The future of luxury is digital.
As marketers reading Luxury Daily’s Luxury Marketing Outlook 2011 will learn, savvy understanding of how the Internet and mobile influence all channels will make the difference between a successful luxury brand and one that sticks to an old formula for a different era.
It is understandable for luxury brands to proceed with caution. After all, luxury’s coin is exclusivity, rarity, quality and high-perceived value – and none of these attributes should be tarnished by marketing or retail efforts that don’t mesh with the brand’s values.
That said, the luxury consumer is evolving. Truly high-net worth individuals possess the best computers and mobile phones, ranking these possessions up with great cars, homes, art and a penchant for unique entertainment experiences.
Interact, not distract
Indeed, most luxury consumers access news and information the way the rest of the world does: through the Internet on a computer or via a smartphone, along with print and broadcast media.
While they continue to read magazines and watch television, these luxury consumers are quite influenced by what drops in their email inbox or what their kid texts to their phone.
So, for those brands charting their marketing and retail strategy this year, making digital the centerpiece of their efforts will be a smart move.
Harnessing digital media’s ability to interact more than distract is something that needs to gain wider circulation among luxury marketers concerned about diluting the brand’s value.
The time is now to combine the use of digital media with offline marketing channels to build a database of loyal consumers who opt in to receive offers and updates via email, text or mail.
Now, more than ever, brands should deliver smart offers and consistent experiences online, offline and in-store to make the switching costs high for consumers to move their business to a rival.
Word on print
Singing paeans to online and mobile doesn’t mean that traditional luxury marketing will not be effective.
On the contrary, luxury brands should press ahead with smart print ad campaigns in the pertinent magazines and newspapers, supported by regular drops of catalogs and seasonal out-of-home campaigns.
Where print – be it an ad, luscious mailer or catalog – scores over digital is the ability to capture and frame the romance and mystique of the brand. In this era of economic hardship, retaining the mystique is key to maintaining brand allure and customer loyalty.
So overall, what can the luxury industry expect this year? More print advertising, increased online videos, fewer mail drops, continued outdoor advertising and a barrage of emails touting discounts and sales.
Expect to see more brands launch mobile applications and extend their ecommerce presence to mobile Web sites – to great success. Yes, eventually, someone will buy a jet on the mobile site.
Please read this Luxury Marketing Outlook 2011 cover to cover.
Reported ably by Peter Finocchiaro and Rachel Lamb, the articles offer quick insight into what to expect in luxury marketing this year. Thank you to them and to reporter Elizabeth Zelesny, whose art direction on this Classic Guide was invaluable.
Be the change
Key to continued success in 2011 will be a sharp focus on brand values and marketing that’s appropriate to the mission and heritage. Also, an open mind and willingness to test new media and tactics as part of a multichannel marketing strategy will help.
Of course, expect the usual rough-and-tumble with takeovers and attempted takeovers. The debate over family versus conglomerate will intensify, shaping the future of luxury for years to come: Does the name on the door require his or her presence inside?
Some luxury brands will scale up and some down. Some ad campaigns will fly and others won’t.
It would be a shame for luxury brands to sit still in 2011 while the luxury consumer is sprinting ahead, shaped by technology, environment and age-old needs and desires. Marketers should step up and see what clicks.
by Mickey Alam Khan