superyacht marketing forum

What We Learnt From The Superyacht Marketing Forum 2019

Earlier this month the Superyacht Marketing Forum took London’s Shoreditch by storm, held at the 5-Star Curtain Hotel and offering an intimate occasion for the leaders in yacht marketing to come together and share ideas. With representatives from major shipyards including Sunseeker, Princess, Heesen and many more from brokerages, crew agencies, and international yacht shows, the attendees could single-handedly disrupt digital marketing for the entire industry. Relevance is extremely proud to have been invited to speak at the Forum, with our CEO Rumble Romagnoli delivering an insightful speech on the rise of digital marketing in the yachting industry and how this will play out in the future. Below, discover what else we learnt while there. 

Read our top takeaways from the Superyacht Marketing Forum 

Content & Digital Brand Strategy

  • Creative thinking is important. We considered how to think outside the box when selling experiences vs when pushing products. We need to be constantly re-evaluating our performances and capabilities.
  • Communication is changing fast in our digital world, with the rise of voice search (Alexa), touch screen, Augmented Reality, Digital Reality (holograms). Our superyacht marketing strategies need to adapt accordingly.
  • The importance of content in customer experience was reaffirmed across the purchasing process, with the focus on the creation of quality content, PR and social media publications. While yachting remains a high-end industry, targeting only the most exclusive clientèle, the speaker made an argument for also using broader media.
  • Many PRs are ‘boring’ – make sure your message is noteworthy or relevant and find an interesting angle. Get to know the publication/journalist you’re pitching to, so you can work on a targeted pitch rather than sending the same thing to everyone. Magazines don’t want to all feature the same piece of news, they want and need exclusivity. Change your strategy and the architecture of the message. Follow up with the publication afterwards for feedback.
  • Ask your clients to have their clients leave reviews on TripAdvisor, on Google Maps, as people are likely to read them, especially about the quality of services and their personal experience with a brand. Respond to poor reviews, so people can see that your brand strives to satisfy all customers.
  • Brand recognition increases the likelihood of a client to commit to a brand by imposing social symbols. Aston Martin and Sunseeker are, for example, both associated with James Bond. 
  • The superyacht marketing industry is a particular niche that’s best represented by micro-influencers. They should be seen as content creators, not just influencers, as they’ll deliver the message better if they share their own personal experiences. That’s what makes their audience engage; not just a biased review of a product/service, but the fact that they live it. Be ready to invest between £20,000 to £100,000, so you can spread the campaign across several platforms.
  • In the UK, 44% of people trust TV adverts. Targeting Video On Demand (VOD) is a potential goldmine, as people who are watching streaming services will give you their attention and will likely watch the full commercial.
  • The targets to reach UHNWI (there is £31.6 trillion worth of world wealth) are:
    • Fine Art World 
    • Luxury Travel
    • Designer Apparel
    • Luxury Cars

So if you need to associate your brand with another brand to reach a broader range of the world’s wealthiest, choose one of the above niches.

Digital Experience

  • The newer generation of potential clients will be much more difficult to attract, especially when it comes to high-maintenance, high-cost and time-consuming products such as yachts. We questioned whether the pooling of the world’s biggest apps into a single platform would work in our society – the same solution Facebook is trying to push and WeChat is pushing with great success in China – and wondered what that would mean for digital superyacht marketing. Would this ever be achievable in the western competitive world, with our high level of respect for personal privacy?
  • Boat Shows are becoming a post-digital experience for the consumer. Unlike most industries, where the client tours a real shop before ordering online for a better price, clients tour online before shopping at the yacht shows. However, in a fully-digital world, boat shows will have to change.
  • Customer experience in yachting may not be as good as we thought: Dr. Phil Klaus, Professor of Customer Experience and Marketing Strategy at the International University of Monaco, presented some negative client experiences within the superyacht marketing and sales industry. While this holds some truth and the market is a challenging one, with not-so-honest parties occasionally representing interests other than those of the owners, the survey was conducted over just 13 yacht owners. The data is therefore limited and would serve to be developed more. 

That comprises our takeaways from the Superyacht Marketing Forum – we learnt so much and benefitted from an incredible range of speakers. Hopefully, this insight will be helpful for all those who couldn’t attend. See you at the next event!