Today, luxury consumers are vastly different from years before: their needs and expectations are not covered by only the conventional way of brick-and-mortar luxury brands.
Here’s G & Co.’s luxury marketing strategy. G & Co. is a full-service luxury marketing agency, UI/UX design and development, and luxury eCommerce agency. As a full-service digital design firm, they do everything from UI/UX for mobile apps and brand identities to marketing websites and enterprise software, having a specialized focus on direct-to-consumer (DTC) and luxury brands.
The new luxury consumer is younger than ever before and far more familiar and comfortable with digital experiences than ever before. This understanding of who high-end brands should be targeting is crucial for any luxury eCommerce agency to know. Because now, the way luxury brands must present themselves has been reimagined by the digital shift. The approach now needs to align with younger consumers' values and lifestyles, where before the aura of exclusivity and veil of scarcity was seen as two of the biggest traits the world of luxury relied on.
But who, more specifically, is the luxury consumer?
According to the Global Web Index, two-thirds of luxury buyers are between the ages of 25-44, and 62% of the luxury audience is male. This illuminates our earlier statement, with millennials now firmly into their careers having greater spending power and perceive luxury as either a regular treat for themselves or a gift for others.
However, a more interesting finding is that while "luxury" was long viewed as primarily attributable to goods such as handbags, jewelry, or even cars, younger consumers consider experiences a luxury category. This includes exclusive events, travel destinations, restaurant outings. Among 3 in 10 in the survey have said that they consider themselves having purchased a luxury experience in the past 12 months.
While luxury goods are still as popular with today's luxury consumers as they were with previous generations, it's today's younger audience that has a special enthusiasm for experiences and travel that connote status and distinctiveness. Of course, given that luxury spending is, by virtue of it being designed to impress, it is not all that much a surprise that experiences are now frequently counted as an emerging luxury expense. After all, we are living in an age where it is easier than ever to present a part of our lives to the world through social media, which leads to this guide's next point.
Brands need to leverage social media in their luxury marketing strategy.
We've established that today's luxury consumer is younger than ever before and touts experiences as a growing luxury expenditure. And that kind of amalgamation of demographic and interest is no better suited than in the digital age.
Thanks to social media, users can share posts demonstrating their lifestyle, personal status, and intimate experiences. It's important to recall why people use social media to begin with, and that's to gain or post an aesthetic appreciation and to be entertained. Users' ability to produce content that establishes their position of status, gloat about their life highlights, secure influence, and be recognized by their peers makes social media a powerful ally to luxury brands.
It's useful to remember that the customer experience with luxury itself is a brand's most valuable asset. Every brand experience represents a memorable and extravagant occasion for luxury consumers that they feel compelled to show to others.
The first thing to note is that while there exist several different platforms for high-end brands to adopt as part of their eCommerce and luxury marketing strategy, what's most important is that a brand recognizes the value of connecting with consumers rather than what avenue they choose.
Again: Seek to connect with consumers rather than connect to consumers.
You'll see that if you apply this way of thinking, the strategies available, and the possibilities they unlock are endless in a luxury marketing approach. To help you better understand how to find a way to connect with consumers, we include a broad list of advice that can hopefully spring some ideas:
It's not enough to be on social media; you have to be social to interact. That can take many different forms, and brands have a bit of an advantage in this area. For instance, Gucci uses its favorite social media playground—Instagram—to keep its over 40 million followers engaged from various promotional product posts, event updates, and aesthetic assortments.
Again: people use social media to be entertained and to be engaged. If your content can keep followers informed, updated on your collections or latest wares in a way that does not come off as "pushing" a sale, then you can successfully captivate consumers with social.
The world of social media has nurtured the rise of the social influencer: people who boast arguably the same level of a stratum as movie stars, athletes, and artists but wield their following on an online medium. And like the stars and icons before them, influencers carry sway in their opinion (hence, the name), giving brands a dose of notability from a post endorsement.
If you can identify your brand advocates, you can surely leverage their following as part of your own.
We're big believers that luxury brands ought to follow an approach of "platform follows strategy." Every brand has its strengths and unique traits that are complemented by the various platforms available. And as a luxury marketing agency, we highly suggest that brands be present on more than one platform that harmonizes with their brand image. After all, not all social interaction happens on one platform.
The most appropriate social media platforms for luxury brands are perhaps those that offer the most visible exposure: Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, and even YouTube. Find a platform that works with your brand's strengths and utilize them to your advantage to build and engage a following.
Hopefully, these have begun to inspire some creative ideas to utilize social media for your luxury marketing strategy. We should note, though, that social media does not constitute a brand's entire online presence. Rather, it is a significant but not all-encompassing piece of a luxury marketing strategy. The other piece of the online equation that luxury brands need to consider is search.
Luxury brands need to leverage search engine optimization.
If you want to take advantage of the internet's full capacity when the largest pool of luxury consumers is online, then you have to make yourself noticeable. How? How is that possible without breaking the cardinal sin of the luxury world of appearing anything but exclusive?
Being accessible and exclusive aren't mutually exclusive. A luxury brand can surely be both things. As a luxury marketing agency, we can say that "being found" means in the digital age is that, just like in real life, there must be a storefront and a footprint for people to find you. But the necessity of this is even more pressing online, where because of the internet's democratization, any business, regardless of size, age, or location, can reach anyone in the world. Meaning, if you do not build the infrastructure needed for people to find you, you will not get seen.
And so, how is it that luxury brands can gain a good footing online?
Start with an understanding that today's digital systems are powered by an algorithm that pushes out results and posts based on one thing: relevance.
Across everything online, the result you get when looking something up, or the first few things that appear on your feed on social media, are based on what the platform's algorithm determines is most relevant. Unlike social media, however, search engine algorithms such as Google index billions of pages on the internet to present to users based on what keywords they used to search, and then return a list of pages assigned a rank based on the following things:
Of course, this is only a brief list of Google's factors returning results to users for their search queries. But this is a good foundation for high-end brands to understand how to leverage this tool to their advantage as part of their luxury marketing strategy.
Why search is vital to understand is because it will allow consumers to better find you. As a luxury brand, the most applicable marketing strategy is that of a pull mentality, not a push mentality. You want to pull people towards you rather than come off as yearning for attention. And through a solid organic search strategy, a luxury brand can more easily secure its position online and attract consumers than they otherwise could.
What we as a luxury marketing agency want brands to understand is learning how to think like a consumer when using the internet; what proprietors and marketers believe consumers are searching for may not necessarily be exactly what they are looking up.
For instance, the use of words like "luxury," "expensive," or "high-end" before a keyword or search query will not actually do much to restrict your brand and products from being viewed by anyone but affluent consumers; remember that anyone is free to use any of those three terms. Additionally, we've found that high net worth individuals actually don't use the words "luxury," "expensive," or "high-end" in their searches. In reality, affluent consumers don't think of the items or services they spend on as "luxury" because they can afford just about any expense.
With regards to product keyword searches, "luxury" or any other similar keyword pales in comparison. However, product terms in search queries are incredibly generic and difficult for a brand to compete for them through search engine optimization (SEO).
The best way, then, to find success with organic search through SEO is to identify which keywords consumers would use when looking for your product. Again: think relevance. The most applicable keywords tied to your products are certain to provide a greater return than either ranking for terms like "luxury" and "high-end" or generic product searches. You also want to consider the possibility that high net worth individuals have someone doing the searching for them, such as a personal assistant or wealth manager. So you will have to be mindful of what these people will be looking for, as well, and how your brand can rank at the top of their search queries.
Consider the reach of the internet.
Because the internet has opened up the accessibility for luxury brands to reach more people in every corner of the world, you may want to incorporate multilingual capabilities for your luxury eCommerce site and optimize it for keywords in various languages to target non-English speaking affluent consumers.
And while the internet has largely expanded its capacity for users to reach anyone in the world, we can't forget it offers the ability to narrow down our focus to target a selection of people through defining parameters. Of course, this guide refers to the internet's targeting capabilities and its ability to fixate on specific criteria, like demographics, locations, and interests, which leads us to our next point.
PPC campaigns, or pay-per-click campaigns, are an incredibly powerful tool to include in a luxury marketing strategy. Google Ads leverages its users' data collection gathered from website visits, app usage, location to determine a user's age, interests, and even income level—all to the advantage of luxury brands hoping to augment their marketing strategy.
What utilizing the Google search engine means for luxury brands is an incredibly targeted approach to potential consumers.
And while we endorse the use of PPC campaigns to further a luxury brand's online positioning, this should be a supplementary effort to a luxury marketing strategy's organic searches and keyword exertions. The reason why is that we have seen that the effectiveness of PPC only grows if there is a solid foundation for a brand's keywords in place.
Think of it this way: the Google search algorithm exists for one thing—helping people find the most relevant results possible. If paying your way to the top of the search rankings was the only way you could be at the top, then users would not be getting the information they're looking for.
Therefore, Google orders a user's search results to bring the most relevant content to the top first by a series of algorithms, mostly dictated by that page's authority, the number of times that page mentions the term searched, among other things.
This means pages with organized information have the best chance of being indexed at the top of a search query, and in turn can lead to more impressions (the number of times your website is displayed), more clicks, and potentially more sales.
You'll note that having this basic framework in place is advantageous to a luxury marketing strategy because of its foundational influence in determining how a brand ranks on Google. As a luxury marketing agency, we push for SEO because it is a relatively inexpensive method to utilize and one that aligns itself with the pull strategy we spoke of before. By targeting keywords and optimizing so that a website ranks consistently with a specific set of keywords, a luxury marketing strategy can begin to drive traffic for the terms it wishes to associate its brand with.
And on the same note, SEO can greatly benefit from PPC campaigns, whereby if paid ads drive traffic to a site, then the organic ranking could see an indirect boost.
For instance, if your luxury marketing SEO efforts generate a good amount of traffic but do not lead to immediate buyers, a PPC campaign can remarket those same visitors to bring them back to your website and complete their purchase.
Additionally, PPC ads can bolster the effect of a luxury marketing strategy by way of encouraging consumers to visit your site because they've seen both an ad and an organic search result. A consumer previously exposed to a luxury brand is more likely to click and convert than one who has not.
Also, an indirect effect of PPC ads is their contribution to increased site traffic. Of course, websites with higher traffic than other competitors can lead to greater exposure through social media coverage, an avenue that we have already established is crucial in any luxury digital strategy.
But perhaps what most intrigues us as luxury marketers about PPC campaigns is their incredible targeting capabilities. Because these PPC campaigns are tied to the Google search engine—which collects data from users' website visits and interactions, app usage, location—you can easily segment a targeting campaign to determine and narrow your efforts to categories as specific as age range, interests, and income level.
Evidently, a luxury marketing agency can utilize this level of optimization to expand their clients' digital strategies to reach their target audiences in a number of different ways. From honing in on a city of choice to targeting high-income users, specific interests, age range, and even people who have attended high-end events, PPC ads can truly run the gamut in a luxury marketing strategy.
What this also means for luxury brands is that PPC can aim at more "search intent," or people who are looking for something relevant to what you offer and are more likely to make a purchase. These people may type in any various strings of key search terms that an advertiser might have also targeted, resulting in their ads being shown to those people to entice them into visiting their eCommerce site and ultimately complete a purchase.
It's no wide-held secret in the luxury marketing agency space that not every person will purchase on the first encounter. And it's why a luxury digital strategy must encompass display ads to retarget and remind users who have come across your brand that they have not completed their purchase throughout the web. These display ads can be located on specific sites of a luxury brand's choosing where there is a high conviction that people who visit those sites will also be interested in their brand. Or, luxury brands can choose to display ads on domains with specific and proven audience characteristics.
These are all possibilities unlocked by the extensiveness of online marketing. No doubt, these targeting capabilities are a powerful tool in any luxury marketing strategy in that brands can target consumers based on behavior, interests, and demographics to help them locate their niche and complete sales.
Now that we've discussed the tenets of a luxury marketing strategy, it's important to note the significance of a solid eCommerce strategy. As a luxury eCommerce agency, we cannot stress enough that brands must adapt online and learn that in doing so, it is not limited to having a showcase site. What consumers demand from the luxury space is as good an experience online as they would receive in-store.
How this experience is translated online has been a mystery to some. Still, it's best to remind ourselves that what consumers want in a luxury experience is the ability to engage and interact with luxury brands regardless of the medium. Most anything a consumer can do in-store they should be able to do online. And so, if consumers wish to browse through an assortment of a brand's finest wares, they should be able to. If consumers would like to purchase a product online because they prefer doing so from the comfort of their home, they should be able to.
In times like these, both brands and luxury marketing agencies must realize that they need to approach a digital strategy and execute on it, knowing that how they position themselves online is how people will perceive their brand.
Of course, no luxury brand is the same. Each employs its own set of strengths and has its own unique attributes that can be used to decide what features and capabilities will be best to adopt for embracing the digital age.
This doesn't have to be as difficult or daunting as it may sound. Luckily, G & Co. is a full-service luxury digital agency and luxury marketing agency. With a specialized focus on luxury brands, G & Co.'s services range from mobile apps and brand identities to marketing and advertising strategy. Through our work with Burberry, CB2, and Dreem, our reach and level of experience with luxury brands, we're confident we can help make your digital strategy a success.
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