How BMW Motorrad solved its biggest marketing problem
BMW Motorrad needed to gain market share from larger competitors without increasing budget. It wanted to spend less on agencies for production to release more spend for media to drive brand reach and sales.
Using the Test–Learn–LeadTM framework from Brilliant Noise, BMW Motorrad was able to significantly reduce its production budget by 51%, make the media budget go further, and increase customer engagement by an impressive 123%. In this article, we’ll explain how this was achieved fast and how other multi-market brands can do the same.
Why BMW Motorrad needed to change
When winter turns to spring, motorcycle season starts in Europe. Biking fans take the tarps off their steeds and head out onto the road, and two-wheel-curious souls think “Maybe this is the year I go for it and get myself a freedom machine”.
The bikes aren’t the only well-oiled machines coming to life. All winter, motorcycle brands have been preparing their plans and content to reach this particular, growing audience at this precise moment. BMW Motorrad (BMWM) needed to be faster, more adaptive, and more efficient than its competitors to win attention.
BMW’s European group of business is steeped in a culture of engineering excellence. Just as engine specialists will obsess about getting more power and more speed from every morsel of fuel, the crux of marketing performance, they decided, was to make content production and operational elements increasingly efficient and use money saved to spend more on media to drive growth.
BMW Motorrad markets were operating independently. They’d engage separate agencies in each of the markets to execute the same campaigns, at a considerable cost to the bottom line. Their marketers were working hard – spending time, effort, and budget to stand out and drive growth. But their efforts were duplicated in each region and their budget wasted on creating similar assets multiple times.
Unlocking better, faster marketing performance
It was natural to think about a content hub for the ten countries in this group. Creating more assets centrally for all markets to share. The logic of this approach is clear, but tempered by experience. Everyone with a few years experience has seen marketing change programmes with strong ambition and adequate resources fail because of a lack of pragmatism, empathy, and humility. Steering groups fall in love with tech, which turns out to be harder for local markets to use than they thought. Strategists dream of grateful marketing directors in each country deploying their content, but forget that in-country teams.
The way to get improvement and change, BMW agreed, was to forget the egotism and high stakes of the “Grand Plan” approach to change and favour a collaborative, experiment-led approach where all the marketing teams would work together to find ways to improve efficiency and share content and insights. Brilliant Noise worked with BMW Mottorad using its Test–Learn–LeadTM process which, without disrupting campaigns in progress, finds ways to test–and–learn multiple ways to improve performance.
How we made change happen
To centralise the global proposition and positioning and cut down on duplication, we created a marketing hub from which to manage the campaign. This included creating a campaign communication toolkit that ensured all markets were equipped with an approach that was scalable and customisable.
The toolkit steps through each customer journey stage and explains what each asset should make the customer feel and do. To show the flexibility of the assets and the campaign messaging, we mapped out example journeys for each model of bike and demonstrated how touchpoints and creative would look different depending on which bikes markets wanted to push.
The question that accelerated impact
The question at the heart of the Test–Learn–Lead™ process is:
What is the next testable idea most likely to deliver the biggest increase in performance?
The simplicity and power of this question powers a flywheel of testing and learning throughout the organisation. The process gathers hundreds, sometimes thousands, of potential improvements, hypotheses about what will make marketing better. These are analysed for their ease of testing, potential impact, and urgency, and given scores that prioritise the experiments using the Brilliant Noise’s Overture™ strategy platform. The highest scoring candidates are then run as experiments; results are recorded and new knowledge and questions shared. Then the team re-prioritises and decides on the next experiment or experiments that are to be run. It is a decision loop, a flywheel, that runs at pace and creates dramatic results as it gains momentum.
Success so far How this translates into actual day-to-day work can be seen in the development of the BMW Motorrad European content hub with examples like:
Get in touch if you have similar problems with your multi-market brand and would like to explore how to make the rapid change you need…
What’s your biggest marketing problem? Brilliant Noise’s Test–Learn–Lead™ has helped save brands millions, multiplying customer engagement effects and powering transformative performance improvements. Ask us how we could help solve your biggest challenge.