male baby boomers, since Harley try to gain business from new segments by targeting on female and young users, with new bike that acquired features that is small in size, which totally contrast with the products being offered by Harley previously. The troubles faced by Harley had been stated and emphasized as below.
When Harley tries to change from only targeting middle age male baby boomers into targeting female and young users in addition, Harley needs huge amount of financial sources, use for research and development (R&D) on the new product, as well as for conducting marketing communication with the new targeted prospects. The product features of new Harleys are smaller in size, which totally contrast with the features of heavy weight motorcycle offered previously. Hence, more R&D is needed for this new product. In fact, customers’ reviews are extremely important, as comments are needed for features improvement.
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To collect customers’ review, survey research is needed, which is costly to be conducted. Further, the marketing communication channel used need to be redesigned, as previously, media such as automobile magazine had been chosen to target core market, but to target new prospects, this media may not be suitable, since automobile magazines are mostly read by males. Other media are needed, such as via television program (at peak hour), or, promoting new Harleys via conducting events around shopping malls and universities, to generate brand awareness on prospects.
Females do not concern on vehicles as males do in usual time, hence, more effort and more money need to be spent to get attention of females on new Harley. It had been a mist on when Harley can get back returns on its investment. Although forecasting will be done on the returns expected to be acquired, but the risk is still very high, since Harley try to approach a totally new segment, which was not being exposed before. Harley is lacking of experience in targeting this new segment.
Besides, the image of Harley will be changed if Harley offered new motorcycle targeted on female and young users. Due to the hogs being offered in the past, Harley acquired an image of ‘freedom and strength’ in the mind of consumers. The newly launched motorcycle was totally contrasted with Harley’s image, as the new product is small in size. This new product may cause confusing on existing customers as well as on prospects. The existing customers, that is, the middle aged male baby boomers, will lose confidence and may felt annoying on the new launched product.
This is because some of the existing customers felt that Harley was a brand exclusive for male. However, when Harley launched products targeted on female and young users, these existing customers may perceive Harley as a common brand, which acquire only a little or totally no difference with its competitors. These customers will not perceive Harley as an exclusive brand for male anymore, and may switch to Harley’s competitors in future time. To resolve these dilemmas stated above, a few solutions are needed, as below.
Harley Davidson needs to reposition itself, by changing the initial image of ‘freedom and strength’ into another image, by emphasized that Harley care for everyone’s needs without ignoring either male or female. This can be done by using tagline of ‘It Born for You’. This tagline stressed that Harley Davidson sells variety products that suit for everyone, including male and female, as well as young users respectively. For Harley to approach new prospects without neglecting the existing core market simultaneously, Harley can choose those media that low in cost, while easier to approach all targeted customers.
This can be done via conducting advertising on Facebook or Twitter, which is low in cost but have high capability to approach targeted customers over the globe. Social community can be created on Facebook, in which prospects and users can have discussion and review on new launch products, to generate brand awareness, as well as increase confidence and know this new product in depth. This will help in increasing the likelihood of purchasing the newly launched Harley.