Yamaha revs up digital strategy in race for new revenue

Yamaha CIO Glenn Coles is banking on digital and mobile channels, augmented reality and customer data to bolster the recreational vehicle manufacturer's fortunes.

Yamaha revs up digital strategy in race for new revenue
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Yamaha Motor Corp. USA is harnessing social media, customer data, augmented reality (AR) and information about its own vehicles to clear one of the biggest hurdles of the digital era: Creating a more direct path to consumers of its recreational vehicles, engines, robots and other machines. 

“We’re changing the focus of IT to support the new digital tier,” says Glenn Coles, who joined Yamaha as CIO of its North America division in 2006.

Creating and curating a digital relationship with consumers is a tall task for any company these days. Yamaha’s obstacles include figuring out how to get more consumers to its distribution network — the dealers who sell its motorcycles and motor boats, as well as personal watercraft, golf cars and ATVs.

These dealerships are the bridge to a customer base that ranges from tech-savvy millennials looking to glean information about the latest motocross bikes from their smartphones to tech-averse baby boomers looking to upgrade their fishing boat. "The way a millennial scooter buyer has a social presence is different from a retired baby boomer," Coles says.

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