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Saab Mailer Seeks Traction for New Model

Saab Cars USA begins a staggered drop of 650,000 mail pieces next week to promote the Saab 9-2x, a new entrant to the nascent premium sports compact segment signifying the biggest product development program in the automaker's history.

Designed and produced by Euro RSCG 4D, Baltimore, the campaign targets higher-income, well-educated consumers ages 25-45 with active lifestyles in urban markets.

“Saab's strategy with this campaign is to make significant investments in analytics upfront to develop a highly targeted mail file that will create awareness of this new product and drive these consumers to the dealer,” said Al Fontova, direct marketing manager at Saab, Norcross, GA.

Euro RSCG 4D produced a three-panel mailer with two versions — one for younger prospects and another for older — to pitch the new Saab line starting at $22,990 for the Linear model and $26,950 for the Aero.

The self-mailer is embossed with a faux tire track on the outside to grab the recipient's attention. It also communicates that this is Saab's first all-wheel-drive vehicle, which offers traction on the road as one key benefit.

Prospects are asked to mail in a business reply card, log onto the site at www.saabusa.com or visit a Saab dealer for more information on the 9-2x. Also included is a $30 SuperCertificate from GiftCertificates.com to encourage a test drive, plus a sweepstakes.

Fulfillment will comprise a package including a model brochure, letter and gift certificates. Online responders will get an e-mail follow-up. A television and print campaign with point-of-sale materials for Saab dealers will support the mail push.

The five-door Saab 9-2x goes on sale June 1 in the United States and Canada. It is the third in a line of Saab cars. The car's uniqueness in a virgin niche required special attention to targeting. Saab did a qualitative study with focus groups to explore which prospects would be interested in the vehicle and what messages would resonate with them.

To aid the mail effort, an analysis by Bill Keller, managing director of Datatech Concepts Inc., New York, was done using registration data for a select group of competitive makes and models as a surrogate list. From this, more than 100 possible segments were created. Saab is focusing on mailing 39 of the most promising segments. List selection includes Saab's house file of handraisers and selected Saab owners, plus compiled and vertical lists.

Saab's target audience typically has been much narrower than other competitive automakers on a psychographic/attitudinal basis. The company is aware the Saab 9-2x may appeal to a younger and broader audience than other models in the roster, yet it still will be a relatively narrow audience.

“Because Saab is marketing to a narrow group of consumers,” Fontova said, “direct mail is crucial to the effort [because of] its ability to precisely target a specific group of customers.”

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