It's just one more week before Forrester's Forum For Marketing Leaders EMEA (May 21st to 22nd) in London kicks off. Our analysts are excited to unveil the latest Forrester ideas such as the mobile mind shift in Europe, the database of affinity (in which we expect Google to win platform of choice over Facebook), and the latest in mobile marketing and engagement. Our analysts will combine forces with industry keynote speakers such as Frank Boulben, chief marketing officer at Blackberry; Markus Kramer, global marketing director at Aston Martin Lagonda; Pete Blackshaw, global head of digital and social media at Nestlé; Greg Williams, executive editor at Wired; Yannick Grecourt, COO, head of strategy and marketing at Deutsche Bank Belgium; and Micke Paqvalen, founder and chairman of the innovative startup Kiosked.
As we make our final preparations for the event, I caught up with Markus Kramer, global marketing director at Aston Martin Lagonda, about the opportunities and challenges specific to luxury brand marketing. Here's what he had to say:
Q: Based on your experiences at Aston Martin, and before that at Harley-Davidson, what in your view makes marketing for luxury brands different?
One of my responsibilities at Forrester is editing our Technographics® research deliverables globally. In recent years, we have regularly published reports on consumer behaviors in emerging markets, including the BRIC countries. One aspect of this global data really intrigues me: the success of luxury brands and the profile of luxury goods buyers in these markets.
China has emerged as one of the world's largest luxury goods markets: According to the World Luxury Association, shoppers from Japan represent 29% of the world market share of luxury goods sales; China, 27%; Europe, 18%; and the US, just 14%.
How are Chinese luxury goods buyers different from their non-luxury goods buyer counterparts? Forrester's Technographics® data shows that Chinese luxury goods buyers are similar in terms of age and gender to non-luxury buyers, but they tend to have higher incomes. However, they differ significantly with regards to lifestyle and social attitudes.
There are a few firms that I regularly point to as agile commerce exemplars, and one of them is Burberry.
This always makes me smile because being from the north of England and growing up in a culture dominated by shipbuilding and football (and Newcastle Brown Ale), Burberry has long been the iconic garb of the “chav.” Since many of the people who read this blog aren’t from the UK, a quick cultural diversion is probably needed here. But don’t worry - it's relevant to the Burberry story. Honest.
On the heels of some positive court decisions earlier this year, Google today announced that they're changing their keyword bidding policies in Europe to match those already in place in the US, the UK, and elsewhere. Most notably, this means European marketers will now be able to display paid listings to users searching for other companies' trademarks. There's lots of coverage around, including:
Obviously, this isn't great news for brands. That's why Louis Vuitton and others were fighting against these policies in court; they've worked hard to build brand recognition and credibility and to drive the consumer desire that leads to a Web search -- and they feel as if Google is making money by selling those consumers to other marketers at the last moment.
But brands don't always lose. Sometimes those other marketers will be competitors, of course -- but sometimes they'll be the channel partners of the brands being searched for. Sony, for instance, shouldn't have any problem with Amazon.com and other retailers advertising Sony's digital cameras when consumers search for those cameras by name. For the retailers, then, this decision is a win: They have more freedom than before to target in-market buyers, no matter the brand for which they're searching.