Cadillac drives trial with ‘Grand Escape’

It's literally the Cadillac of direct marketing offers....

It’s literally the Cadillac of direct marketing offers.

General Motors of Canada offered a select group of prospects their choice of a free golf clinic hosted by one of Canada’s top pros or a complimentary lunch at a resort north of Toronto – and 72 hours’ use of a brand new Cadillac to get them there.

The Cadillac Grand Escape, which launched in August and runs through November, was targeted to existing Cadillac customers as well as owners of a range of competing luxury vehicles, including Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

According to Taso Mascalidis, account supervisor for Cadillac at Toronto-based MacLaren McCann, the offer was made to 1,400 drivers in the Toronto area, of which 250 accepted the invitation – a response rate of 18%.

‘Really, it’s a way to build relationships with our current owner base and an opportunity to get people with other products to experience Cadillac and, hopefully, change their opinion about Cadillac,’ says Tom Laurie, manager of promotions, sponsorships and events at GM Canada.

Laurie says recipients were segmented from GM’s extensive database, while drivers of vehicles produced by Cadillac’s competitors were culled from a range of sources, including lists available on the open market and from various GM-sponsored events and auto shows.

Invitations were mailed to drivers who had previously participated in Cadillac surveys and other relationship marketing activities, and who had indicated that they would be in the market for a new luxury vehicle within the next 18 months, Laurie says.

‘It gives [prospects] a chance…to have a look at what’s new in Cadillac,’ says Mascalidis. ‘It allows them to get out and test drive the vehicle and do it in a way that is not having to go into a dealership and feel that sort of pressure. We’re saying, ‘Just go out and have a nice day with the vehicle.”

The soft-sell approach extends all the way through the program, where the Grand Escape follow-up comprises a simple telephone survey asking participants whether they enjoyed the experience and what they thought of the vehicle. Beyond that, no additional pressure is being applied.

It’s an approach that appears to be working. While unwilling to divulge specific results, Laurie says initial feedback has been ‘extremely positive.

‘We believe the product is going to sell itself if we demonstrate it properly, get people into it and let them enjoy it,’ he says.