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A new direction in giveaways

No T-shirts or key chains; BMW dealer offers free maps

When a customer leaves Long Beach BMW Motorcycles after purchasing a new bike, he doesn’t only receive an owner’s manual, warranty information and keys, but he also receives a map.

Last year, the dealership in Long Beach, Calif., began including a Butler Motorcycle Map in the packet of information each bike buyer receives at delivery. Butler presented the idea to the dealership and after a little thought, Long Beach BMW grabbed onto the idea.

“We talked about it, and we fell in love with it because for us, we want people to enjoy their bikes, and we want people to go out and ride their bike, and the more they ride them, the more they’re going to need service and tires,” said Charles Berthon, general manager of Long Beach BMW.

Butler Motorcycle Maps are specific to motorcycling. The maps rate roads by their riding characteristics and provide a checklist of some of the routes, a city/town locator and Department of Transportation contact information. They’re also waterproof and tear resistant.

“You don’t need a generic map to go motorcycling; you need one that shows you where the good roads are,” said Justin Bradshaw, co-founder of Butler Motorcycle Maps.

Positive feedback

When a Long Beach BMW customer is given the map, the salesperson points it out as a bonus and shows it to the rider. The feedback from the giveaway has been positive.

“People are usually pretty excited about it because it’s something they can use, and they can see the value in it, and it gets them thinking about riding their bike,” Berthon said.

Long Beach BMW Motorcycles in Long Beach, Calif., gives away a free Butler Motorcycle Map with each bike purchase. The giveaway is consistent with the dealership’s riding culture.

The map giveaway works well with the riding culture the dealership has created. Twice a month on Saturdays, the dealership hosts a ride that draws 20-25 customers.

“On the ride day, we’ll open up an hour early to greet all the riders and get them into the store, so they can look all the gear we have and look at all the accessories we have for their bike,” Berthon explained. The dealership also offers coffee and donuts before the ride begins.

BMW riders, he says, are unique in that they want to ride all day, rather than stop at several destinations throughout the trip.

“Our customers are different. They want to do a couple hundred miles a day,” he said.


Long Beach BMW also encourages its customers to take photos and videos when they go on personal rides, so the dealership can share them on its website.

“We have a lot of customers that come in that just really, really enjoy riding, and they’ll come in and they’ll tell us about where they’ve been, where they’re going, and they’re share pictures. It’s pretty awesome,” Berthon said.

Added value

With that in mind, the dealership staff saw how maps could benefit their customers more than a keychain or some other trinket.

“We’ve done other things in the past. This one seems to work the best because, you know, you may give away a T-shirt here and there, but we want people to enjoy their bike; we want them to ride their bike,” Berthon said.

Dealers who aren’t giving away extras to bike buyers are missing the boat when it comes to customer service, Bradshaw said. Butler came up with the idea of giving away maps as a way for dealers to provide a riding-related gift.

“Give them something that they’ll act use and appreciate — everyone has a T-shirts; everyone has key chains — something they’ll keep in their bikes,” Bradshaw said.

He’s glad the giveaway is going well for Long Beach BMW and its customers. The marketing piece has tremendous amount of return on investment, with customers not only using the map, but thinking of the dealership and returning to it for PG&A or service.

“For $9 you can really give something to your customer that they’ll use and hopefully use them in a way that they’ll return back to you because they’re using more tires and they’re needing more service from you,” Bradshaw said.

A bonus piece that Long Beach has already seen is that customers who don’t buy a new bike are still interested in buying the maps from the countertop display, and even those who have already received one grow interested in buying maps for other riding areas.

“It’s a very high quality map, and it kind of goes along with the product that we sell. In our humble opinion, we sell the best motorcycles, so we want to include a product that will complement it,” Berthon said.

And any product that keeps customers happy and on their bikes is a win-win for the dealership and its customers.


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