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Case Study: Must be 800-words not including references

How does a company known for being conservative attract a non-conservative target market?

As the company’s ad says, “You’re in good hands with Allstate!” Allstate Insurance has used this famous phrase to attract customers for some time. This mainstream market approach has served the company well. But even though the company is one of the industry’s leaders, observers began to notice an erosion of market share in some non-traditional sectors. Lifestyle strategies had not received much attention at Allstate. Motorcycle riders, for example, chose competitors Progressive and Geico over Allstate and other conservatively oriented companies. Why would Allstate be interested in targeting motorcycle riders?

The motorcycle market is growing thanks to increased interest from baby boomers and Generation Y consumers. In 2006, 1.2 million motorcycles were sold according to the Motorcycle Industry Council, and sales have been steadily climbing for the last five years. Allstate decided it was time to conduct targeted marketing research or risk losing this growing market. In addition to learning some interesting facts about today’s motorcycle riders, the company’s market research also found that over 600 of its 14,800 agents were devout motorcycle riders themselves. This interesting fact led the company to completely revamp some of its advertising and marketing strategies.

To target motorcycle riders, Allstate has begun featuring some of their bike-riding agents in their ads. The ads indicate that Allstate knows the needs of motorcycle riders better than competitors because the “good hands” are on handle-bars. And who knows the needs of bikers better than other bikers? Acting on additional research information, the company has also begun sponsoring motorcycle rallies and music downloads via Rolling Stone magazine for those people who love the feel of the open road. Follow-up research will determine the success of Allstate’s attempt to bond with this market segment.

Adapted from “Let’s Ride—The Wild Ones at Allstate,” by Burt Helm, Business Week,October 1, 2007, p. 16.

Case study developed by Dr. John R. Brooks, Jr., Houston Baptist University.


1. What marketing research facts led Allstate to review its advertising and marketing strategies with respect to the motorcycle market?