Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Marketing

November 14, 2012
Marketing and motorcycles need awareness, attention, and care.

In some parts of the county, motorcycles have been put into storage — here in South Texas, we benefit from an extra couple of months of riding before winter sets in. Our attire changes slightly, but the elements of riding never do: open road, well-maintained bike, and the rider.

The one thing that never goes into storage is your marketing plan and execution. You experience your own seasonal changes, from audiences to products, and while you adjust, this is one ride you can enjoy all year long.

Start with the basics

Marketing is similar to riding a motorcycle. Just like your bike, you have to maintain your marketing vehicle.

Fuel provides the energy behind your marketing efforts. Stale fuel gums up the carburetors and eventually fuel can’t get to the cylinders for combustion. How many times does a shortsighted campaign lose momentum? It’s great to have something pretty to look at, but without fuel, your marketing efforts aren’t going anywhere.

With friction and heat building up, oil allows for proper lubrication of your marketing machine. Oil is the lifeblood of the engine as it carries away debris and maintains your seals and engine. Just like a marketing plan, without frequent checks and routine maintenance, eventually your engine seizes and you're dead in your tracks. When it happens, it’s back to the shop for a time-consuming and costly rebuild.

Air does a couple of things: 1) it combines with fuel for combustion and 2) it cools the engine. Airflow cannot be restricted, similarly to your customer inputs as you execute your marketing plan. Choke off that air and your marketing efforts sputter and run poorly. You lose momentum and traction. Eventually, you stop all together and your marketing engine becomes dangerously overheated. Don’t make an adjustment soon and you are out for the rest of the season.

Pre-ride check

Understanding the basics of content marketing is a great start, and you’re almost ready to hit the road, but before you do, let’s take a quick walk around the bike.

The purpose of the pre-ride inspection is to confirm that everything is in order. You visually inspect any worn or damaged parts.

Your marketing plan and execution is no different. You have to confirm that all components are there, in order, and capable of performing the task at hand. If they aren’t, roll it back into the garage and break out the tools.

Taking a poorly serviced bike on the road risks one of the worst outcomes possible. Executing on a broken campaign will garner similar results.

Hit the open road

So everything is in check, bike looks good, weather is great and you know your route. Donning your boots, jacket, gloves and helmet, you are ready to take the bike for a leisurely spin, but your engagement doesn’t end there.

You need feedback and input when executing on a marketing plan. Check your speed and RPMs. Do you see a temperature or oil pressure light?

It’s not just a dashboard that gives you feedback, take a look at the traffic. Is there any or is there too much? Engagement indicators tell you that you have chosen the right route, or you may have taken a detour.

With a sound marketing vehicle and the ability to measure results, you have many miles of happy motoring ahead.

[Image: Martin Pettitt]