One might think that physical direct-mail drops are to CRM what 35 mm film is to photography: an archaic way -- compared to digital -- to pitch products and services to customers and prospects. Not so -- and you will realize that when you consider all of the useless emails you get, or forget to open, or that don’t make it past the spam filter.
“Direct has impact,” says Silvia Villaverde, department head, CRM for Woodcliff Lake, N.J.-based BMW Group, “because it’s something you can touch and feel. If you do something with direct, people have a higher propensity to look at it. What we have also found is that in conquesting, direct does more than online channels.”
You can definitely touch and feel BMW’s new direct-mail effort for its performance “M” variants, celebrating the sub-brand’s 40th anniversary, and the new versions of the cars bearing the initial. The effort, for which BMW tapped New York-based Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners, involves direct-mail inserts of one-off pieces of paper bearing the real tread marks from a 2013 M6 coupe.
Villaverde explains that the company hired Chicago-based Classic Color to apply its technology to the car’s tires so that it could streak a continuous tire track over some 150,000 contiguous sheets of paper, each bearing the BMW M logo. The message is that the car can go from 0 to 60 in just over four seconds.
“We didn’t want to do just a traditional print drop for the [M5, M6 coupe and M convertible],” Villaverde explains, adding that the inserts are not just visual, since you can feel the raised paint relief on the paper. “We wanted to make it stand out as enthusiasts are very interested in this and want something unique.” She adds that the company sent the pieces to in-market owners and prospects.
The campaign includes a making-of video on BMW’s YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter channels. Villaverde tells Marketing Daily that the mail piece includes a personal URL for all the people who got the direct mail. “We are using this as a social campaign, so it also goes out to the public.”
The goal isn’t for these one-off tire-track pieces to end up on eBay, but Villaverde says she would be pleased if that happens. “The goal is to do things that are unique, that spark interesting behavior. That would be cool if we ended up having done something that valuable.”