- Feb 20, 2007
The Rolls Royce of marketing strategies
Most carmakers produce automobiles for a wide variety of customers and adjust their marketing strategies accordingly. While a Viper may be used to promote the brand, Dodge isn't trying to sell one to the same customer considering a Caliber, for instance. A handful, meanwhile, only market to the über-rich. Brands like Ferrari and Bentley may come to mind, but compared to the crème-de-la-crème marques like Bugatti and Rolls Royce, they're a dime a dozen.
Rolls Royce, as was recently revealed in the Los Angeles Times, only targets potential customers who have liquid assets in excess of $30 million. That segment wouldn't be considered a mass market, and so the way Rolls Royce sells a car is markedly different from how, say, Dodge would.
[Source: LA Times]
Until the launch of its upcoming second model, the Drophead Coupe, Rolls Royce only makes one model: the Phantom. They produce less than 800 of them every year, and prices start at a third of a million dollars, with the sky obligingly serving as the limit. (They recently sold a stretched Phantom Extended Wheelbase limousine to a customer in China for $2.2 million.)
To get to these customers – and to keep them – Rolls Royce employs a series of unique marketing approaches. (The LA Times report says that Rolls Royce doesn't engage in co-branding endeavors, but the recently-reported accord with Grey Goose vodka suggests otherwise.) Dealers are chosen based on their common interests with customers. Customers are invited to exclusive dinners where contacts are made and deals struck. Buyers receive surprises in the mail, like a personalized letter from the CEO or a coffee-table book about the brand. Anything to make the customers feel special, in the hopes that they will replace their Rolls Royce with another at the right time. And many do: in the US, nearly a third of business comes from repeat customers. That's a customer loyalty rate that doesn't come easy, but it helps when your direct competition is a yacht or private jet.