By the end of this decade, there will be about 400-million luxury consumers worldwide. When you're marketing to them, you'll need to understand who they are and what they're looking for in a luxury shopping experience. Then you can create personalized, high-end marketing materials that are sure to drive engagement, and ultimately, produce satisfied customers.
Let's look at the high-end consumer's buying profile so you can strategically create your marketing materials and attract them to your product or service.
What is Luxury? Defining Luxury Goods and Services
Before we create luxury marketing materials, let's define what luxury is.
Luxury is defined as "a condition of abundance or great ease and comfort—something adding to pleasure or comfort, but not absolutely necessary." That speaks to both a lifestyle and material possessions.
But luxury is largely about having enough money to buy high-priced goods and services. After all, luxury can be found in the retail industry, the travel industry, the auto industry, and of course, the financial services industry.
Though it's important to everything from healthcare to bank marketing, luxury buying is best known as a retail endeavor. Clothing, accessories, and fragrances top the shopping list. But the luxury experience knows no bounds.
Luxury travel boasts five-star hotels and vacation packages, with access to exclusive resorts, spas, tours, and more. The auto industry is loaded with familiar brand names like Porsche, Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Lexus, just to name a handful. And financial services groups offer custom financing with access to prime luxury lending markets for yachts, private jets, RVs, and other unique needs.
Recognizing the High-End Consumer
Before you can sell your luxury goods to a high-end consumer, you need to know who they are. Most luxury brands lose half of their best customers each year by not correctly identifying them.
According to a study by Epsilon—in association with the Luxury Institute—there are four categories of luxury shoppers for brands to pinpoint. Let's take a look at each.
1. Aspirational Shopper
This type of luxury shopper wants to buy from a particular brand, but they aren't able to manage it financially on a regular basis. They're willing to occasionally spend a large amount of their income on bags, watches, gadgets, and other status symbols that are considered "affordable." They typically visit premium outlets, buy from discount boutiques, or shop for lower-priced luxury items like cosmetics.
2. Moments of Wealth
This type of shopper usually saves their money to buy from a particular luxury brand, but they don't buy from them regularly. They usually make one-time purchases over longer periods of time.
3. Dressed for the Part
This is the wannabe luxury shopper. They buy luxury items to make it look like they're living a luxury lifestyle, when, in fact, they don't have the financial resources a true luxury buyer has. This type of shopper usually buys from the fashion, accessories, or even luxury vehicle categories. They're reluctant to buy an expensive home, though.
4. True Luxe
The True Luxe shopper can buy luxury items whenever and wherever they desire with no concern for finances. This type of shopper makes purchases from luxury retailers on a regular basis throughout the year.
You should understand which of these categories your customers fall into. Also, be aware that some customers will "graduate" to the next level. For instance, an Aspirational Shopper may get a college degree and a job that pays them well enough to become part of the Moments of Wealth or Dressed for the Part categories. Have awareness about your customer's potential as a luxury buyer.
Luxury Marketing: Millennials vs. Baby Boomers
Should you focus on one particular segment of the population, like millennials rather than baby boomers? The answer is a resounding maybe.
Millennials and Generation Z do account for almost half the personal luxury goods market worldwide. That may very well direct your attention towards them. But they shouldn't be your only focus.
Deloitte recently projected that there are 99-million millennials versus 77-million baby boomers in the luxury market. So don't forget the boomers. Cultivate the millennials, but be aware that people in their late 50s to early 70s create more spending in the market right now. If you put all your focus on millennials, you'll alienate your loyal, older buyers.
When you do spend your time marketing to millennials, pay attention to trends. The Deloitte Fashion and Luxury Report stated that "millennials were three times more likely to be driven by trend than older consumers." They're also more prone to purchasing services or immediate experiences over objects or goods.
High-End Marketing Materials Strategy
Once you figure out what type of luxury shopper you're marketing to, it's time to look at the varying strategies you can use to speak to them.
According to the Luxury Institute, wealthy consumers typically characterize luxury with three elements: quality, design, and customer service.
- It's luxury if it's the best quality.
- It's luxury if it's aesthetically pleasing.
- It's luxury if it's backed by the best customer service experience.
1. Focus on the Value of Your Product More Than the Price
Luxury buyers care about price, but they're not completely obsessed with it. It isn't their top priority. They're willing to spend more money if they get the quality they desire. People generally associate higher prices with higher quality, but concentrate more on the quality of your product in your marketing efforts than the price.
2. Use the Allure of Exclusivity With Your Product
High-end consumers want something nobody else has. Think limited quantities and limited editions. When only a small number of customers can get your product or service, it creates an exclusivity that many luxury shoppers find appealing. (Note: don't be afraid to raise the price to match the limited quantity.)
3. How to Choose Your Marketing Channels
Do you know where your high-end consumers spend their time? You need to reach them where they already are. Luxury magazines and websites might be a good place to start, where you can consider placing sponsored posts or paid ads.
Maybe influencer marketing is the way to go. According to Statista, over 70% of luxury brands use influencer marketing to reach high-end consumers. Identify the individuals who have influence over potential customers, and get them to use or endorse your product. This will immediately give your brand's image a boost.
4. Reward Premium Clients With Perks
Put an emphasis on the perks you add to larger accounts. When you take care of big-money clients with bonuses and special treatment, you're showing them how much you appreciate their business. Be sure not to skimp, either. You don't need to go crazy with how much you're giving away, but adding items of high-perceived value demonstrates your gratitude.
5. Emphasize the Best Customer Service
It may sound arrogant, but high-end consumers don't like to wait. They expect to be first. So be ready to help them when they need it.
American business author Michael LeBoeuf said:
"A satisfied customer is the best business of all."
That's an accurate statement about any customer, let alone one with high expectations. Luxury consumers put a high priority on customer service. If they don't like how things are going with your product or service, they have the ability (and the capital) to take their business somewhere else. So be sure to give them what they need, when they need it.
It also helps to thank your customers for their loyalty. A great way to do this is with a handwritten message expressing your gratitude. A handwritten message stands out among all the electronic communications that fill our daily lives, like texts and emails. It creates a human connection, and it might also create a customer for life.
If you have a lot of customers to thank, writing notes by hand might be an unreasonably time-consuming task. Consider digitally handwritten cards. You can choose a style that fits perfectly with your brand image or mimic your penmanship. Few communications are as engaging and powerful as the handwritten note.
Request a free sample, complete with premium-quality paper and realistic handwriting styles.
6. Lead Generation Strategy: Share Your Expertise
When you demonstrate your expertise in a specific area—via a blog post, podcast, e-book, etc.—you're creating specific content that your target prospect desires. Address the needs of high-end consumers and you'll position yourself as a luxury expert who knows how to solve their problems. Build a strong relationship with them and you'll gain loyal customers.
Luxury Marketing and the High-End Consumer
In order to appeal to luxury consumers, you'll need to know something about them before creating high-end marketing materials that speak their language. Once you determine what kind of luxury shopper you're targeting, then look at the different strategies you can use to reach them.
Focus primarily on producing the best quality, with outstanding design, and stellar customer service, but don't forget about other desirable elements like exclusivity and perks. Find the high-end consumer where they are with your marketing efforts and share your expertise as someone who can help solve their problems.
You'll be well on your way to not only appealing to the luxury buyer, but also turning them into a long-term, loyal customer.