Toyota is about to launch a marketing campaign to promote its Hybrid Synergy Drive technology. Toyota’s thinking seems to be that they have a lead in the public’s mind when it comes to hybrids so market like crazy before the competition catches up. When you think hybrid, they want the name Toyota to pop up in your brain. That seems like pretty decent marketing to me.
Is there a comparable niche marketing strategy available to motorcycle companies? Every category of the motorcycle market has multiple offerings and there isn’t yet any really new technology out there so where could they go? Harley Davidson pushes the Harley lifestyle pretty hard with carefully composed images of Harley riders in all sorts of photogenic locations. Buy a Harley and you , too, can live that life. They sell the lifestyle more than the bikes and it seems to work for them to some degree. But who else has a strong enough connection to any particular branch of motorcycling or motorcycle technology that would enable them to pull away from the crowd?
There are a lot of small companies building choppers and catering to their particular brand of customer but in the Toyota example, they’re going for big market share with a very big niche. My first thoughts: Honda could try to get the touring market with the Goldwing and craft a campaign so motorcycle touring and the Goldwing would just be the natural connection. They probably have a pretty good jump in that area now so it makes sense. Kawasaki has often been the horsepower leader, even when they didn’t win in the handling department and the ZX-14 seems to be another push to re-establish supremacy there. Maybe they could run with that. Is there a large niche in the motorcycle market that can be exploited? Who would do it? Any ideas?