Harley-Davidson Partnered With OA Experiential for Data Collection to Improve Marketing


Harley Davidson Livewire 2018
Image from Harley Davidson

Note: A representative from Messh reached out to provide clarification. The following article has been adjusted for accuracy.

Searching Hard for That New Customer Base

Harley-Davidson and OA Experiential will work together to collect data on attendees at various events, Harley displays, and other venues to try to better understand the folks at those events and hopefully market more effectively to them. This is a smart move by the company—one that could pay off in the long run.

The better Harley understands the people’s interest in their motorcycles, the easier it will be for the company to sell to them and build bikes they actually want to ride. Instead of Harley building bikes that it thinks people want or just following conventions, it will have better data to use to make informed decisions. Just another way the company is modifying and building itself into a company ready for the modern world.

The Role That Meshh Plays

According to RideApart, a company called Meshh is connected with OA Experiential and will be the ones actually collecting the data. The data collection happens when a person visits an event, like say the X-Games. Meshh sets up sensors at events that will detect your phone and assign a unique identifier to it. That identifier address is used to determine things such as the following: engagement, total reach, dwell time, and frequency of visits.

RideApart reported that the company can tell what kind of phone you have and what carrier you use. Through your carrier, they can tell things like age and income. Meshh cross-references all data with other data bought from other companies.

However, a representative from Meshh reached out to us and said that reporting is not accurate. It is illegal to cross-reference that kind of data in most countries. Our contact at Meshh said they do not do that, “We deliberately don’t align data sets.” The data is anonymous and not invasive or personal. Harley isn’t after your personal info, just your habits around its events and displays.

8 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Michael Benis
    July 2, 2019
    Reply

    Once upon a time the Harley Directors actually went out on the road and met people…. This is nonsense: data masquerading as thought

  2. Wade Thiel
    July 2, 2019
    Reply

    I think the best option would be to do both. HD has to modernize and focusing on this kind of tech solution will help, but there’s no way you can replace face-to-face interaction.

  3. Avatar
    darren-p
    July 2, 2019
    Reply

    why is it so difficult to comprehend for HD ?

    just look at what the euro brands have been selling , maybe
    watch some social media and YouTube channels

    • Wade Thiel
      July 2, 2019
      Reply

      I would imagine that HD isn’t the only company out there utilizing this type of technology for marketing purposes.

      HD should be able to figure it out though. To most people, it’s pretty clear what HD needs to do, but I don’t think Harley wants to make any big mistakes moving forward. Sounds to me like they’re trying to take a data and evidence-based approach to the future.

      I think this is smart, but they can’t only rely on the technology and the data collected. They need to talk with potential buyers and current owners, too.

      • Avatar
        darren-p
        July 2, 2019
        Reply

        no doubt hd will be deploying the full range of data gathering.

        but they shouldn’t trust what people *say* they will buy

        when was the last time a big player went under ?
        think we’re overdue

        if it can happen to Nokia
        it can happen to Harley.

        • Wade Thiel
          July 2, 2019
          Reply

          Definitely not out of the range of possibility. The next couple of years will be interesting to watch.

  4. Avatar
    darren-p
    July 2, 2019
    Reply

    there is nothing at grass roots
    no mini Motocross bikes for proud fathers to buy their kids, Harley rely on gaining older customers from other brands .

    they show no interest in inspiring the next generation .
    token gestures of importing cheap Taiwanese BMX bikes and slapping a hd sticker on the cross bar doesn’t help …. (I don’t know if they do this , but it’s the kind of pathetic ploy I would expect from this brand)

    • Wade Thiel
      July 2, 2019
      Reply

      You’re spot on that they have been woefully lacking any offerings that would help bring in a significant amount of new riders, and they have made some seriously poor decisions to slap HD branding on just about anything, but I do see signs that the company is working to turn things around.

      The old guard at HD needs to let the newer folks take a swing and innovate, let them think novel thoughts and build unique bikes. This move with the data collection is a smart one, but it’s just one piece of a very big pie, and if the other areas are lacking it won’t have much of an impact on the bottom line or the future of HD.

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