Interesting article about BMW and the realisation that they need to own the customer experience from beginning to end. Let's park (pun intended) the fact they have a dealer network and what will happen to the dealers. Let's think about the business strategy.
From the moment that somebody thinks about buying a BMW, they will research articles, ask questions on the web, talk to friends, colleagues and influencers. This will mean they are leaving digital footprints.
All of this would be useful for the salesperson to understand. My colleague, Alex Low tells the story of how he was 90% of the way through the buying process to buy a new VW Golf. He had been on-line, configured the model. Agreed this with his wife and all he needed to talk to the salesperson at VW, was to agree a part exchange (part x) for the old Golf. But the VW salesperson assumed Alex was at 0% of the way through the buying process. Alex walked out. But wouldn't it have been great if the salesperson had known about Alex's buying process so far.
Then add to that the great community value that people could have tweeting and posting about there cars.
One a sales has been completed, you are then in after sale mode. I'm very lucky that I've been a BMW owner and as I drive a Mini, I still am. Myself as are many of us, would be great to be part of a community that would help BMW make better and better cars. I follow a load of BMW Facebook pages, the ones that share interesting stuff and not the ones that keep trying to sell me stuff.
There is then all the servicing and after sales care that BMW or it's dealers provide. Mainly, through the telephone.
But there is one process that unites all those processes from "idea" to buying another car. That's social media. Marketing, sales, customer service, spares the whole process is underpinned by social.
The great thing about social is that is't the people's choice. We are all on social, and we all wanted to be contacted on social as humans by their very nature are social animals and social offers an easy (friction less) way of communication.
While BMW is B2C this parallels B2B and you company will have similar issues, it's just that social is still treated across the business in siloes and the time is now right to treat it as a strategy.
For BMW, the answer is a renewed focus on technology and the in-car experience it enables, without forgetting its heritage in performance cars. To discuss the state of the company’s transformation, not just in terms of its cars but also its business model, I sat down with BMW’s outspoken VP of Digital Products and Services Dieter May shortly after the company unveiled the latest version of its in-car operating system. “We build digital products and services that are meant to help us differentiate our core product, the car and generate revenue,” May said. “But these digital services also provide us with channels and touch points that allow us to now have a direct relationship with the customer on the sales side and talk to the customer directly.”