What are Your Promotion Channels?
How do you communicate that to your different audiences? Because it seems traditional car advertising is done on big TV commercials and stuff like that. What are the marketing tactics and strategies – our audience tends to be marketers, and so this is what they’re curious about – how would they get their message out if they were marketing? If they were in charge, how would they be doing it?
We try to do an interesting mix. You’re right, BMW is known for great commercials, beautiful cars, and that sort of traditional, almost stereotypical, automobile advertising. Beautiful people driving beautiful cars in beautiful places. And, again, it goes back to that aspiration idea that I just mentioned. We just released the new 5 series. We hired Clive Owen; we literally made a short film. And if you watch that film ‒ please go find it and watch it, because we end up blowing up cars. There are helicopters, and there are special effects, and there are bullet holes in the car, and it’s an action film in about 15 minutes. It’s amazing.
I don’t have that budget. I’m part of BMW. Remember, let’s go back to this: I’m a startup with a rich German uncle. That rich German uncle does not give me an unlimited marketing budget. I can’t just go buy customers. I’m just like any other startup in that respect. For us it is a combination. When we launch in a new city, we tend to do more things like out-of-home advertising and really trying to build awareness where people are, whether that’s near transit hubs, or near places where there are people who maybe are already used to using other forms of transportation and aren’t relying on their car every day. We look at how do we reach out to people via radio ads, maybe in a city, and try to be local.
Beyond that, we do a lot of digital. We’re doing more and more targeting of people who fit the profile. Say maybe they’ve liked or they’ve used mobile ads, maybe they’ve got other apps that fit into this mobility services category on their phone, and we’re really trying to find those people and introduce them to what we’re doing at ReachNow, and tell them why we might be something to fit in with their transportation needs. Because our competition is the other services you might think about. In Seattle, we just kicked off our own ReachNow ride service. It’s a pilot. But it’s a single app integrated with our car sharing app, and it means you can find a car and drive it yourself, or you can hit a button and I’ll send a professional driver in an X1 or a 330 to come pick you up and take you where you want to go, similar to services like an Uber or Lyft.
I’m competing with those guys. I’m competing with the other car sharing services. I’m competing with walking, and biking, and busing, and driving your own car. All of those are substitutes. And I’ve got to find a way to convince you that, for what you need in the moment, this is the right solution for you. And I think that’s something we’re working really hard to do.