Matyas Gabor had two great job offers on the table more than three years ago. If you ask him why he ended up choosing BRP, his answer is simple: the sun, and the smiles.
It’s not that the Montreal-based firm’s vice-president of digital consumer experience is blissfully spending all his time outside riding its range of Ski Doos, Sea Doos and off-road vehicles. It was the idea of bringing happiness to BRP’s adventure-loving customers, as well as the quality of its team, that gave him a sense of mission.
“They’re the Steve Jobs of the power sports industry,” Gabor said during a session at SAS Global Forum 2021 last week. “To be a strategist for a company that is at the moment of reinventing itself, of coming from a product organization to an experience-driven organization — it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance.”
Since joining BRP as global digital director, Gabor said his team has down from six to just under 100 today. His work draws on his previous experience working with consulting firm Deloitte, but also the non-profit sector, where he developed deep connections with the art community.
“The arts and Ski-Doos are doing the same things — people have feelings, they’re smiling, crying, having fun,” he said, adding that in this case the term “customer journey” can be taken quite literally. “The ride is all about before, during and after . . . it’s been a big shift at BRP to realize we need to think about what is happening off-line and online at all those moment to help costumers to enhance their experience.”
Though it wasn’t discussed during the SAS Global Forum session, one example of BRP’s efforts in this area so far is the launch of an app called BRP GO. Announced last Fall, the app is designed to help riders find their way through trails and important landmarks (like gas stations).
Customers can also pair the app with their vehicle for a hands-free experience, and they can connect with other riders and avoid losing track of one another.
On the back end, BRP is also working with analytics applications from SAS to integrate data from its own production systems with insights gleaned from dealers, retailers and end users.
“We didn’t even own our own data before. Our customer data was (collected and managed through) a third-party company. We didn’t control that data.”
With the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), however, Gabor pointed out that BRP has a huge opportunity to gather first-party data by connecting to its own vehicles. That means BRP could offer customers alerts when their vehicles need to be repaired, for example.
This requires an IT architecture that will offer considerable scaleability, however, which is why the company is working with Microsoft’s Azure asa its cloud platform.
That said, managing digital CX at a company like BRP brings some challenges beyond choosing the right technologies, Gabor said. For one thing, the company continues to come out with new products every year. Its digital properties include about 180 web sites, more than 70 social properties and a slew of e-mail and media campaigns.
“It’s a huge scope,” he said.
There are also differences in the experience expectations for a customer who is a seasoned rider versus one who has never ridden before, Gabor said. As it arms itself with more data, it also has to consider the differences in legal regulations — such as GDPR in the E.U. — which will govern how it communicates with customers.
Ultimately, Gabor suggested he wanted to offer greater personalization in how BRP markets to its riders, as well as extending digital experience capabilities such as e-commerce to let customers purchase apparel and other products.
“The only thing I’m trying to do is be extremely relevant, useful (and to make being our customer) seamless,” he said. “Now it’s all about what do you do with this data? That’s going to be a bigger challenge.”
Shane Schick tells stories that help people innovate, and to manage the change innovation brings. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and Yahoo Canada and is the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.