Direct Marketing for Luxury Brands
Q: How can luxury retail brands evolve marketing strategy to more targeted direct marketing instead of broadbased above the line advertising?
A: While it does appear that many luxury retail brands ignore targeted direct marketing, many (shall we call them the ‘smart brands?) don’t.
Think about luxury auto-makers. They typically have sophisticated direct/database marketing strategies in-place. They spend a large amount of marketing dollars maintaining a direct relationship with buyers of their vehicles. They send, for example, elaborate direct mail packages featuring their new cars to their current customers. Why? Because especially with automobiles, loyalty is so very important. They know that owners of luxury autos will usually buy a new car pretty quickly and they’re quite loyal, IF they appreciate the car they own. So, manufacturer from Lexus to Cadillac to Rolls Royce all employ direct marketing as a way to retain customers and build loyalty.
Other luxury retailers are also heavy users of direct response. Think of Tiffany’s catalog (and I don’t think you can get more high-end than Tiffany, can you?). Or, the excellent efforts by Sur La Table, the up-scale cooking supplies retailer that actually evolved from the catalog industry. Nordstroms (arguably the most broad-based high-end department store) has a long history in using direct marketing–from its catalog to its consumer credit card direct mail efforts.
So, I guess my point is–high end retail brands can, and do, use direct marketing as part of their strategic marketing mix.
As a direct marketing advocate, I see the luxury market as ripe for direct response tactics.
- This group (while, sadly, typically unresponsive…) is easy to target, using both compiled and vertical mailing lists. For example, you can easily select consumers with high net worth or people who own expensive homes from the leading compiled lists (think Acxiom or Experian’s consumer files). You can also rent lists of people who’ve purchased high-end products or who subscribe to the right magazines, using vertical lists. If you’re a financial marketer, you can even delve into rich people’s credit history to target the exact buyer who can actually affort your service. Hence, prospecting opportunities are wide open.
- If you can capture buyers’ name, address and email (and you really should start thinking about tactics to allow this), you have the ability, then, to build your own database and start your own dialogue with your customers. As a side benefit, you can use data mining, modeling and profiling tactics to really understand your customers. This knowledge, by the way, can be translated to prospecting efforts, too.
In summary, it’s my firm belief that any business can benefit from incorporating direct marketing tactics into their marketing mix. Whether it’s a social marketing campaign created to boost sales of a high-end, luxury liquor line, or a sophisticated direct mail package designed to retain and up-sell current customers, the opportunities are endless to incorporate measurable direct marketing tactics into your overall marketing mix.
And, at the end of the campaign, won’t it be nice to show your CEO how much profits their marketing dollars have generated? Now, that’s the real beauty of direct marketing, especially in this tough economy.