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BMW Supports Model Launch, Develops Prospects with Cloud-Based Social Marketing
When BMW Latin America had to promote the launch of two new model lines, it wanted to kick off an interactive marketing campaign through the Facebook social network that would support the launch and collect audience data. BMW used Windows Azure to support a solution that integrated the Facebook promotion with its internal Microsoft Dynamics CRM environment, engaged 90,000 consumers, and converted 900 campaign participants into sales prospects.
"By using Windows Azure to make audience data available in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, we enhanced the business continuity of our marketing campaign and developed more than 900 new sales prospects."
The BMW Group is a global leader in the automotive industry. It has built an international reputation for quality with its BMW, MINI, and Rolls-Royce brands, and the company sells more than 1.5 million automobiles and motorcycles a year. BMW operations in Latin America and the Caribbean are organized in 25 countries across the Western Hemisphere.
In 2011, BMW Latin America had to promote the launch of two new lines in the BMW 1 Series of automobiles, and it wanted to kick off a marketing campaign through the Facebook social network. Its target audience matched the profile of typical Facebook users, and the company recognized that a compelling campaign could reach many people very quickly. By using an interactive social media channel, BMW could also collect information about the campaign audience, such as age, gender, career, and education. “We wanted to build an innovative, interactive social media campaign that would promote the launch, drive interest in the product features, and collect audience data,” says Beata Bujalska, eMarketing Analyst at BMW Latin America.
BMW generally supports marketing initiatives with corporate resources, but it did not have a corporate program that took advantage of social networking for this model. To promote and support the new model launches on Facebook, BMW Latin America needed to quickly develop its own dynamic solution.
The company wanted to deliver content and collect user data through the Facebook interface but manage the solution through its own back-end interface, integrated with its in-house customer relationship management (CRM) system. It needed a solution that it could scale up and down easily to meet any demand, but that would not require a large IT investment. “It was only a three-month campaign, and our first campaign on Facebook for the region,” says Bujalska. “We did not know how big our audience would be.”
BMW wanted to build a solution using cloud computing resources delivered as services over the Internet. The company used a solution called the HG Social Marketing Accelerator, developed by the Huddle Group—a member of the Microsoft Partner Network—and built in Windows Azure, the Microsoft cloud services development, hosting, and management environment.
BMW worked with Huddle Group to launch an interactive promotion on Facebook in the last quarter of 2011. Consumers could visit the Facebook page—without having to sign in to Facebook—to evaluate different option packages for the new BMW 1 Series and complete a form to receive information, photos, and videos featuring the vehicles.
To present the promotion on Facebook but host and manage the content in the social marketing accelerator, BMW used web roles in Windows Azure to connect to Facebook and insert content—displayed in either Spanish or English—into the Facebook interface. The user data was stored in the Microsoft SQL Database and delivered through Windows Azure worker roles to the company’s on-premises Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 environment and its call center, where service and marketing staff verified the information and prequalified contacts.
BMW Latin America used Windows Azure to build a flexible solution that it could scale dynamically to engage 90,000 consumers in two months and convert 900 campaign participants into prequalified sales prospects. The company reached 10 markets in two languages, without making a large infrastructure investment or relying on corporate support.
While consumer participation in the campaign and computing demand on the solution varied from market to market, BMW could scale up its Windows Azure resources where and when it needed them. “With Windows Azure, we could give BMW the agility to assign resources dynamically, as and where consumer participation in their social marketing campaign grew,” says Fernando Perez, BMW Account Manager at Huddle Group.
In two months, more than 90,000 people participated in the Facebook promotion, and by connecting the user information to its internal CRM system, BMW converted more than 900 campaign participants into prequalified leads and legitimate sales prospects. “By using Windows Azure to make audience data available in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, we enhanced the business continuity of our marketing campaign and developed more than 900 new sales prospects,” says Bujalska.
Reach multiple markets
BMW ran the Facebook campaign in 10 markets, coordinated with local launch events, and successfully supported the launch of two new model lines throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. The company managed a single online promotion for Spanish-speaking markets in Latin America and English-speaking Caribbean markets, and it helped complete the marketing cycle by connecting its cloud-based social marketing campaign with its on-premises Microsoft Dynamics CRM environment.
Reduce infrastructure costs
BMW delivered the campaign through the popular Facebook interface while it kept costs down and maintained a high level of administrative control and autonomy. With the vast capacity in Windows Azure, BMW had the flexibility to enhance or shrink its processing resources without having to invest in excess capacity or pay for unused resources. “The Windows Azure subscription and pricing model is more flexible and costs BMW two-thirds less than traditional server hosting,” says Perez.
By using Windows Azure, BMW Latin America deployed a social marketing solution without having to rely on corporate support or make a large infrastructure investment. “We used Windows Azure to independently implement a dynamic and innovative marketing solution, without needing any resources from our corporate offices in Germany,” says Bujalska. “Instead of waiting half a year, we had a solution in two months.”