Bobcat Strategic and Business Profile

Part
01
of seven
Part
01

Bobcat Marketing Strategy

Through its messaging, Bobcat shows that they offer durable, affordable products for tough jobs. They skillfully use different digital marketing channels, such as search engine marketing, social media, and email marketing. Additionally, they differentiate themselves by customizing their marketing materials.

Bobcat's marketing strategy

  • The company comes up with a marketing strategy once a year.
  • Executing the strategy is a team effort, which combines internal marketing team and partner agencies.

Brand positioning against competitors

  • Bobcat operates in a highly competitive industry, with players like Wagner Equipment, Titan Machinery, and JCB. Being aware of that, the company spends twice or three times as much on paid advertising, with a budget of $13,500 that translates into 9,400 paid clicks.
  • Additionally, Bobcat targets their main competitors with keywords. With this strategy, they are able to appear higher in search results, even if a user is looking for a product by JCB or Caterpillar.
  • With a skillful choice of keywords, they are able to achieve more clicks with the same spending, compared to their competitors.

Messaging

  • In terms of messaging, the company wants to come across as tough and reliable, which makes them the most suitable for the hardest tasks. They use phrases like "engineered to withstand your tough jobs" and "tackle your toughest projects."
  • Bobcat makes good use of video. In their well-received series "Bobcat Advantage," they show that they are not afraid of being compared to their competitors and that their equipment can withstand the hardest tests.
  • Additionally, they emphasize the affordability of their products.
  • They are also careful with the wording of their call-to-actions, always approaching them creatively. Their CTAs are meant to show the customer that the product and the special offer are valuable and time-sensitive.
  • Through their content, Bobcat wants to share the message of empowerment, publishing success stories of other entrepreneurs. This also allows them to benefit from user-generated content.

Facebook and email marketing strategy

  • On Facebook, Bobcat is mixing ads that promote products and training courses with those that build the community.
  • The last strategy gives added value to customers, who want to be part of something bigger, and increases trust in the brand.
  • It is also used in their email marketing. In Bobcat's newsletters, recipients are treated like insiders.

Customization

  • One of the biggest differentiators for Bobcat is the tool on their website that allows customers to virtually customize the product and find out its price.
  • Also, the company sends customers brochures tailored to their interests. They can be sent out in different forms, either via physical mail or via email.

Tools and channels used

  • Bobcat uses the following social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, and blog.
  • They also put a big emphasis on search engine marketing and optimization.
  • Additionally, the company uses Wordpress for content management, Pardot for email marketing, Google Analytics and Pardot for tracking, and Amazon Web Hosting for hosting.
  • They publish the WorkSaver magazine, which provides information on new releases, as well as tips and best practices for using their other products.


Research strategy

We started our research into Bobcat's marketing strategy over the past two years and their future plans for it by looking into investor materials by Doosan Bobcat. We assumed that any major strategic plans, including those related to advertising, would be included in annual reports, investor presentations, or press releases. However, the marketing-related information that we discovered was mainly focused on Doosan's branding, with little mention of Bobcat. We also scoured through the website of the Bobcat brand. However, while we found a lot of marketing-focused articles, they were directed at customers who run their businesses and use Bobcat's equipment.

Next, we moved to advertising sources, hoping that they would publish a case study or an article about the company's marketing strategy or parts of it. At first, we looked through advertising media sites, such as AdAge or Adweek. However, we found no mentions of Bobcat. Therefore, we decided to search for case studies by advertising and branding agencies. There, on the website of a creative agency Vital Design, we discovered the most helpful source, a comprehensive overview of Bobcat's digital marketing strategy. Unfortunately, the source doesn't state for how long that strategy has been used and what are the plans for the future. Still, it's the most thorough and relevant article we came across.

Finally, we decided to look for insights on Bobcat's marketing strategy in job advertisements for marketing managers, as well as LinkedIn profiles, job descriptions, and articles by people who are responsible for the company's marketing. We hoped that those sources would reveal elements of Bobcat's current strategy and future plans, and help us create a thorough overview. We found one job advertisement from five months ago, which provided us with some valuable information. Also, we discovered that Laura Ness Owens is responsible for the company's marketing and branding strategy. However, there were no job descriptions or articles by her that would reveal details about Bobcat's strategy.

Part
02
of seven
Part
02

Bobcat Successes

Some of Bobcat's recent successes in the US include its headquarters expansion, the launch of its E26 and E85 excavators, and the new training facility it just opened.

Bobcat Completes Headquarters Expansion

  • In 2017, Bobcat North America announced that it completed its headquarters expansion in West Fargo, North Dakota.
  • The expansion was initially announced in 2015. The company mentioned that this expansion to the existing facility -which was built in 2000 - was done to improve operations, accommodate growth and cultivate innovation.
  • Although the expansion was expected to be done by 2016, it was completed in late 2017.
  • The expansion cost $9.5 million, and doubled the employee capacity and square footage of the existing facility.
  • Bobcat considers this expansion a success because it "is part of an overall organizational dedication to maintain the company’s global leadership in compact equipment and drive further business growth for the construction equipment brand, defend and strengthen core product offerings, and invest in fundamental competitiveness."
  • According to the company, the expansion also ties in with its commitment to science, technology, engineering, and math fields, a major initiative that Bobcat and the state of North Dakota are working towards.

Bobcat Introduces E85 Excavator

  • In February 2018, Bobcat introduced a new excavator model called E85.
  • This model is an expansion of its R-Series excavator lineup - a collection it introduced in 2017.
  • At 8.5 tons, E85 is the largest machine in Bobcat's compact excavator collection.
  • The company considers this a success because it is also the "fastest-growing-size class of compact excavators in North America."
  • The 66-horsepower product has 13 inches of tail overhang. This means it can be used in compact environments such as agriculture, construction, rental, landscaping, and utilities. It was created with operator comfort and protection in mind.
  • E85 also has more floor space than others of its kind. Its cab and seat are wider, thus providing more elbow room.
  • The machine has optimal automatic air-conditioning and heating systems, including an optional heated seat.

Bobcat Opens New Training Facility

  • In September 2019, Bobcat announced the launch of an advanced training facility in Aurora, Colorado.
  • The new center is focused on developing and training world-class Bobcat dealers.
  • Standing at 44,000 square feet, the facility's sole focus is training. The center features a large classroom-style auditorium, technical training rooms, and a full warehouse area, among others.
  • Bobcat considers this a success because it has since needed additional training capacity. It also affirms the company's "dedication to all dealers by providing a convenient location to service them."
  • The facility is packed with state-of-the-art technology and practical features like bay doors - which allow for hands-on learning.

Bobcat Introduces E26 Excavator

  • In October 2019, Bobcat expanded its R-Series excavator collection by introducing E26.
  • With a 24.8 horsepower, an operating rate of almost 6,500 pounds, and a rated lift capacity of over 2,000 pounds, E26 is a superior compact excavator.
  • The machine also offers a 19% increase in glass surface area. This allows operators to have a panoramic view of their jobsite.
  • This product is a success because it has been proven to offer better protection. Its hoses have minimal fittings, more steel tubing, and advanced mounts.
  • E26 has more cab durability features, including sharp new body panels, stronger hinges, and tight latches.
  • The machine supposedly offers the best "lift capacity for its size and narrow width for easy trailer loading and working through doorways, gates, property lines or other tight areas."

Part
03
of seven
Part
03

Bobcat Advertising

Flint Communication is Bobcat's advertising and marketing agency. Over the last two years, Bobcat has undertaken advertisements in the following formats: paid digital advertising, content marketing, email advertising, print advertising, event advertising, and outdoor marketing. Its premier advertising campaigns are 'Bobcat Advantage' and 'Next is Now'.

MARKETING AGENCY

ADVERTISING TYPES

Paid digital advertising

Email advertising

Content marketing

Print advertising

Outdoor and event advertising

  • Bobcat and its US distributors engage in community events and promotional shows as well as local, regional, and national industry events where they engage in outdoor and event advertisements.
  • Bobcat of Springfield hosted an open house barbecue for 100 customers. The event was hosted after the acquisition of the dealership network by Bobcat of St. Louis. During the event, customers interacted with the sales and maintenance teams where they received promotional materials.
  • During the launch of the Next is Now advertisement and branding campaign at Bobcat Training Center, promotional materials on current and future equipment were provided to the press and invited guests.
  • Bobcat participates in the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. At the show, Bobcat presents advertisement materials for its compact equipment and heavy equipment.

ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS

Bobcat Advantage

  • Bobcat advantage is a video series where Bobcat compares its equipment to its competitors' equipment across various tests. On each test, Bobcat provides insight into why it was done, breakdown of performance, and behind-the-scenes footage.
  • The Bobcat Advantage is promoted on its website, paid advertisements, and social media channels. The advertising builds brand knowledge on the efficiency and effectiveness of its products.

Next Is Now

RESEARCH STRATEGY

In order to determine Bobcat's advertising agency and types of advertising, your research team undertook extensive research across news and industry sources such as Construction Equipment Guide and Issuu. We confined our research on events that took place over the last two years and in the United States geographic region. Importantly, our research team engaged in the collection of information on Bobcat's marketing agency and advertisement format by reviewing both Bobcat and its distributors' advertisement efforts.
Part
04
of seven
Part
04

Bobcat Advertising Spending

While the information about Bobcat's traditional advertising spend was not publicly available, our team managed to find that in 2019, Bobcat has spent $17,500 per month on digital advertising or $‭210,000‬ annually.

Company Overview and Advertising Spend

  • Bobcat Co. is a private company headquartered in North Dakota and with marketing offices in West Fargo. It is a global leader in farm and construction equipment.
  • The company generates an estimated annual revenue of $150 million in sales.
  • Bobcat was founded in 1947 and has grown considerably in the last years, thanks in part to its digital advertising strategy.
  • The digital marketing efforts made by Bobcat helped them gain recognition around the world and establish its market share position as a leader in the compact equipment industry.
  • Since they began their digital marketing campaign, their monthly visitors grew to 300,000 per month.
  • In February 2019, their website's visits increased by 7.59%, with 306,600 visitors.
  • This year, Bobcat spends $17,500 every month on search budget and digital advertising to ensure internet users are directed to its website, which almost triples the digital advertising spend of their competitors, Wagner Equipment, JCB, and Titan Machinery.
  • In the last five years, Bobcat's digital advertising spend has fluctuated from close to $10,000 per month in July 2014, between $10,000 and $15,000 per month in January 2015, under $10,000 per month from July 2015 to July 2018, and finally increased again to $17,500 per month in January 2019.

Digital Marketing Strategy

  • As part of its strategy, Bobcat buys SEO advertising to guarantee its website receives at least 9,400 clicks per month.
  • Their SEO is programmed to search for keywords related to their products and services, and their competitors' brands.
  • Bobcat's branding positions its products as the toughest in the industry, but also the most affordable, which makes them more attractive in the construction sector.
  • The company also uses paid advertising based on search, and with the combination of all these methods, they receive more visitors than their competitors.
  • Additionally, they use focused content to advertise on their social media pages and paid advertising on Facebook, YouTube, and email newsletters.

Research Strategy

To determine Bobcat's advertising spend in the US, we began by searching the company's Crunchbase profile and its annual report for direct information. However, we found that Bobcat is a private company and, as such, doesn't release an annual report publicly.

For our next step, we scanned the company's website, about page, press releases, and blog for official announcements made by the company about its annual advertising spend, and advertising or marketing budget. Unfortunately, while we found information that Bobcat has received awards and recognition in the past for its marketing and manufacturing, information about its marketing offices location, career opportunities in the marketing team, advise to other companies about how to plan their budgets; our search for the company's advertising spend and budget did not bring any relevant result.

As our third attempt, we looked for interviews on industry media with Bobcat's leadership team, trying to locate official statements about the company's advertising budget, spent, or strategy, or any additional data that could help us calculate the advertising spend. While we found interviews with the company's CEO, Scott Park, and its marketing manager, Leroy Anderson, the interviews focused on the products, the goals of the company, and the fact that some of Bobcat's advertising history was acquired by the Smithsonian American History Museum, but none of them discussed its advertising strategy.

Finally, for our last strategy, we looked for any data about the company's advertising spend in the US through an unofficial industry analysis of the company in external reports and articles. The most relevant information found was an analysis of the company's marketing evolution made by Vital Design, where they calculated an estimate spent by the company in online advertising monthly and historically. With this information we calculated it's annual digital advertising spend: $17,500 per month x 12 months = $210,000 annually. However, there was not enough information to calculate how much they spend on traditional advertising.

We concluded that, due to the company's private nature, they have not made public statements about their advertising spend or budget, reason why the information was not publicly available. We were able to provide the company's digital advertising spend, but the traditional advertising spend could not be calculated.
Part
05
of seven
Part
05

Bobcat Dealer Recruiting Approach and Dealer Programs

Bobcat chooses where to recruit agents strategically, based on market coverage. It provides incentive programs to dealers. More details have been provided below, followed by explanations of our research approach.

HELPFUL FINDINGS — AVAILABLE INFORMATION


RESEARCH STRATEGY

Comprehensive information surrounding Bobcat's dealer recruiting approach couldn't be found. Also, information on how much the company spent on dealer programs and recruiting doesn't appear to be available in the public domain. The company hasn't disclosed this information, while third-party analyses on this topic don't appear to exist. Here is how we approached this research.

First, we searched the company website, help resources, annual reports and press releases. We were hoping the company has provided this information directly, since it is a publicly traded company obligated to publish financial information. Also, it likely relies on its website to capture dealers' attention, which means it has likely described the recruitment process. This way, we found how the company is attracting the dealers and the requirements to become a dealer, but the recruitment process wasn't described (training, educational materials, etc.). In the annual report, we found a brief description of the dealer network expansion strategy. Incentive programs for dealers were mentioned, but weren't described, while it was also mentioned that the company will implement differentiated dealer management programs.

The financial reports didn't bifurcate the expenses into sufficient detail. We were hoping that the company has outlined innovations surrounding its dealer programs in press releases, but we found that the press releases focus on mergers, geographical expansions and other accomplishments, rather than the company's dealer acquisition strategy.

We decided to search for third-party analyses of Bobcat's dealer recruitment strategy. We were confident this would return us the desired information because independent research organizations often report on the business models of specific companies, focusing on their dealer or agent network strategies, among other things. This strategy wasn't helpful because we weren't able to find relevant analyses after searching through various credible sources, including the Association of Equipment Manufacturers and Valuation Resources. It is worth noting that we also searched for analyses of heavy machinery company business models in general, to see if anything specific to Bobcat was mentioned, but no relevant information was found.

In order to locate relevant information surrounding how Bobcat recruits dealers, what dealer programs it's running and how much it spends on these activities, we resorted to examining statements from the company's CEO, Scott Park, as well as the president of the North American division, Michael Ballweber. What we hoped to accomplish this way was to find if the leadership has directly addressed the company's dealer network strategy and spend, in interviews, business blogs or other public statements. Even though the dealers were mentioned by Bobcat's leadership, the statements were surface-level and didn't focus on recruitment strategies or programs. Bobcat's dealer recruitment approaches weren't comprehensively described, while relevant financial information wasn't mentioned.

It is worth mentioning that we also searched for relevant statements from Bobcat dealers themselves. Here, our idea was to study the recruiting approach from the dealer's point of view. We had hoped they have shared their experience with the recruiting process in their business blogs, or similar sources. Synergy Equipment, RECO Equipment and White Star Machinery were among the dealers consulted, but no relevant information was found this way, as the dealers haven't mentioned relevant information surrounding Bobcat's recruitment approach.
Part
06
of seven
Part
06

US Heavy Equipment Market

The current US heavy equipment market and growth rate over the next 3 years are roughly $15.98 billion and 15.78%, respectively.

Heavy Equipment Market in the US

  • The current United States Heavy Equipment market is valued at about $15.98 billion.
  • This market is expected to grow at a CAGR of approximately 15.78% from 2018-2022 to reach $24.8 billion by 2022.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

To determine the market size and growth rate, over the next 3-5 years, for the US heavy equipment market, the research team searched through credible market research databases such as Allied Market Research, Grand View Research, IBISWorld, and Statista. However, we were only able to identify the US market for 2016 from Grand View Research and the overall (light and heavy combined) construction equipment market for the same region, though a paywalled resource at IBISWorld.

Therefore, using publicly available information from the aforementioned databases, we managed to triangulate the market size and growth rate, over the next 3 years, for the US heavy equipment market.

Calculating the Current Market Size

The United States Heavy Equipment market was valued at $7.2 billion in 2016 or approximately 12.90% of the global heavy construction equipment market ($7.2bn/$55.9bn*100).
Then, the current US Heavy Equipment market is approximately $15.98 billion — estimated using the CAGR calculator, where the rate (r) is 7.6%, final value (f) is $24.8 billion, and period (n) is 6 (2016-2022).
Assuming that the United States market will grow at the same rate from 2016 to 2022 as the global market, the US heavy construction sector is expected to reach $24.8 billion by 2022 ($193 billion*12.9%).

Calculating Growth Rate Over the Next 3 Years

Therefore, the US Heavy Equipment market is expected to grow at a CAGR of about 15.78% from 2018-2022- estimated using the CAGR calculator, where the initial value (i) is $15.98 bn, final value (f) is $24.8 bn, and period (n) is 3 (2019-2022).
Part
07
of seven
Part
07

Heavy Equipment Market Trends

Three trends in the heavy equipment market of the United States are the transition from traditional to automated equipment, the preference for tracks over tires, and the increasing opportunity for heavy equipment rentals.

1. From Traditional to Automated

  • One of the top trends in heavy or construction equipment from 2019 to 2026 is the transition from traditional to automated equipment.
  • The trend indicates that the consumers of heavy equipment are renovating older technology to increase their productivity and that the top players of the industry are working to make the equipment more efficient.
  • Automated equipment presents an advantage for construction companies because it makes the work safer, more productive, increases quality, and protects the construction workers from excessive exposure to the sun, heat, dust, etc. thanks to its facility to integrate computer software, robotics, and applications to control the machinery.
  • It was recognized as a global trend by Fortune Business Insights and MarketWatch and mentioned as one of the trends in the US by GineersNow Magazine.
  • This trend is being adopted by heavy equipment manufacturers like Caterpillar, and construction companies in the United States, like Construction Robotics, The Hill Group, DIRTT, and Ekso Bionics.
  • In 2018, the San Francisco company, Built Robotics, raised $33 million for the development of automated heavy equipment, which included Bulldozers and Excavators that can be operated remotely.

2. Preference for Tracks Over Tires

  • Lately, users of heavy equipment and construction vehicles have been moving from tires to using equipment with tracks to increase their performance.
  • Multiple industry reports have demonstrated that, over the past few years, the use of compact track loaders has increased in comparison to the traditional skid steers that were used before, in different sectors like construction vehicles, agricultural vehicles, and even in the rental preferences.
  • One of the reasons why the market is adopting this trend is because tracks offer a wider footprint, which provides the equipment more stability to maneuver, apply more torque, and increases its pulling power.
  • In areas where seasons changes drastically, this trend is more prominent since tracks are more affordable in the long run than changing tires constantly.
  • The manufacturers of heavy equipment tires are also looking into this trend and adopting it by designing a tool that allows users to transform a skid steer loader into a compact track loader quickly, the over-the-tire track (OTT).
  • This trend is considered one of the most relevant ones in the heavy equipment industry by the Infinity Research company, and is widely being adopted by the US heavy equipment industry.
  • In the US, Caterpillar offers both options, tracks and tires, depending on the users' preference. Other tire manufacturers and distributors in the US, like McLaren Industries, MonsterTires, and Grouser, are offering over-the-tire tracks.

3. Preference Towards Rentals

  • In recent years, companies have been choosing to rent heavy equipment instead of buying it to reduce costs.
  • The benefits obtained from renting include avoiding maintenance costs, depreciation costs, making optimal use of the construction equipment, avoiding financial risks, and getting more flexibility to complete the tasks without spending much capital.
  • This trend was confirmed by the Infiniti Research company and multiple reports about the constant growth of heavy equipment rentals in the US market.
  • The rental market for heavy equipment in the US is worth $59.4 billion and is expected to continue growing.
  • According to the graph presented by Grandview Research, the US rental market of heavy equipment, including earthmoving machinery, material handling machinery, and construction machinery, has been growing constantly since 2012, and is expected to almost double its value by 2022.
  • Based on the report made by the Gordon Brothers company and the American Rental Association, the US market for heavy equipment rental will continue to grow at a 5% rate in the next years.
  • Some US companies that are providing heavy equipment for rent include Caterpillar, Volvo AB, Bank of America, CIT Group Inc., BB&T Corp, and Deere & Co., among others.

Research Strategy

To determine the trends in the US industry of heavy equipment, we began by defining it as heavy-duty vehicles that were designed to operate different construction tasks. Heavy Equipment is also known as heavy-duty vehicles, heavy machines, construction equipment, heavy trucks, engineering equipment, heavy hydraulics, and heavy vehicles.

Our second step was identifying the trends of the heavy equipment market in the US. To do so, we looked for industry reports and analysis with already defined lists of trends, through recognized industry magazines like Construction Equipment, Equipment World, Sana-Commerce, Master Builder, etc. While we found trends specific to the US, these referred to the whole construction industry and not only the equipment and machinery industry.

For our third attempt, knowing that the US and NorthAmerica are the second-largest marketin the global heavy equipment industry, we assumed that the global trends reflect on the trends of the country and, in some cases, the US trends define the global trends. We looked for global trends through industry reports and were able to find the global information and the differentiation of trends by region, but these were hidden behind a paywall. Some of these sources were MarketWatch, IBIS World, Markets and Markets, Reuters, BusinessWire, etc. However, the analysis offered by companies like Infiniti Research and Fortune Business Insights gave us a start.

After identifying the global trends, we confirmed the ones that applied to the US through reports, corporate communications, news, and that were repeated the most across multiple sources.
Sources
Sources

From Part 07