Two Polaris Marketing Fails

Discussion in 'Indian Motorcycle General Discussion' started by mjw930, Aug 17, 2013.

  1. mjw930
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    mjw930 Active Member

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    Sometimes Polaris is its own worst enemy when it comes to marketing. Two simple things that I know for a fact the local Harley store would never miss seemed to elude both Polaris and the local dealer. 1. No static bikes on display. 50+ people milling around in an empty showroom and Indian can't think to put 3 static display bikes on the truck and have them inside the dealership while people are milling around waiting for a demo ride. 2. No advance advertising aside from an email which I have no idea who received. Nothing in the local paper or on the local classic rock station where every other motorcycle dealership in Daytona routinely advertises. Come on guys (and gals), get your act together.
  2. Andy
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    Andy Administrator Staff Member

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    But, did they have T-Shirts and Dew Rags for sale?
  3. zork52
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    zork52 New Member

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    The dealer here in Mass. DOES have3 bikes inside the dealership for display. WagnerMotorsports in Worcester, Mass.
  4. phoenix9
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    Honestly, I would put those on the local dealer. No reason why they could not have pulled 3 bikes (or at least one bike) to put on display.
    Don and I were talking a couple days ago and we both agreed that the one area where Polaris stepped on their #$*%@'s was by not having a fleet of bikes delivered to the local dealers on the Monday AFTER the reveal in Sturgis. Now THAT is one you can put on their shoulders as one ofthe top blunders of all time.
    Truly stupid.
  5. victoryismine
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    victoryismine New Member

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    I agree that it would be nice to have something to look at forprospective customers. That being said it is my understanding that a lot of the dealers shelled out a lot of money to bring the new Indians in to thier dealerships. It is also my understanding that most if not all dealers had recieved down payments before the reveal. Therefor If i was that dealer I would be more interested in filling the orders of customers that have already paid for a bike than having bikes on display. I agree that in this case Indian (Polaris) should have supplied the dealerships with display/demo purposed bikes not for sale. I think this would have been a tough call though. I have X number of customers waiting for a bike they have already paid for but they have to wait until all of the dealers get thier supply first. Might not make a good first impression.
  6. McKoi1
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    I was there yesterday (8/17). It was a good crowd, well run and the demo bikes went out about 5 min after they came in no real time to look at them throughly. Thankfully they had a chieftian in the showroom and a chief vintage outside under the tent. T salesman said that they were part of the demo fleet, so when the truck leaves today there will be nothing to look at. Their first shippment is due the first week of September
  7. dsjr70
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    dsjr70 Active Member

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    I was on their mailing list and recieved nothing about it, I did talk to Rob last weekend and he said the email went out to local Harley guys from some marketing agency.

    What really concerns me after reading your post yesterday you have a test ride scheduled, I wonder if I am even going to get to ride a bike this morning. You would think after being there last weekend and meeting with Enzo, Rob, Will and Eric and expressing my excitement to ride and probably purchase a Cheiftain they would have told me that I need to schedule the test ride?
  8. dsjr70
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    Apparel was slim last weekend although you could get a really good deal on Sucker Punch T-shirts :)
  9. keithgrey
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    keithgrey Well-Known Member

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    Couldn't agree more. Steve Jobs, brilliant marketing strategist that he was, sometimes did the same thing. Having the details of a new model months, or even weeks, before its release seems wrong to me. All that effort to raise the media buzz, the to let it die and give HD a shot at gaining the spotlight again just seems bad timing. Maybe it's a manufacturing process constraint, but it would seem that striking while the iron is hot would mean a fleet of Bikes at the dealers within three days of reveal. Not so much about sales, as riding the very expensive media swell you just developed to its conclusion. Kg
  10. mjw930
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    mjw930 Active Member

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    Perhaps you can put it on the dealer but I place the blame on Polaris. They have maybe 12 active dealers worldwide, that's 36 bikes. Ship one of each to every dealer the Monday After the reveal for static display, it's that simple. The idea that since these dealerships have deposits on the first batch so they don't need the display bikes is BS. None of these dealers or Indian for that matter can afford to squander the publicity the reveal generated but they did. Sure, they pushed out the demo fleet fast, I give them credit for that but they missed on such an obvious concept of having something for the customer to touch while the iron was hot. The initial frenzy will fade fast, what's left will be based on how they act NOW and honestly they are acting like amateurs IMHO. It almost makes you think the Sturgis deadline was premature, that they really aren't ready to launch the brand. As for the local promotion, I lay that squarely on the shoulders of the dealer. I know for a fact the Daytona dealer hasn't made a profit since they opened 2 years ago. It's not surprising considering their limited market. I also know the real owner (which isn't Enzo) has very deep pockets and is playing this as a long term investment. That still doesn't excuse not playing this event up in the local media and making sure they had static display bikes. This particular dealership has millions invested in this enterprise yet they let things that would cost them a few thousand slip away, it's mind boggling. One other thing that I noticed that many may consider petty but is a pet peeve of mine. Considering they only have 3 variants on 1 product there is no excuse for anyone wearing an Indian dealer shirt to not know as much or more about the product than ANY customer that walks in the door. While confirming my "reservation" for my rides today I noticed they were using 3 bike models in the notes section, Chief, Vintage and Classic. I asked the woman doing the checkin to confirm I was reserved for the Chieftain, not the Chief and all I heard was crickets, she had no idea what I was talking about then looked at the paper and said yes, you are reserved for the Chief. I corrected her at which point she became defensive and said she has no idea what I was talking about, she's only helping out for registration and doesn't know the bikes. That to me is inexcusable. Call me petty if you will but it would never happen in a dealership I owned.
  11. spider
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    spider OT-CAN

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    mjw930

    I understand your frustration buti'm pretty sure the folks at Sturgis who were wanting and waiting for a test ride were happy there were more than a handful of bikes to test ride.
    If instead of having130 or so Indians inrunning condition available for the masseshad Polaris only brought 30-40 motorcycles i'm confident the world would have been in an uproar.

    Ican only imaginehow big a job it must have been to produce the demo fleet " on time " and " road worthy " for Sturgis, so I believed Polaris made the right decision.

    The World was watching, I know I was.

    As far as the person at the Demo ride not knowing that falls directly on the Dealer, same **** at the Victory Demo's, ask a question and nobody know's is unacceptable to me either.
  12. TX2wheel
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    TX2wheel New Member

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    Looking,,,

    Will 'Project Rushmore' be of the same scale as Indians debut? Almost 100% certain it won't be. If it isn't, then no need to compare. If it ~is~, we'll see how another MFG does it.
  13. Andy
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    Okay, I'll jump on in this one, although this might be the first time I've debated numbers with The VOG's Voice Of Reason!

    In terms of available inventory, I've heard two round numbers. The first wass from Scott Wine when he stated on (I think it was) CNBC that Indian had already produced 300 bikes. This was prior to the unveiling and his statement was not model-specific, I'll guess it was to show the financial world they can make these new bikes and were already in production.

    The other number I've heard is that there were approximately 100 demo Indian bikes at Sturgis. (Not a scientific number).

    Combined, these numbers could make sense as the 200 bike difference could be the ones that were being prepped for shipment to dealerships to be sold as New Bikes. Allow me to add, the number I've heard is that the initial shipment to dealers would only be seven bikes per dealership...that's 105 bikes and that does give them a pad to give some Dealers with more pre-orders additional bikes as well as to have some ready to ship when new Dealers sign the franchise agreement. I've heard the dealer in Lincoln, NE has approximately 40 pre-orders.

    In terms of units that would be used for dealer display, I'll take a wild guess and say that Polaris will expect the Dealer to pay for them and they need to be as close to perfect as possible. Even if they were Factory Loaners and did not require the Dealer to purchase them, if the models sent for Dealer Display were used at Sturgis for demo, can you imagine the hoopla by potential buyers if the model they saw on a pedestal and under spotlights at a Dealer's showroom had a scratch or two or showed any type of wear and tear? It could open a can of worms about paint or manufacturing quality...or wear items such as the seat and tires could show some age that, in this day and age of Social Media will most likely spread like wildfire. Yes, using models that may have picked up a blemish or two during Sturgis for the rotating truck-demo bikes is acceptable. Having those same units on a Dealer Display could open the Factory to criticism.

    Now, based on converting the 100 Sturgis units in the Demo Fleet, let's do some math. With approximately 15 Indian Dealerships at the time of the unveiling, if each Dealership received one of each model for display and for test ride purposes, that's 45 bikes out of worldwide distribution and for usage on the demo trucks. While I have no idea of how many trucks are being used for the Indian traveling demo tour and I'll take a wild guess that it may have been frugal for the factory to re-paint some of the existing Victory trucks with the Indian graphics to take advantage of the inital enthusiasm for the new Indians. For discussion purposes, let's say there are six trucks currently transporting demo bikes to Indian Dealers. With each truck carrying an absolute minimum of nine bikes (three of each model) and knowing there are approximately 15 Indian Dealers at the time of the launch, that's 54 bikes.

    Let's add to that number bikes to be loaned to the Press as demo bikes for future testings and let's say that only ten batches of demos (10 x 3 = 30) made available for that purpose, the total rises.

    So the count so far is 45 + 54 + 30 = 129 bikes. We've already surpassed the "assumed" number of 100 demo bikes avaialble for the USA demos and that doesn't account for the dealerships outside of the USA...and we all are under the impression this is a Worldwide launch. Add to that formula that this leaves no room to pull out any bike that may be experiencing problems (or ones that may have been accidentally damaged) that require them to go back to the factory for evaluation or repair.

    Now, let's add to the equation that the Factory is agressively looking for new Dealers and they will most likely need "samples" to show potential new Dealer before they write that big check and sign on the dotted line. There's also regional events such as The AVR and others events around the world that's to the Factory's benefit to have demos available to showcase it's new brand.

    So, using this Andy-Math, just how many demo/sample/showcase bikes would the factory have had to produce in advance to be able to have the demo trucks stocked with the new models and for other uses described in this long-winded post? We also need to understand that time if of the essence as sadly, the riding season ends in a few months for much of the USA. I'll guess that the dealer showcase models could appear after the initial rush of riders wanting to be the first on the block with a new model bike, but again, the cost of the bikes will be placed on the Dealer and if there's back orders, if you owned the Dealer, would you showcase the bikes or sell them to waiting customers?

    Making it even more complicated, since it's "rumored" the existing Dealerships will receiving seven bikes for the initial shipments, if you were an Indian Dealer who hasn't achieved any notable sales over the past few years, would you be willing to hold three bikes back for showroom purposes, or would you rather sell them and get the much needed cash flow to do something like...Paying The Bills?

    Just some food for thought. Allow me to add that if my math is NOT incorrect (I'm just guessing here), I'll stand corrected as I'm not an expert in the field of motorcycle distribution. As always, I just ask the questions and will let you provide the possibilities and fill in the blanks.
  14. Bigfoot
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    Bigfoot Well-Known Member

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    BINGO

    I think they knew all about the reveal of the Mt. Rushmore Harleys and wanted to steal the thunder away from Harley, even if just for a moment.
  15. ajax
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    I couldn't agree more, Mark. I've emailed them, and have called and personally talked to them, to voiced my opinion at how bad their marketing was? I voiced my concern at how they let just any "Penny Ante" dealership represent their brand? I explained how the local dealership here, after selling Victory for 4 1/2 months (at the time) was going to have to order me a oil change kit. How they yet failed to put up signage, and mainly, their lack of homework on this dealership's already horrible reputation?! I explained that it just seemed that they could care less about their name and reputation, and that showed by their dealer representation. I asked how they felt that the "Demo Tour" could reach more potential customers than them attending the bike shows? Where Victory was the only brand not in attendance?? I also told him that IMO, before they spent another dime developing another bike, they should completely revamp their entire marketing department, and start from scratch. Because IMO, and I'm sure a lot of others, what they are doing isn't working? He was very polite, and listened to my concerns. Although I'm sure it went in one ear and out the other? If they read these forums the way folks say that they do? And if they see their customers concerns and yet they continue to stay in the same rut? Well, it's obvious they could care less what their customers think?
  16. phoenix9
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    phoenix9 Active Member

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    Andy, I don't know the exact numbers, but these are the numbers that would make me irate as an investor. As I walked in to two completely empty showrooms in the past week I was met both times by a sales person who immediately ask "Are you here for the Indians?" I smiled and said I was...and they said they "should have some in soon."
    I specifically asked the sales person at one dealer why they just knew I was there to see the Indians and not a Victory. That person said that they were getting a dozen people a day coming in for the same reason.
    Now.....let's do that math
    12 people (average)....over the course of a week....and these are NOT the folks who pre-ordered. They are future potential customers. Lets say 10 per day times 15 dealers times just 6 selling days = 900 opportunities to close ADDITIONAL sales.
    Now, how much longer before they get their bikes to show customers? I've said it before, this is an "emotional sale". Hard to invoke that emotion with no bikes.
    If I was a dealer I would be irate. If I was an investor I would be irate. If I was a customer I could just possibly not buy....
    To me, the Sturgis bikes were the single most important location for bikes, but after that, how could you possibly not have them on dealer showroom floors?.....even if it was just one bike. Polaris mandated everything to the dealers right down the the floor space and how the showrooms looked. You would think someone would have thought about mandating something like....well......maybe a bike? :)
  17. Andy
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    Could it be that Polaris is attempting to follow Harley-Davidson's steps of the early to mid 1990s and have the demand dwarf the supply in order to maintain a price point? Let's face it, when something is difficult to obtain, there's most likely only a few who will attempt to negotiate a lower price. On the other hand, let's hope that the majority of dealers don't try to increase the prices over MSRP as once the pipeline is filled, those dealerships will have a more difficult time earning our business.

    But, I'll agree that should be something for potential buyers to drool over, resting on a well lit pedestal located in the prime location of the dealership's showroom.
  18. carl_i
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    Polaris Industries closed Friday at $113.61. I bought it at $87 and change. As an investor, I'm quite pleased with their decision making. AND I plan to continue to hold. I also think it may not be a bad buy now. Just my 2 cents.
  19. Bigfoot
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    I've been around auto manufacturing for most of my life and can assure everyone that the Victory/Indian small assembly plant (Which I've toured as a VIP which granted me more access to more parts of the plant) will NOT be able to keep up with the orders for a long time.
    They could decide to run the assembly line 3 shifts a day and also on weekends, but their tooling will be neglected and their quality will suffer.

    All you need to know is "Line speed" and then subtract 5-10% for breakdowns in tooling or quality concern stoppages.
    Almost all Ford assembly plants build at least one vehicle per minute.
    Back when the T-Bird was selling like hotcakes, the line speed was around 100 per hour.

    Just observing the line speed at the plant when I was there, I'd guess that they produce a finished product every 8-10 minutes.

    Anyone who is doing a tour at the AVR right now can figure out the line speed when they get to the Dyno testing area.
    Simply time how long it takes for one bike to go through the testing, and then wait until the next bike starts its testing.
    Divide that number into 60 to find out the line speed.
    When I was there, only one Dyno testing machine was visible.

    You could put 10 or more Victory/Indian assembly plants inside just one Ford Motor Company assembly plant.
    Every auto assembly plant that I know of has 3-5 thousand employees, and most of the work is done by robots and automation these days.

    I do expect it to be much harder to get Victory's in the future than it is now, and I don't expect there to be many left over from previous model years to be sold at discounts.
    Rather than make "extra" Victory's, Polaris will make Indians because there won't be ANY extra Indians.

    If you want a great deal on a Victory, buy it now.
    If you want an Indian at it's cheapest price you'll ever see in your lifetime, buy it now.

    [​IMG]
  20. Ajae
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    As a business major and soon to be business owner, it's all about pushing your new product. Right now for Polaris it's their Indian brand, they are using the same team for Indian as they used for Victory. One of the reasons is to save money, another is that they did such a great job with the Victory brand, turned a profit in about 4 years! Which is unheard of in any automotive market. It's great to feel passionate about what bike you ride and you want to see other Victory's out there but I think they are doing a great job. I just stopped by my dealer the other yesterday and they had victory gear on display, when I went to go grab a helmet all I saw was empty boxes. All was left was t shirts in small sizes, and one woman's helmet.The 3 highballs that where in the store where gone so where 5 other victory bikes that they had. Part of it may be because of the red tag event, but hey that's marketing. Saving $1500-2000 on a bike that someone couldn't afford last August and can get a Victory now instead of settling for a foreign bike or used 5-10 year old year old Harley is a win for Vic. It's business these Indian bikes are selling for 19K plus Polaris needs to sell as many bikes to make profit. They are doing a great job. Just be patient. Cheers.

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