Do you (truly) know your buyer?
There is a key question floating around across the luxury industry and that touches on the future buyer. For years companies in luxury sectors have been feeling snug in their comfort zones, ticking along to the same proven song and dance.
Nevertheless the shift towards a future that is driven by technology and innovation, providing an experiential experience is slowly creeping up to catch the attention of a generation of new future clients.
Having attended the Superyacht Design Week in London a few weeks back, hosted by the Superyacht Group, I came away with a feeling that all the companies present had a fantastic time discussing what could be, but when it comes to reality and practicality, it is a whole different story. I often wonder when the day will come when a company will finally stomp their feet and stand aside boldly braving the unknown and going for the giant leap towards the necessary change. I was secretly hoping that yachting and shipbuilders would do so but I am not so sure that that day is really close having done a little survey.
Through the means of an unrehearsed and unstructured discussion, Martin Redmayne from Superyacht Group, Marnix Hoekstra from Vripack, Richie Blake, Timur Bozca, Tony Castro and Pieter van Geest imagined the yachts of the future with all the attendees but the question is, was it all just for fun, or was it genuinely inspiration from the floor that will take us to the next level?
As Rory Jackson rightly wrote further to the conference: "Necessity may well be the mother invention, but presumption, perhaps, may be the more risqué aunty." He rightly touched on the fact that back in the heyday when smart phones, tablets and other daily necessities today did not exist, it was up to those manufacturers to launch them for it to then become a mass trend and part of daily life. Same thing today, we just need to make way for those companies, builders and innovators in various luxury industries to actually hear them out.
What has always been an issue is the reliability on what has worked instead of grasping at the opportunity of going ahead with the technology or ideas we constantly hear about yet never see. A concept show specifically targeting yachts for example. No-one has come up with this yet in the yachting industry yet it exists in the automotive and to a certain comparable sense, in fashion too! Weird and wonderful solutions aspiring to be the next big thing, while setting the pace for the next generation of build for example or the technology and interiors that go with it.
What's putting the brakes on in this industry and others? Take aeronautics for example, they are advancing side by side with military technology, which in military terms may be outdated and from a few years back, but which for the Joe Blogs of the world appears to be a WOW factor. Why then can't other industries like yachting also go full steam ahead and share some of its innovations to finally let go of the past and its 'seen that done that' yachts with the 'copy/paste' configurations, hull materials, propulsion and on board technology.
We see a multitude of genius 'kids' out there who are revving to show off their masterpiece projects and only a handful of designers, architects and shipbuilders actually granting them the opportunity to spread their wings.
The young designers for example who attended and were nominated at the Boat International Superyacht Symposium, fast forward a few months and their names gradually fade back into the background. I say crawl out from the back, stand tall and show the world what you have! And to those standing in front of them (generation X and beyond), understand what it is they can bring to the future buyer and actually listen.
You would be surprised by what they have to say and again, last week's design week confirmed this.
Do you know for a fact that all the offerings at the various shows is indeed what the future client is after? Who said green, eco, innovative technology and raw materials couldn't be used to present the yacht of the future? Miss the boat (pardon the pun) and you might be the one at the back when someone actually brave enough does do the leap!
We don't hear about it until it actually happens but how about pooling resources to actually contribute to the next chapter?!
Have you spent time actually identifying who it is your client is, was and will be?
Do you have a hands on CRM approach to properly understand your end buyer, his/her needs, interests and desires?
Do you spend time on an ongoing basis developing an individual case by case scenario, based on the things you learn along the way about the client?
Someone you bump into today without the potential, is actually a budding seed that will one day bloom into your perfect client.
Make sure to nurture that seed to see it through the stages of the client process. Never judge a book by a cover too. Embrace the new tech-savvy generation of buyers.
Your future buyer is an extremely complex individual if you do not pay attention and give him or her the attention they deserve. Listen. It is the key and will make you stand out to be the one who builds on relationships and gets his or her ear. It is amazing how many businesses today are too preoccupied with the revenue and commission dangling in front of their eyes that the bigger picture.
Learn to work in tandem with brands that inevitably are speaking to your end client already. Establish partnerships. Target your client by nurturing and feeding them with what they want, not what you want.
Or even smarter, like the recently launched Lugaci Drivetime, offering a restricted number of UHNWI members a unique opportunity to try out the latest sports cars in their own time, own location and own duration with all the exclusivity and what's more, the world's most amazing key...
A Swiss Rebellion Timepieces watch!
Research. Test. Understand. Advice to take away!
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