How to choose a digital marketing agency for luxury brands

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Relevance provide tips for selecting the right digital marketing agency. / Maid Milinkic

Selecting a digital marketing agency for a regular mainstream brand is one thing, but for luxury brands that are seeking to reach ultra-high-net worth individuals (UHNWIs) choosing a digital marketing agency to partner with requires an entirely different approach.

Not only does the digital marketing agency need to have all the standard skills you would expect from an experienced agency, but they also need to have an understanding of this incredibly niche market.

The world of luxury goods and how HNWIs and UHNWIs are consuming them is rapidly evolving. With a growing number of millennials now making up UHNWIs, choosing a digital marketing agency that truly understands the latest trends and consumer habits is a must.

And, when you consider that a recent report by professional services firm PwC found that 98% of HNWIs access the internet daily, choosing the right digital marketing agency has never been more important.

In the world of luxury brand marketing you need an out-of-the-ordinary digital marketing agency to truly reach your target audience.

Prioritise experience and know-how in the luxury sector

It should go without saying, but a luxury brand needs an agency that specialises in luxury brand marketing. After all, this is a completely different audience from mass marketing. You should therefore partner with a skilled digital marketing agency that has a profound understanding of the mindset, passions, and interests of UHNWIs in order to reach them effectively.

UHNWIs are not your typical consumer, so standard digital marketing strategies and techniques rarely work. Indeed, “you’ll need an agency that offers bespoke digital techniques that transcend traditional practices in order to reach UHNWIs”.

You’ll need an agency that can precisely answer who UHNWIs are, including, for example, what they do, where they live, what they read, and how they spend their down-time.

Additionally, you’ll want an agency that has undertaken extensive research and has the data, know-how, and experience to truly understand this niche market and how to connect with them.

For example, how UHNWIs engage with brands digitally is entirely different from the average consumer. Campaigns have to be highly tailored as they are aimed at a much smaller number of consumers,so getting it right first time is paramount.

There are a variety of tried-and-tested digital marketing strategies for UHNWIs which can work well for luxury brands, including specialised landing pages, expertly executed PPC campaigns, blogging, social media, and well-researched editorial articles carefully placed in select publications. For more on this, check out an article that I authored early 2019 on the Relevance blog - “Digital Marketing to High-Net-Worth Individuals.”

Take time to ensure that your agency truly understands how to utilise each of the above strategies, as well as how to tailor them specifically to reach UHNWIs.

At Relevance we always start by profiling UHNWIs. From our data and know-how, we know there are 10 unique profiles, including CEOs, trendsetters and influencers, celebrities, financiers, business owners, start-up entrepreneurs, lawyers, the independently wealthy, sports professionals, and politicians. Once we have ascertained which group is relevant, we then use our extensive experience and the data we have developed to create highly impactful digital marketing strategies in order to reach our client’s target audience. Only then do we start our campaigns.

UHNWIs and HNWIs are often seen as interchangeable, however they are very different audiences and reaching these two distinct audiences requires quite different digital marketing strategies. Make sure you check which of these audiences an agency has experience of reaching before committing to working with them.

Ask who is writing the content

When choosing a digital marketing agency to help with your luxury brand marketing you’ll ideally want content writers who truly understand how to write copy that attracts and engages with UHNWIs. They should have a good grasp of the lifestyle of UHNWIs and what makes these individuals tick.

Whether it is private aviation, cars, superyachts, exclusive rentals and hotels, luxury health care, fashion, or jewellery, you’ll want content specialists who are able to demonstrate a portfolio of content on a given specific area to ensure content that engages with its target audience.

Of course, search engine optimisation is key to developing great content, but disregard an agency that suggests using keywords such as “luxury” or “expensive” - these words are far too generic to reach UHNWIs in any meaningful way.

Don’t be afraid to ask your agency to provide a content portfolio, allowing you to get an idea of whether you like their writers’ style and tone.

Check what PR & influencer connections they have

Many agencies offer PR services, but without connections to media houses and the right journalists, your story is unlikely to go far.

In the world of luxury brand marketing you need PR experts that boast contacts with some of the most desirable media outlets in the world, alongside niche media outlets that specifically target UHNWIs. This will ensure that you not only reach UHNWIs but that you reach them in a way that resonates with them too.

For example, high-quality placements will ensure your digital marketing campaigns reach a qualified audience that have attained a level of wealth a luxury brand requires.

That’s why it is so important to check what kind of PR network an agency has before committing to work with them.

Influencers are also a key way to reaching UHNWIs, so you’ll need an agency that has contacts with the right ones. Don’t be misled by an agency that tells you they have an extensive network of influencers who boast a high number of followers. In the world of luxury brand marketing it’s all about reaching a small, yet highly qualified audience. An influencer with a small number of highly qualified followers will likely have far more impact than a more generic influencer with a much larger number of followers.

Check that you’ll be in good company

A portfolio of work across various premium sectors, such as fashion, beauty, interiors, superyachts, and private jets, demonstrates that an agency is truly versatile. Indeed, a versatile portfolio enables an agency to build up a wealth of knowledge and establish a solid customer profile, which enables them to better understand the buying habits and mindsets of UHNWIs.

You’ll also want to ensure the agency has a deep understanding of your specific luxury market. For example, a digital marketing campaign for a luxury belt will be very different to that for personalised diamond jewellery and as such these will require quite different strategies.

Staying up to date with industry news is also vital in order to keep marketing efforts cutting-edge and innovative, so ask how often an agency attends important luxury events and conferences. It's also worth reaching out to previous clients of the agency to better understand how they work and whether they are the right fit for you.

Check which services they excel in

This all comes down to what you are looking for - the ideal situation is a full-service digital agency that is incredible at every single one of those digital marketing services.

However, one of the main things to check is what branding or design work they have achieved, whether they are proficient in mobile, and - especially important for non-e-commerce brands – what their CRM capabilities are.

Luxury brands need to have a luxurious online presence, meaning design proficiency is ultra-important. UHNWIs are always on the move, making mobile so important to get right if you want to impress them at every point of contact.

Many premium brands do not have e-commerce sites, due to the extremely high value of their products. This can make it hard to track whether an agency’s hard work has paid-off, so when choosing a digital agency, check that they have the CRM capabilities to show you their impact on your business - and your ROI. And of course, if there is any other service you know that you require, ensure they are experts in that too.

Elevate your digital marketing strategy

Boasting decades of refined expertise in ultra-luxury brand marketing, Relevance combines a personalised boutique service with the resources and all-in-one offerings of a larger agency.

A full-service award-winning digital marketing agency with more than 10 years of luxury brand marketing and more than 20 years digital marketing experience, Relevance specialises in targeting HNWIs and UHNWIs.

Headquartered in Monaco with offices in London, Geneva and New-York, our collective of creatives and digital strategists are passionate goal-setters with a wealth of experience and expertise in the luxury sector. Alongside a full-suite of digital marketing offerings, we also offer full website builds.

Our team attends international shows/events such as the Monaco Yacht Show, the world’s premier superyacht show; the Geneva International Motor Show - the international car exposition; the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, the world’s largest aviation convention in Geneva; the premier global fashion event COTERIE in New-York; the high-end watch show - Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva; and Maison & Objet - a major trade show for interior design. We also attend a selection of SEO and PPC conferences such as the bi-annual Brighton SEO event, one of the largest gatherings of SEO professionals in the world.

All of this allows us to provide our clients with new ideas and be ‘in the know’ about the latest UHNWIs trends. Additionally, our portfolio of established clients demonstrate our capabilities and expertise in luxury brand marketing to UHNWIs.

If you think we could help you promote your luxury brand/company, contact Relevance.

Rumble Romagnoli, director and CEO at Relevance.

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