Harley-Davidson Opens the Throttle on Marketing, Increasing 2016 Budget by 65%

During a Q3 earnings call, Harley-Davidson CEO Matthew Levatich stated that the company would increase customer-facing marketing spend by approximately 65% next year. In addition to marketing, investments in product development will also increase next year. In total, Harley-Davidson plans to allocate approximately $70 million to drive demand in 2016. These investments will be focused in four areas: Product & brand awareness Growing new ridership in the US Increasing and enhancing brand access Accelerating growth for new products in the market. Levatich stated: “I want to be crystal clear. The path forward will play out over a number of years. This isn’t about improving results for a quarter or even a year. This is about where we want to be in three years, five years and even 10 years.” He explained that HD’s share of voice has never been as high as its share of market, but with the increase in competitors dollars, now is the time to increase SOV. Levatich’s remarks are an extension of what SVP and CFO John Olin said in the Q2 call. Media planning and buying moved earlier this year to Publicis’s Starcom, Chicago from the Detroit office. In 2010, HD parted ways with creative AOR Carmichael Lynch after three decades. In 2013, CMO Mark-Hans Richer spoke of “striking the phrase ‘agency of record’ from HD’s marketing vocabulary” – at least in the US. This means that HD may be open to pitches for specific projects over the next few years. Additional Insight National TV Spend: For FY 2014, Harley-Davidson spent $9.3 million on national TV ads – $7.2 million from Jan. to Oct., according to iSpot. So far this year, HD...
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