Analysis of BMW e-marketing strategies


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Analysis of BMW e-marketing strategies

  1. 1. BMW E-Marketing Analysis Kennedy Mbwette 2013
  2. 2. 1 CONTENTS Executive Summary 2 Background 2 BMW Internet Marketing 2 BMW Website 3 BMW Applications 3 BMW Online Marketing Communications 3 Search Engine Marketing 4 Online Public Relations 4 Online Television 4 Online Advertisements 5 Social Networks 5 Email and Mobile Messaging 5 Online magazine and newsletters 6 Online Games 6 BMW Integrated Online Marketing Communication 6 BMW Brisbane Case Study 6 BMW Latin America Case Study 7 “Story of Joy” campaign 7 BMW Films Campaign 7 Conclusion 7 References 8 Appendix 11
  3. 3. 2 Executive Summary BMW is a large-scale automobile company serving worldwide with rivals such as Audi and Mercedes-Benz. To outrun its competition, BMW has incorporated the internet to its overall marketing strategies. Because about 85% of its customers conduct internet research before purchasing, BMW has invested on internet through website, online applications and television, and social networks to conduct e-marketing. BMW uses internet for online advertising, marketing public relations, promotions, direct marketing and improving customer relations. With its establishment on internet, BMW provides its customers with rich marketing information quickly, on-time and at low costs through e-newsletters, e-magazines, online broadcast, emails and text messages. The internet also enables BMW to conduct personalized and localized marketing with interactivity such as virtual show rooms. The company’s strategic integrated marketing communication plan implements and monitors both traditional and online marketing campaigns concurrently to collectively conduct various campaigns that have had remarkable successes and a few challenges to its overall company marketing strategies. Background Bavarian Motor Works (BMW) is a German automobile, motorcycle and engine manufacturing company founded about 96 years ago currently serving worldwide with subsidiaries and manufacturing plants in over 13 countries on five continents (BMW, 2013; Wikipedia, 2013). BMW is a large company with an average annual production output of 1,481,253 globally supplied automobiles, and challenged by a number of strong competitions from other luxury automakers including AUDI and Mercedes-Benz. In order to achieve its marketing objectives more effectively, BMW has well invested in strategic use of electronic and communication technology to create competitive advantage through e-marketing as discussed in the following section (Chaffey et al., 2006; Wikipedia, 2013). BMW Internet Marketing BMW uses internet through its main international website ( and its subsidiaries as part of marketing strategy to conduct mass marketing worldwide. This has been advantageous to BMW since 2001 when it conducted a research and found that about 85% of its customers used the internet before purchasing its products (Hespos, 2002). BMW uses the internet to build its brand and product awareness, offer various buying options for customers, overcome location barriers at minimum costs through online stores, interact with consumers, and promote the company core brand values and heritage. It also enjoys localization and personalization of advertisements and websites to reduce barriers such as language and compatibility. Figure 1: BMW Website
  4. 4. 3 BMW Website The BMW website provides information about the corporation, products, services and an online store. The website is used to easily reach customers worldwide with rich information and enhance buying experience with virtual showroom through an interactive tool (BMW configurator). The tool enables customers to build their ideal BMW automobile, estimates costs, and allow to place order. (BMW-Lifestyle, 2013). BMW has designed its website in such a way that will attract consumers by offering various resources including brochures, subscribed e-newsletters and online magazine issues that provide latest news on products and deals to promote the brand and maintain its awareness. The BMW website also offers access to online video games, dowloads for wallpapers, screen savers, widgets, and other brand promoting applications. In order to acquire and retain their customers BMW website also assists improving customer relations and service delivery through registrations, online assistance and direct access to local dealers. According to GetWebsiteWorth, the BMW international website is worth about $167,755 with daily page views of about 76,811 and daily ads revenue of about $230 (GetWebsiteWorth, 2013) However, Yandalo stats show about only 6% of the website visitors to use the additional features reflecting their very low contribution. However, this may be due to the structure of the website hence slightly difficult to determine features’ actual contribution to the overall marketing (Yandalo, 2013). BMW Applications BMW has strategically used computer, tablets and other mobile devices applications for e-marketing strategies due to their increasing popularity rapid advancement. The currently existing marketing related applications include BMW Mobile Configurator, BMW Magazine, BMW Connected, The Ultimate Drive and numerous official games (BMW, 2013).These applications are available for different platforms including Facebook Apps, iOS, Android and Windows. The applications can be accessed online or downloaded through the BMW websites. The Facebook BMW Ultimate Drive for instance, has 5838 and an average of more than 200 users per month, capturing a fair amount of relevant market attention (Facebook, 2013). The applications help BMW for transmit products and promotion information, and also act as add-ons for their customers. All these applications are integrated with social networks and other BMW online channels to extend coverage and collectively providing a strong company online marketing competitive advantage. BMW Online Marketing Communications BMW has incorporated the internet into its overall marketing strategies in order to attract and retain its customers more effectively and efficiently. To achieve this, it has invested in and integrated several online communication channels subsequently discussed. Figure 2: BMW Website Activities
  5. 5. 4 Search Engine Marketing In order to gain its website traffic, BMW has adopted a number of techniques to promote its brand through search engines. One of BMW’s techniques is paid search marketing in which it has bought ads on some search engines such as BING and Yahoo so that ads that links to their website appear on top when a user types specific keywords (see figure 4) BMW’s other technique is search engine optimization (SEO) enabling to influence visibility of its website in search engines’ standard results (see figure 4). BMW’s SEO activities were evidently noted in 2006 when its Germany website suffered a ‘death penalty’ by Google search engine for breaching its guidelines by influencing the search results to ensure top ranking when users search for “used car” (BBC, 2006). This reflects impact of related macro environment factors that companies must considered when adopting relevant e-marketing techniques. Online Public Relations BMW conducts online public awareness through it online Global PressClub portal ( It provides the ongoing corporate media matters, press releases and third-party media coverage (BMW- PressClub, 2013). The company also webcast its brand related events to many people and simultaneously through its dedicated portal ( either live or on demand (BMW-Webcast, 2013). BMW online public relations extend to social networks such as Twitter and Facebook in order to influence public opinions and create company goodwill. Using social networks communication for public relations is prone to high risk of damaging brand image due to the liberty involved, however BMW use it as it provides a fast and easy multi-directional communication for customers to access and share information. BMW conduct online brand protection campaigns by publicizing their original brand standards and risks of using fake goods, and overall product piracy. The company has a dedicated website for brand protection ( that is linked to other BMW websites (Brand-Protection-Team, 2013). Online Television BMW has invested in online television to promote its core brand values, technology, quality, performance and exclusiveness, due to its ability to provide global concurrent, real-time, rich information coverage. BMW has its online channel ( where all the official advertisements, launching and promotion videos are uploaded to create brand, products and services awareness and support information. BMW also broadcasts its marketing videos to large online TV third-parties such as MSNBC, Bravo and NBC, whose viewers constitutes 20.5% of BMW’s income bracket target and 26.5% of the BMW’s targeted age group (Pareek, 2009; Tsirulnik, 2011). Figure 3: BMW Search Engine Marketing
  6. 6. 5 Moreover, BMW also provides its contents through large social networks such as YouTube which allows interaction among viewers, whereby they can share views, ask questions or discuss about the videos. According to the VidStatsX web measurement, the BMW Youtube channel indicates a successful marketing channel by ranking higher than most of its competitors (see figure 5). Online Advertisements BMW has partnered with online affiliates such as WCRS with the intention of encouraging brand awareness, ad recall, purchase intent and drawing more visitors to its website (BMW-Education, 2011). BMW North-America for instance spends 15% (second largest proportion) of its marketing budget on digital marketing including internet and mobile application ads, indicating the importance of its contribution to their marketing strategies (Boeriu, 2011). Online advertisement channels enable BMW to display interactive advertisements such as pop-ups, banners, skyscrapers, shoshkeles and interstitials through selected third-party sites and mobile applications which can deliver the ads to relevant audiences. Additionally, BMW engages in sponsoring events that will broadcast its advertisements online such as Super Bowl 2013, one of the largest online broadcasts which had an average of 108.4 million viewers (MMLabs, 2013; Moraes, 2013). Online advertisements allows BMW to be flexible in advertising for instance audience specific display, also with an appeal through visual and audio (Kumar, 2012). Social Networks BMW e-marketing strategy incorporates social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube due to the potential of reaching a great number of people at relatively low cost. BMW uses social networks as they allow multimedia and interactive communication with a large number of consumers enabling to conduct viral, communal and influenced marketing campaigns. Additionally, the company uses the platforms for satisfied customers to easily recommend their products to others and also as a medium to conduct customer-product conversations and brand blogging. The official BMW Facebook page has 13,396,064 likes and more than 100 thousand followers on Twitter. With such a great number of fans compared to its competitors, BMW is able to deliver its advertisements to a large number of people at an instant and easily draw them to its websites at a relatively low cost. Email and Mobile Messaging BMW’s online platforms provide a registration option to the visitors which BMW uses the registration details to conduct direct sales, and brand awareness promotions for those who opted to receive. BMW communicates with its customers periodically through email and messages for promotion, customer retention and also to obtain further data that helps learning customer online behaviors. Email and text messaging allow easy personalization, fast reach and can be easily integrated with other channels at relatively low costs. However, successful communication through this channel is not always guaranteed due to delivery failures or differences in customer communication preferences (Chaffey, et al., 2006). 2,303,638 4,666,412 725,904 207,696 Company YoutubeViews Audi BMW Ford Toyota Figure 4: Youtube Channel Views
  7. 7. 6 Online magazine and newsletters The online magazines provide engaging reading experience through interactive features with more information, pictures, videos, and other entertainments. The company is able to deliver its magazines and e-newsletters to its consumers at once and at relatively low cost compared to printing and physical delivery costs (see table 2). The online issues also enable information to effectively reach the targeted audience on time regardless their locations (BMW, 2013). Moreover, BMW endorses online distribution methods as they minimize pollution and reassure energy conservation, as abides by its environmental protection guidelines (BMWGroup, 2003) Online Games The BMW multi-player online video game (PACE) is strategically used by the company to promote performance of its vehicles, create strong positive brand image, an appeal to the players. This enhances awareness of BMW products in market and influence players who are potential buyers or ambasadors. BMW Integrated Online Marketing Communication BMW marketers have incorporated the internet into their promotional tools to build and maintain brand awareness, and to attract and retain its customers. Through integrated marketing communication plan on the internet, BMW conducts both its traditional and online marketing campaigns consistently through collective communication channels and reaches its targeted audience with greater impact than through individual communication as in the following case examples. BMW Brisbane Case Study The company launched an e-mail marketing campaign to release a new version of BMW Z4 with the aim of generating interest for Test Drives. Detailed Z4 graphics and branded Test Drive registration forms were sent to the customers. The campaign results are summarized in table 1. A testimonial from the Brisbane BMW marketing manager: “The sale was excellent with great feedback from the email design! We sold almost 50 cars over the 3 days. Put us into the number one position in Australia for December” (Vision6, 2005) 24-HRS BRISBANE RESULTS OUT OF 1303 RECEIPIENTS  55% READ THE EMAIL SENT  8.6% RESPONDED TO EMAIL  4% REGISTERED INSTANTLY  9 PEOPLE RECOMMENED TO FRIENDS Figure 5: BMW e-Magazine Table 1:Bristane Results Channel Views
  8. 8. 7 BMW Latin America Case Study The 2011 promotion of BMW 1 series was an interactive marketing campaign through Facebook in order to support the launch and collect audience data. BMW deployed Windows Azure system that enabled them to independently manage the solution and integrate it with their existing systems. The promotion engaged 90,000 consumers through two different languages at the same time, at a relatively low cost, and was able to convert 900 campaign participants into potential customers (Microsoft, 2012). “Story of Joy” campaign BMW’s 2010 “Story of Joy” advertising campaign was intended to attract customers who were not necessarily driving enthusiasts as the “Ultimate Driving Machine”. The campaign associated social networks, dedicated website (, games and interactive ads, collectively integrated with traditional marketing channels. An industry-specific intelligent social media listening tool was used to determine the impact of the campaign; and was noted that the brand conversations by females had increased by 20% signaling a definite demographic shift (J.D.Power, 2010). The impact of the campaign was easily understood through internet compare to traditional channels due to the rich user information such as age, gender and location. The overall joy campaign was very successful resulting in a rapid recovery of company net profit (see figure 6). BMW Films Campaign The 2001 “BMW Films” promotional campaign through online short films was designed explicitly to direct consumers to the BMW Films website. Web visitors were required to registration in order to watch the films, hence BMW was able to both spread the message and obtain consumer information. The campaign was supported by TV adverts, prints, billboards and online advertisement that all directed to the same BMW Films website thus collectively increase traffic. The campaign results were historical to the automotive industries at that time with more than 10 million views, 2 million registrations with 60% opting to receive more information, all at a cost of around only $1.20 per person (Hespos, 2002).. Additionally, 94% of the registrants recommended films to others which resulted in a viral campaign and website traffic increase by 55% to 214,000 unique visitors compared to the weekly 138,000 enabling BMW to increase yearly sales by 12.5% in 2002 and later reported to have reached 74% (Pareek, 2009; Strauss, et al., 2006) Conclusion BMW is an established company. This establishment can be credited partly due to both its ongoing and campaign specific marketing strategies. It has been seen that BMW’s well-structured integration of online and offline marketing communications has contributed to its e-marketing strategies success, in the essence that they collectively assist to identify, acquire, anticipate, satisfy and retain the customers. The BMW campaign examples have shown e-marketing initiatives to be relatively cheap and efficient compared to traditional marketing. However, one must understand and abide with both existing macro and micro environment factors when implementing e-marketing initiatives. This is due to the likeliness to harm the marketing strategies or damage the brand as it was seen in BMW’s SEO bridging attempts.
  9. 9. 8 References BBC, 2006. BBC News. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 6 5 2013]. BMW, 2013. BMW Magazine online. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 5 5 2013]. BMW, 2013. Production worldwide. [Online] Available at: tandorte/produktionsstandorte.shtml [Accessed 5 5 2013]. BMW-Education, 2011. BMW Education Programme. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 7 5 2013]. BMWGroup, 2003. Environmental Guidelines: BMW Group. [Online] Available at: BMWGroup_Environmental_Guidelines.pdf [Accessed 8 5 2013]. BMW-Lifestyle, 2013. BMW Shop. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 5 5 2013]. BMW-PressClub, 2013. BMW Group. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 6 5 2013]. BMW-Webcast, 2013. BMW Webcast. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 6 5 2013]. Boeriu, H., 2011. BMW-Blog. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 9 5 2013]. Brand-Protection-Team, 2013. BMW Group Brand Protection. [Online] Available at: c&cssaved=done [Accessed 6 5 2013].
  10. 10. 9 Chaffey, D., Ellis-Chadwick, F., Mayer, R. & Johnston, K., 2006. Internet Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. Essex: Pearson Education Limited. Facebook, 2013. Facebook. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 6 5 2013]. GetWebsiteWorth, 2013. Site Audit: [Online] Available at: [Accessed 5 5 2013]. Hespos, T., 2002. BMW Films: iMedia Connection. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 8 5 2013]. J.D.Power, 2010. Case Studies: J.D. Power and Associates. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 8 5 2013]. Kumar, S., 2012. Slide share. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 7 5 2013]. Microsoft, 2012. Case Studies: Microsoft. [Online] Available at: Supports-Model-Launch-Develops-Prospects-with-Cloud-Based-Social-Marketing/710000001091 [Accessed 8 5 2013]. MMLabs, 2013. Vimeo. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 7 5 2013]. Moraes, L. d., 2013. Entertainments: The Washington Post. [Online] Available at: bowl-ratings/2013/02/04/d2218ff8-6ed6-11e2-8b8d-e0b59a1b8e2a_blog.html [Accessed 9 5 2013]. Pareek, A., 2009. Author Stream. [Online] Available at: ppt-powerpoint/ [Accessed 8 5 2013]. Strauss, J., El-Ansary, A. I. & Frost, R., 2006. Uploads: Philadelphia. [Online] Available at: Ansary%2C+and+Raymond+Frost&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=com.frontmotion:en- GB:unofficial&client=firefox-a&channel=fflb [Accessed 10 5 2013].
  11. 11. 10 Tsirulnik, G., 2011. BMW introduces mobile app to complement ongoing Joy campaign: Mobile Marketer. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 7 5 2013]. Vision6, 2005. Case_Study: Vision 6. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 8 5 2013]. Wikipedia, 2013. BMW. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 5 5 2013]. Wikipedia, 2013. SearchEngine Optimization: Wikipedia. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 6 5 2013]. Yandalo, 2013. Yandalo. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 8 5 2013].
  12. 12. 11 Appendix 1. Source: BMW Press;jsessionid=rmFsRMKXjCqX6vpgwp H7Fh2S1qL2LfJCLvwbJx8hgTL2hGqC6rN1!58752007?title=bmw-group-annual-report- 2012&outputChannelId=6&id=T0138203EN&left_menu_item=node__2201 2. E-mail Postal Mail Delivery cost per thousand $30 $500 Creative costs to develop $1,000 $17,000 Click through rate 10% N/A Customer conversion rate 5% 3% Execution time 3 weeks 3 months Response time 48 hours 3 weeks Source: E-Marketing, 4E, 2006 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Net Profit Figure 6: BMW Net Profit Table 2: Metrics for Electronic and Postal Mail