Automotive Brand BMW investing in social media capabilities to reach new customers

Hildegard Wortmann, Senior Vice President Brand BMW, is overhauling its marketing department to focus on the latest digital trends in an effort to connect and …

Hildegard Wortmann, Senior Vice President Brand BMW, is overhauling its marketing department to focus on the latest digital trends in an effort to connect and engage with millennials. Millennials in key markets such as China are less receptive to traditional channels for distributing content since most of the consumption takes place online and on their digital devices. They are also less interested in print and TV commercials and focused more on engagement with a brand through social media.

“They don’t care anymore about a brand telling you how to live, what to do, how to behave, where to shop — their world is completely seamless between virtual and real and with a clear global focus, but still they themselves have a tiny world of brands, which they think are relevant for their life,” said Wortmann, who is senior vice president brand at BMW. “They want brands that behave like human beings.”

Ms. Wortmann also says that the new digital world comes with certain risks, naming BMW’s campaign at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in California.

 “A few years ago, I would have probably gotten fired for going to a festival with sex, drugs, rock and roll,” Wortmann said. Taking the risk brought rewards as the social media impact was immediate with people posting pictures of themselves in front of the BMW i8. “We’re using their community in order to boost our message,” Wortmann said.
Ms. Wortmann joined BMW in 1998 and has played a crucial role in the successful re-launch of the MINI brand, so her resume speaks for itself when it comes to taking risks and engaging a vocal demographic. The BMW executive also said the automaker has overhauled its marketing department completely, replacing functional responsibilities for areas such as TV and print that had a “launch and forget” mentality moving from one product campaign to another. Instead she created a content studio at BMW’s headquarters in Munich that continuously mines information and reacts instantly.

“Any social media, any news on any channels that you can imagine – we see that live in our control center, our little war room, in real time,” she said.

Ms. Wortmann sat down with BMWBLOG last Fall in LA and shared similar thoughts. “In my new role, we have to build new competencies, including data analysts in our marketing team to be able to interpret what we see on these new marketing channels,” Ms. Wortmann said last year. Today, she added that the marketing department is now a hybrid of marketing people and data analysts.

“At the moment, I am not recruiting marketing experts. I am recruiting data analysts, who are capable of not just doing the data crunching, but really interpreting the right things out of that, which we need in order to take the right direction for the brand.”

[Source: Automotive News]

[Image: BMW Blog]

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