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Who at BMW Cooked Up This Disastrous eNewsletter?

I’m mystified at the June 2009 eNewsletter from Germain BMW of Naples

 How To Put the Brakes on Their Five Major Marketing Mistakes

If you were to imagine an eNewsletter from BMW, you would probably expect it to lead off with a picture something like the one to the right. 

As a BMW owner, you tend to be a certain kind of person.  The folks at BMW have understood your persona well over decades in the United States.  That’s why I’m mystified at the June 2009 eNewsletter from Germain BMW of Naples.

I love my BMW.  I think Germain BMW is a terrific dealership. But, I hate their eNewsletter. Why? Because it has almost nothing to do with the BMW brand promise: BMW—The Ultimate Driving Machine. In fact, the eNewsletter is so bad, I can only imagine it must be a stealth product of the federal government’s new car Czar organization.

BMW 7 series 2009Call me crazy but when I get an eNewsletter that has something to do with BMW, I expect that it would deliver on that ‘ultimate driving machine’ brand promise.  Instead here’s what the eNewsletter delivers by way of core content after stripping away the header and some dealer specific webpage links:

What hits you in the face like a big wet fish are a big bunch of misguided elements which are made even worse when you add items from their table of contents:

  • A giant RV–incase you’re tired of driving your BMW
  • A big picture of watermelons that relates to keeping cool in Florida but has no car connection
  • A treetop adventure story that doesn’t appear to involve any driving
  • A feature on adopt a cat month(my baseless hunch is that BMW owners are dog people)
  • More from the TOC
    • Lessons in longevity for the oldster demographic that BMW targets
    • Make your garden green–for the typical tree hugger BMW owner
    • A story on ice cream–who doesn’t associate BMWs and ice cream cones?

What was BMW thinking? Who were they targeting? What were they trying to accomplish? How could they go this far off track?  I don’t know. Perhaps, it will always remain a mystery.

bmw enewsletter cropped

Here’s what you can do to avoid the mistakes in this surprisingly bad eNewsletter.

Vital Content Marketing Lessons to Learn from BMW’s Five Major Missteps


  • Make sure that your regular communications with your target customers match your brand promise.  Don’t wander off the ranch like BMW did.
  • Make it clear to your target readers that you understand what is really important to them as it relates to the products and services you offer.
  • Don’t squeeze so much content into an eNewsletter that nobody is likely to find the time to read it.
  • If you feel that you want to combine both precisely targeted content with information that is less targeted, at least lead off with the stuff that aims directly at your ideal customers.
  • If you have a strong local presence, don’t let your parent organization overwhelm what could be great local content with unfocused generic junk.

Effective marketing can be challenging. But, you don’t have to be a marketing rocket scientist to see how BMW went so far wrong—and how to learn from their goofs.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Newt Barrett

Newt is a leading thinker on the new discipline of content marketing. He urges marketers to think like publishers by delivering essential, relevant, and timely information that makes customers smarter and wiser–and much more likely to become buyers. Newt is a successful publishing executive with more than 25 years of experience as both a manager and business owner. He has launched profitable publications in the high tech arena for both CMP and Ziff-Davis. He was an early player on the web in 1996 as Publishing Director of an early Yahoo competitor, NetGuideLive. As an entrepreneur, he launched Southwest Florida Business and BusinessNewsNow.com in the late nineties, later selling them to Gulfshore Media. His publication still thrives under its new name, Gulfshore Business. In addition to his sales and marketing skills, Newt is a published writer for Business Currents and Gulfshore Business magazines. He writes on topics as diverse as healthcare, education, public policy, growth, business best practices, and technology. He knows how to build great brands that serve client marketing needs. He is comfortable driving dramatic market-driven changes. Newt is recognized as a leader with the ability to move teams in new, unexplored directions. He is effective in high level sales and marketing conversations with senior executives in client organizations of all sizes. He delivers successful consulting engagements to improve products, people, and processes.