Route 66 Harley Davidson Used Mobile Marketing To Increase Dealership Traffic

5 Min Read. |

downloadAbout Harley Davidson:

Harley Davidson is over a century old American motorcycle manufacturer based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was founded in the early 20th century by two friends William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson. This famous motorcycle company manufactures traditional cruiser motorcycles utilizing air-cooled V Twin engines.

Both of them designed a small engine to be used on pedal bicycle. Later, Arthur’s elder brother, Walter Davidson helped them out to come out with a motor bicycle. But this motor cycle could not go uphill without pedaling. Hence, they had to discard this motor bicycle and design a more powerful engine.

Thus came into the world, the first “ real” Harley-Davidson motorcycle. It had a bigger and better engine than the previous motorcycle with a loop frame design.  The bigger engine was 24.74 cubic inches ( 405cc) with 9.75 inches flywheels weighing 28 lb ( 13 kg). Production of this design began in the Davidson backyard shed.

In 1906, the Harley and Davidson brothers started their first manufacturing plant on Chestnut Street which is currently Harley Davidson’s corporate headquarters. It was a humble beginning, a  single storey wooden structure managing to produce only 50 motorcycles. However, in the consecutive year, Harley graduated with a mechanical degree and further expanded the plant resulting in increase in production of 150 motorcycles per year. Police department was one of their first customers and continue to remain till date.

In 1907, Harley Davidson was incorporated and by the end of the decade they were manufacturing bikes using the 45 degrees air cooled V twin engines. In the both World War I and World War II, American military used Harley Davidson bikes

In the 60’s, Harley Davidson went public and merged with American Machine and Foundry (AMF) in 1969. However, this partnership did not last long.In the 80’s ,the AMF sold its share back to the original owners, which were the founding family members due to decline in profits. Till today, the enterprise is managed by the family.

In the 80’s and 90’s, Harley Davidson added new models to its kitty. These models are still part of its product mix. With changing times, Harley Davidson has ventured into more performance oriented bikes like the V-Rod to cater to the young generation.

It has been the vision of its founders to fulfill the dreams and provide an exceptional customer service to its customers. Keeping this vision in mind,  Harley – Davidson has been innovating its products  and creating a strong supplier and dealer network.


Motorcycle touring company Route 66 Harley Davidson wanted to promote brand loyalty and increase sales. They wanted to maintain visibility with current customers and increase revenue by targeting new customers in the holiday season. Since holidays are times when customers are looking out for exceptional deals, they felt the need to tap the potential of this time.

Company Strategy:

Just 12 days before Christmas in 2011, Route 66 Harley Davidson, decided to come up with a social media campaign that with an eye on the growing population of consumers using mobile phone technology.  The local Oklahama , Route 66 Harley Davidson dealership, kickstarted a” 12 days of Christmas SMS Campaign”  for their followers and existing customer base. They created a ‘mobile club’  to promote its discounts and increase brand loyalty. Route 66 designed a Call-To-Action (CTA) which prompted users both in-store and online to text RT66 to a designated number. Upon doing the needful, customers would receive 12 days of discounts , wherein customers received 20% off on different items available in the store each day. This increased customer awareness of the merchandise inventory and drew more customers into the store during a time of the year when sales are typically slower.

Since customers tend to forget that there is more to Harley Davidson other than just the motorcycles. So it was all the more viable to remind them via a social media campaign and holidays seem to be the best time for this.

As a result, sales of the merchandise available in the store sky-rocketed. On a day which was designated for T-shirt sale, sales saw almost 250% increase than a normal day.  Similarly, on Helmet Day, one day sale was more than an entire week’s sale.  The dealership footfall also saw an upsurge and a whole lot of new customers visited the store which could be future potential customers.


The use of mobile marketing by Harley Davidson was truly impressive. The sales of specific items which were discounted during the campaign period saw a significant increase as compared to normal business days. Even merchandise which was expensive had an increase in sales. 250% more T-shirts got sold on T-shirt day than a normal day.On Leather Jacket Day, seven leather jackets were sold at the 20% discount, representing a 16% increase over jacket sales the previous week. These numbers also represented an increase in dealership traffic.


The few take aways from the mobile marketing techniques used by Route 66 are as follows :

Use of Call-To-Action ( CTA)

It is foolish to expect the customers to take the next step, instead we need to help them out. So Call-To-Action ( CTA) comes handy. Campaign’s, emails, posts, SMS’s which have a CTA endup in more enagement from the customer as compared to a regular message. Route 66’s CTA encouraged customers to opt-in for the discounts which acted as an incentive.

Simple and Crisp SMS

Keeping the SMS simple and to the point is an added incentive. No one likes to go through a lengthy and complicated process. Route 66 SMS campaign  would not have been successful, had the customers been prompted to go online, fill up a form, take a survey , print coupons and then walk-in into the store for redemption.  Route 66 engaged the customers through the Social media and kept the campaign simple with easy to follow instructions.

Create Awareness about campaign

Route 66 created awareness about the campaign by continuously promoting it for the twelve days till Christmas. The campaign ran from December 12 to 24.The customers could opt-in anytime. Since it was a long duration campaign, people did not miss out and took advantage of the deals available.

Images Courtesy: Route 66 Harley Davidson

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1 Comment

  1. Shital Kalamkar

    Interesting case study!!! Harley Davidson is the big brand. But still they have to change their marketing tactics along with the time. Company whether it is big or small have to change with current marketing trends. Harley Davidson switched to mobile marketing campaign to boost up sales. In a just 12 days they amplified their sale.


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