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A Saab’s Story March 27, 2007

Posted by Kira in Auto's, brand, Consumers, Marketing, Organizational Environment, outsourcing, Retail.
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Saab was faced with the challenge of expanding its market to mid-size sports wagon drivers in the U.K. To accomplish this, Saab had to overcome two major disadvantages. Not only was their marketing budget smaller than their competitors but, their brand recognition and reputation was smaller as well. To promote the 9-3 SportWagon, Saab created a two-part campaign that combined direct mail and the internet. The campaign was a game called “The Race Against Time.” This campaign included a 100-page “choose your own adventure” book that was mailed to people who inquired about the car. The book put its readers in a Saab 9-3 and dared them to see if they could reach a weekend destination without falling into trouble. The story moved forward by choosing from optional actions listed on each page which all led to a different set of circumstances. The game was also offered online- so people could sign up for the game and for additional information about Saab. By playing online, the players could e-mail their results to a friend and challenge them to beat their time. Participants could also record their personal progress. As an incentive, participants who won the challenges were eligible to win a Saab 9-3 Aero V6 SportWagon and Saab-branded sports merchandise. Although Saab officials assumed that no more than 5,000 people would participate in the campaign, more than 29,000 people signed up to play online with 40% also signing up to receive electronic news updates from Saab. The game was also placed on other websites and on blogs (go figure!). Sales for the 9-3 rose in Great Britain from 2,000 cars sold in 2005 to more than 6,000 in 2006.

“We got a set of people who never would have considered Saab,” says Ed Birth, the Saab account manager for Draftfcb (Draftfcb created the campaign)

Saab’s campaign is an example of a recent trend in which marketers are targeting consumers enticing them to play games and activities in order to get them to spend more time with the brands. The longer the time spent with the product the more likely the brand will come to mind when making a future purchase.

Last class we were discussing survival strategies. I would say that Saab is a k-specialist- they had to break into an established market for sport wagons. Some of the reasons that Saab was probably successful as a k-specialist were because they already knew that a market for sport wagons in the U.K. existed and that games and activities were a marketing success. They were able to see trends in the existing companies in the sport wagon market that they could “mimic” and allowed them to see the correct way they could compete.

By using direct mail, online websites, and blogs, Saab was able to reach different potential consumers. The use of online websites allowed Saab to capture younger consumers while also capturing the names and e-mail addresses of potential consumers who registered. This could allow Saab to generate a database for future marketing tactics. Also, the game was a great way to tap into consumers’ emotions- I know it made me reminisce about the “Choose Your Own Adventure” book that I had when I was younger!

 

I think the game can still be played online- check it out for yourself!

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Comments»

1. Jordi - March 27, 2007

I love the way you work in niche strategies!

I wonder if they gave people opt out strategies when they registered. It seems like a common practice now. Is it enforced by law? I don’t know. Also, do they try and get emails of the friends that a game player invites or challenges to play the game?

What is the deliver magazine source? How did you find it?

2. Kira - March 29, 2007

I didn’t read anything about this, but I’m sure they do get the e-mails of the friends that existing players challenge. They will definitely get their e-mails when they sign up to play against their friends who have challenged them. I think this is such a good marketing technique. They are probably even saving money on marketing by essentially having their consumers do part of the marketing for them.

Deliver magazine is a marketing magazine- my mom actually came across the article at work and told me about it.

3. jeremy morris - March 31, 2007
4. Brian Mulligan - April 1, 2007

To reach consumers today, different companies are employing incredibly unique marketing strategies to reach consumers. For example, Doritos had a contest for their Super Bowl Commercial. They asked amatuer directors to create short ideas for the commercial and send them in. The winner’s commercial was then aired on Super Bowl Sunday.

Likewise, Saab did the same with creating an interactive game and combining it with the mailings. I think that the online will attract younger customers from the internet age, while the mailing with reach the older customers whom are as computer savvy. This was also a very cost effective marketing strategy. I agree that they are k-specialists as well, but have created a new niche for marketing strategy with their interactive games. This is just another example of the awesome marketing ideas that are being produced to capture the public’s eye.


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