How Harley Davison builds an experience that's scalable

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Seth Adler

Customer relationship management

Podcast interview with the VP and MD of the International Markets on the Harley Davidson experience beyond the machine.


Marc McAllister is the Vice President and Managing Director of the International Markets for Harley Davidson. In this week’s CX Network podcast with host Seth Adler, he shares that he’s responsible for a good portion of the globe.

McAllister also discussed that the company is reinventing itself while remaining true to its brand roots. He notes that Harley Davidson Motors Group was the original social network, so he sees his job as ensuring that all of the tools and social networks of today support the original brand vision and purpose.


“What we see from our customers – and the passion that we generate when experiencing the product – is not just the machine; it's about the freedom.”



1. The Harley Davidson experience

“What we see from our customers – and the passion that we generate when experiencing the product – is not just the machine. It's about the freedom, the expression of individualism through riding a motorcycle, riding a heavyweight motorcycle and riding a Harley-Davidson. Whenever we talk to our consumers about what's the value in the experience, it's that freedom. It's that emotional passionate response they have to being out and about on a motorcycle.

“Because in today's world, it's great to be on your smartphone but we all want to escape from it sometimes. That's something as an avenue that Harley-Davidson can deliver upon. We want to make sure that people get that experience and get the social aspects of that experience because it's not just an escape, it's an escape with your friends. There is more to it than just jumping on a bike.

“Now of course, there's plenty of us who enjoy actually getting away and riding on our own, but that engagement with other riders who share your passion, that just deepens the bond.”

2. The value of a bricks and mortar channel

“To be relevant, you need to be present. What we're working on is making sure that we have a brick and mortar channel that's represented to get our brand in front of people where they're shopping in these mall environments because it lowers the barrier to engaging with the brand. And you don't have to try and get them to go to to our dealerships. You're bringing the brand to them.”

3. A scalable experience

“Dealerships are the focal point of where we want people to experience the Harley-Davidson touchpoints, but you don't always have a dealership close to you. How do we build a platform or an experience that's scalable, that you can experience Harley-Davidson in your city, whatever it maybe?

“All across the world actually we run Dark Custom tours or demo tours, whatever you want to call them. Essentially it's a truck full of motorcycles and Harley-Davidson accessories and related products that shows up in your town and you can come down and test a Harley-Davidson and test the life and see if it actually fits. Whether you try on a leather jacket and it fits you or whether you try on a motorcycle and it fits you, you can experience Harley-Davidson. […]

“It's a stationary test but you can go through the gears and you can really see the smile come across their face like, ‘Oh, this is what it feels like’. That's the beginning of their journey. It's fantastic.”