By: Skye Stewart
Whether we like cars or not, we all know that there are the regular, average cars that we see parked in the grocery store like a Honda Civic, and the fancy luxury cars that we only see every once in a while, such as a Bentley or a Porsche. Most people want a relatively nice car, but they can’t always afford to spend extreme amounts of money on a vehicle whether they are in their early twenties or mid-forties. Whether customers can afford these cars or not, luxury car companies found a way to bring these expensive brands into their lives- and it doesn’t include cars.
Many luxury car makers have been expanding the goods they sell to fit the needs of all their customers. They have started to sell many different goods including items such as cologne, Polo shirts, watches, shampoo, furniture, hotel suites, chess sets, sunglasses, briefcases and more. Their idea is to spread brand awareness by providing customers with something else besides a car. These car companies hope that if a customer is willing to buy a product from their company that isn’t a car, like a watch, they will come back when they have the money to buy a vehicle. Either way, if a customer doesn’t come back for the car, these luxury automakers are still making money and the customer got what they came for: a shirt or a watch. It’s really a win-win situation.
By selling different products that are not cars, companies such as Ferrari and Porsche are able to keep customer loyalty when someone doesn’t have a car and will buy one in the future, or when someone is looking for a car and might look at other brands. When a customer is all decked out in Bentley gear, it would be weird to see them in a Porsche, and this is how these car companies see it. They want customers to stick around, which is why they are selling watches to customers with their logo on it. Ferrari even has an online store and 30 retail stores all around the world.
Not only can this article be related to brand awareness and customer loyalty, but is also relevant for marketers in the sense of product differentiation and how to segment these companies’ markets through multiple products and multiple market segments. It’s obvious that we know each logo that represents the brand of a car, so when we see a shirt with those logos, it’s not any different; it’s still well-known. These car companies have realized that one size doesn’t really fit all, and they needed to change that. They know that everyone can’t afford a luxury car, so they broke down their segments into lower to average income customers and higher income customers. With these segmentations, they realized that they could generate sales by selling multiple products and by having multiple market segments.
For Ferrari, selling different types of products fits different customers’ needs. Of course they have cars for those who can afford them, but they also have toys and sneakers, which could reach all ages at a decent price. A child could play with Ferrari Legos, and as they grow older, continue to buy products such as clothing and watches, and then eventually move to the actual vehicle when they can afford it. All of these products are fitting the need for all different types of incomes, as well as fitting the need for different age groups. These car companies used behavioral and psychographic segmentations to fit the different lifestyles into their product lines, and changed their products to fit different customers’ needs. They know what each customer can afford and what they will be willing to buy.
From my point of view, this is a very effective way to reach the needs of several different customers. If luxury car companies only had cars to sell, they probably wouldn’t do very well. There are only a select few they would be able to target, because most people simply do not have enough money to splurge on an expensive vehicle. They figured this out and made a well-rounded product line that can attract all sorts of customers. I know plenty of people who dream of having a luxury car someday, but the key word is someday. These car companies would have to keep waiting and waiting around for all these people to come back, and that could be 20 to 60 years, if ever.
By selling watches and women’s jeans, these companies are only becoming closer with their customers and creating a relationship between their customers and their brand. These relationships could last forever, bringing more and more people back to their dealerships to buy a car (someday). Customers everywhere need this type of recognition from all companies, not just automakers.