January 15, 2013
Higher taxes in France and the United States, slowing demand in China and Europe, counterfeiting, store overexpansion, product overexposure and over-reliance on Flash are the key issues that may hurt luxury businesses this year. But effective product differentiation, continued high-quality standards, careful distribution, holding the price line, tighter cuddling of the customer and smart marketing will ensure that luxury has another bumper year ahead.
If anything, the luxury customer has proved resilient and loyal through four years of global turmoil. What kept this demographic spending was the level of expectation sought and met. That has to be the mantra this year, too – treat the customer like family and, in return, get almost unconditional love.
Dialogue is the new black
Marketing has a critical role to play in piquing interest and generating demand. To their lasting credit, luxury brands and retailers last year ran marketing programs and campaigns that went toe-to-toe with their main street counterparts, even besting them in customer relationship marketing efforts. That emphasis has to continue this year in an environment of political and economic uncertainty.
Expect luxury marketers in 2013 to intensify their use of social media – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram – to connect with customers and prospects. Dialogue is in. Their PC and mobile Web sites will get a drastic makeover, and
applications across Apple and Google platforms will proliferate. Use of digital tools, including video, to showcase the brand story will increase, much of it designed to drive traffic in-store – more often than not, the main purpose of such sophisticated marketing and content. The store is where the action is at, and will be.
Shoppers will also expect luxury brands and retailers to have easy-to-navigate ecommerce and mobile commerce offerings. Digital sales of products and services will jump, aided by targeted email and search marketing, as well as wise online display banner ad buys. Indeed, online and mobile retail will enable luxury marketers and retailers to cross borders and meet pent-up demand.
On the broadcast side, radio will get a minimal share of luxury marketing dollars, while television is slowly but steadily becoming an option for luxury automobiles, fragrances and hotels. More attention will need to be paid to direct mail and catalogs – nothing beats the tactile and visual experience of holding a book with luscious images and absorbing the story narrated by the brand.
Meanwhile, outdoor advertising will maintain its top-of-mind role. So will print, which will hang on to its title as the most effective platform to showcase a brand in all its glory in a curated environment that is trusted by the consumer and the advertiser.
MANY THANKS to Tricia Carr for laying out Luxury Daily’s Luxury Marketing Outlook 2013 Classic Guide. Also, her reporting and Erin Shea’s, along with insight from industry expects, make this book an indispensable read for luxury marketers and retailers. Thank you to all of them and to Michelle Nance and Jodie Solomon, too.
All in all, luxury marketers this year will have at their disposal the most sophisticated marketing tools to woo and retain customers. Their challenge is not to overdo it and cheapen the marketing and the product.