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The marketing: Identifying the Spyder buyer – February 12, 2007

February 12, 2007
Filed under Features

MELBOURNE, Fla. — He’s between 35 and 45 years old.
He has other powersports vehicles, but not necessarily a motorcycle.
And he likes extreme sports, just not necessarily as hair-raising as perhaps a decade ago.
That is the type of consumer that BRP will be targeting for its new three-wheel, on-road creation called Spyder, which will carry the Can-Am brand name, said Chris Dawson, BRP’s vice president of strategic planning, business development and strategic marketing.
That consumer — what Dawson refers to as the bullseye of the Spyder marketing target — was defined by an Internet survey of 3,000, with half of those polled coming from the United States and the other half from Europe.
To reach their target consumer, BRP will rely heavily on Web advertising and vehicle trials. There will not be a TV ad campaign. Instead, the company hopes the initial buzz comes from media reports — more than 85 members of the media are slated to attend the public launching in February — and that would be followed by a steady stream of Web advertising and vehicle trials, some of which will be celebrity testing.
“We’re planning to build this from the buzz side of it,” Dawson said. “One of the choices that we made upfront is we need to learn from previous launches. Part of that learning is it does take time (to market a new product) — you can’t just blast people with it.”
BRP will be conducting two types of vehicle trials: one with its dealers, who are part of the initial production rollout, and a separate group that will be taking Spyders to powersports-related events. Exactly what events, whether it’s a Daytona or a Haydays, is still being sorted out.
“It’s not stopping at a shopping mall, it’s targeting powersports folks,” Dawson said of events that BRP will be targeting.
By September, BRP hopes to have 80 Spyders available for test rides.
Two or three units will be given to a dealer for a week so consumers can try them first in a closed-course setting before taking them on the street. That was when how BRP conducted two rides well before the Spyder’s public unveiling. In October of 2005, BRP held trials in Lake Tahoe and three weeks later in France.
Even though BRP is targeting the 35-45-year-old male consumer, they believe the test rides will hook other ages and demographics, including female riders. That future consumer, BRP is hoping, could include the person who has stayed away from purchasing a motorcycle because of safety concerns.
“There was a funny line from one individual that, before he saw the product, said he wasn’t allowed to have a motorcycle, but he really wanted one,” Dawson said. “Then he saw the product and we said, ‘Does this let you start the argument again?’ And he said, ‘Absolutely.’”
Part of BRP’s marketing focus on safety will include a Web video that shows consumers the ins and outs of the vehicle’s stability system, one of the vehicle’s four computer systems.
But BRP also will market Spyder’s features that will appeal to the enthusiast.
“Because it does have the Cam-Am name, it has to stay consistent with the ATV side as well,” Dawson said of BRP’s quad lineup that focuses solely on the recreational side of that segment.
Was there any thought to giving Spyder its own brand name?
“There was debate,” Dawson said. “There was discussion as to what is the right way to go from a branding standpoint.
“One of the things that made the decision easy, or at least easier, early on was two factors. One, we found through research that powersports consumers are the most interested in the product. No. 2 is we want to stay true to our dealer network.
“In fact we stated it in a board meeting, that if this was not appropriate for the dealer network, we wouldn’t have launched it.”
Part of staying true to the dealer network means building an already-established brand name in Cam-Am, a name associated with performance products. psb

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