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BMW Germany uses MMS to drive tire sales

A BMW Germany mobile campaign deployed to sell more winter tires is said to have achieved a 30 percent conversion rate.

BMW Germany wanted to remind its customers that snow tires are more of a necessity rather than luxury, especially during the winter in Germany. The luxury carmaker targeted owners of BMWs, urging them to visit a local dealership and buy a set of tires.

"We did much more fancy things but we figured out that the more fancy an application is, the less traffic we get," said Mark Mielau, head of digital media at BMW Germany, in a case study given to this publication. "And so we thought, let's go back to the really basic function of the mobile phone.

"So that's where we started rethinking MMS and the campaign," he said. "And that's where this came up, where we have the chance with one message to deliver a lot of information."

BMW sent a customized MMS message to new customers just before winter to remind them to buy winter tires and to direct them to a BMW dealership to buy them.

Messages were sent to 1,200 customers.

The MMS message had a personalized customer greeting and recommended a specific tire.

What's interesting is that all the information was in the MMS. There was no need to click through to a link, which is typical of most mobile advertising campaigns across categories and markets.

The price of the tire, lists of dealerships in the area, picture and description of the tire were all included in the MMS.

"It was a concrete proposal for your car instead of a very anonymous print mailing, where you have a tower of wheels which are not matched directly with your car," Mr. Mielau said.

BMW Germany also created a mobile application that could be downloaded via a link in the MMS message.

The application showed how different sets of tires would look on the customer's car.

Also, the application featured a winter design with a snowy mountain road.

"The scalability of MMS is no big deal," Mr. Mileau said. "There is some difference with the application."

The campaign was optimized for about 20 percent of available mobile phones.

"The results were quite amazing," Mr. Mielau said.