The inspiration platform 'She’s Mercedes', which is starting in parallel with the International Motor Show in Frankfurt (IAA), is at the heart of the new, holistic initiative. With innovative event and information offers, Mercedes-Benz wants to enter a more intensive dialogue with women and significantly increase the brand's attractiveness for this target group. At the same time Mercedes-Benz is complementing the sector's conventional vehicle configurator and in Frankfurt it will be the first automotive manufacturer to unveil the prototype of a lifestyle configurator. Instead of the model series, engine and equipment, the customer selects their individual lifeworld – from home furnishing through travel and music to sport. To match this lifestyle the configurator suggests several Mercedes-Benz vehicles including equipment. The lifestyle configurator will go online at the end of this year.
With the sales and marketing strategy 'Best Customer Experience', which is part of the growth strategy 'Mercedes-Benz 2020', the premium brand has been charting new territory in addressing customers since 2013. The focus is on people, their lifestyle and their requirements. The best example of this is Mercedes me – the comprehensive personalised access to the world of Mercedes-Benz. 'We want
to delight people in their lifeworld with tailor-made offers. With our initiative 'Best Customer Experience', we are optimally equipped to do this. Now, with 'She’s Mercedes' we are extending the customer-oriented service offering from Mercedes-Benz for women in particular. We want to enter into a more intensive dialogue with women, in order to respond in a more targeted manner to their requirements, to offer them an even more impressive brand experience and to shape the future of mobility together with them', says Dr Jens Thiemer, Head of Marketing Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars. 'At the same time, with the lifestyle configurator we are making the selection and configuration of the perfect vehicle easier, quicker and more personal. By using it, in next to no time everyone can find their individual Mercedes-Benz – without having to think about the model series, engine or individual items of equipment from the start'.
Holistic initiative for women: She’s Mercedes
'She’s Mercedes' is the heart of a holistic initiative with which Mercedes-Benz will be addressing women in a more targeted way in future as part of its 'Best Customer Experience' strategy. The aim is to establish the brand with the star as the most attractive luxury automotive brand for women and to significantly increase the proportion of female customers by 2020. According to various studies women are the world's fastest growing and most influential consumer group today. For example, in the USA they influence 80 percent of all purchasing decisions. In the automotive sector, too, according to information from the American Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, they are out in front. For example, 60 percent of the new cars in the USA are bought by women. In Germany the proportion of women among new car buyers is 32.2 percent. In the USA it is even the case that more women than men hold a driving licence. According to a Boston Consulting Group (BCG) study, though, they have other purchasing preferences: for instance, women place a great deal of importance on products and services which save them time. They prefer brands which address their particular requirements and enrich their life in an emotively appealing way. And for this they are also prepared to spend more money than men. More than 80 percent of all global luxury spending is influenced by women, says BCG.
'Women play a significant role in the globally expanding automotive market. In future we want to win them over for our brand to an even greater extent than before – with tailor-made measures, developed especially for women', remarks Thiemer. This sees Mercedes-Benz responding in a holistic manner to the wishes and requirements of women – from sales through communications to after-sales. As well as the new 'She's Mercedes' inspiration platform, the initiative on addressing women in a targeted way comprises elements such as training of sales employees, more female sales staff plus the development of new after-sales services and new mobility services.
At the heart of 'She's Mercedes' is dialogue. It is an inspiration platform for both parties. Mercedes-Benz is establishing a network in which successful women can exchange opinions, develop new ideas and make new contacts. At the same time Mercedes-Benz is presenting the world of the brand with the star to them and becoming better acquainted with their requirements and wishes concerning all aspects of mobility. Networking dinners and further exclusive event formats are being established to this end.
Over and above this, in mid-September 2015 the new 'She's Mercedes' website is being launched at www.mercedes.me/she. It offers interesting information, emotively appealing reports and exciting portraits of strong women plus details and dates of the planned events. In terms of content the website is closely intertwined with the new 'She's Mercedes' magazine, which will be launched on 18 September. Here, too, the focus will be on the themes of business, lifestyle, work/life balance, products, design and fashion. First and foremost the magazine will present interesting, mainly female, personalities and their stories. The spectrum ranges from entrepreneurs through sportswomen, actresses and singers to designers and bloggers. In the first issue, for example, the Chinese businesswoman Yang Hui tells how she founded a media start-up in Shanghai, and the Australian Melita Hunter recalls how she changed her life and opened a luxury resort in Cambodia. Lots of reports and topics in the magazine will be extended to include further information, links and videos on the website. The initial print run of the 'She's Mercedes' magazine will comprise 300,000 copies and will be sent to female customers and female prospects as well as being sold together with the fashion magazine Vogue.
The Mercedes-Benz lifestyle configurator: finding the perfect vehicle via the customer's personal lifeworld
In parallel with 'She's Mercedes', Mercedes-Benz has developed a completely new vehicle configurator model. The aim is to make it as easy as possible for customers to select and configure their car of choice. Today the premium brand offers a car to suit virtually every taste and need. In the last 20 years the number of model series has grown from eight to 20. Plus there are numerous body variants per model series. There has also been a huge increase in the choice of engines, equipment packages and optional extras. The A-Class, for example, is available with 17 different engines and 13 equipment packages. There are now 140 different optional extras available for the S-Class. With the traditional vehicle configurator, putting together a vehicle from this extensive offering takes a lot of time and to a certain extent also some technical knowledge.
The new lifestyle configurator, whose development was closely linked with “She’s Mercedes”, automatically generates suggestions of individually configured cars – according to the principle 'Show me how you live and I'll show you the ideal mobile partner'. The customer creates a personal profile of their lifeworld. In an illustrative and playful way they are led through various areas of life such as architecture, music, literature, travel, sport, living, food and drink. In each section they answer a question about their personal taste. For example 'Which style of architecture appeals to you?', 'What sport are you interested in?' or 'How would you describe the interior style of your home?' To answer, they simply and intuitively click on an appropriate image. An algorithm then calculates which vehicle models and equipment suit this lifeworld and suggests five different vehicles. The calculation also includes whether the customer is using the lifestyle configurator via a mobile or stationary device. For each suggested vehicle model an individual code is also generated, and if they wish the customer can use this to change or further refine details in the conventional vehicle configurator.
The lifestyle configurator will go online at the end of this year in Germany. At the start of 2016 it will be successively offered globally on the national Mercedes-Benz websites as an alternative to the classic vehicle configurator.