In an increasingly crowded marketplace, getting riders to remain loyal to your brand is a challenge all manufacturers are now finding themselves negotiating.
While some brands offer t-shirts, discounts on insurance or dress up kits at the point of purchase to build a relationship with their customers, Yamaha Motor New Zealand has taken a different approach -- and it involves free fish and chips and a beachside reserve.
Yamaha are no strangers to brand outreach; they have successfully built up a following of loyal customers with their bLU cRU Racing initiative, backed by a range of bikes - particularly in the dirt sector - suitable for those from small children to competitive motocross machines and a range of rider-friendly exclusives to bring added value to the Yamaha purchase.
When it comes to the road market, Yamaha has a range of bikes to cover all aspects of motorcycling, but are only now starting to leverage that market spread with rider-only exclusives such as the first ever Yamaha MT Ride Event held recently in Auckland.
“The MT are a very popular range and it was a way that we knew we could engage with customers and particularly the wide demographic from young guys to older riders, and that was exactly the blend we got,” says Yamaha Motor NZ national manager, Alan Petrie.
“We want to engage our broader Yamaha Family because motorcycling is a passion and something we all share. We had a good number of enquiries when we posted this event on Facebook from riders riding R series bikes or our adventure range going ‘hey, what about us?’ and of course we acknowledge that, so this is the first of many such initiatives for Yamaha.”
MT09 rider, Alton Rodgers, rode from Hamilton to attend the event.
“I wanted to come and get together with a bunch of other MT riders and see what was going on, he said. “I got hooked on the bikes after I swung a leg over the 900 with its triple motor and I was hooked. It doesn’t matter what you do, where you are and what you’re up to, that monster torque (what the MT stands for) is there when you’re ready for it.”
The event, which was held over Labour Weekend, invited owners of Yamaha’s MT range of road bikes to meet at Te Puru Park near Maraetai before heading out on a pre-prepared ride along some of the best roads South Auckland has to offer.
With uncharacteristically good Labour Weekend weather, 65 riders of Yamaha’s MT range of bikes, rode up to the beachside reserve to get in on what Yamaha referred to as “the Yamaha Family” action. After an hour and fifteen-minute long scenic ride around South Auckland led by Yamaha affiliates, Pro Rider Motorcycle Training, the pack of riders returned to Te Puru Park for free fish and chips put on by Yamaha, plus a prize-giving ceremony where exclusive prizes were given away to those in attendance.
With the MT day a resounding success, Yamaha are setting their sights southward to the annual Burt Munro Challenge, with plans in the works for a large ride from Auckland to the event in Invercargill.
“Our goal is to get 100 riders to go down to the Burt,” Petrie says. “I think we can do it. All they need is an opportunity to join and give them enough time to register and we’ll put the event together for them.”
“We believe we don’t exist without our customers and we need to acknowledge that, but also share with them what’s fantastic about motorcycling. These people ride these bikes because they’re passionate, they want to enjoy them, and this is a lifestyle choice to them.”