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Print vs Digital Marketing In The Media: A Guide For Yachting Brands

M/Y Eminence

M/Y Eminence

When advertising, the ultimate goal is generally to ensure you are making the most impact for the least amount of spend. Yet because print media is seen to be the best way to reach a more exclusive, UHNW audience, it can be easy enough to write it off as a necessary expense, no matter how much the media outlet is charging. At the same time, particularly in the yachting industry, there have been a number of reasons why digital has been slow to catch on, from the exhaustive cost of boat shows to the fact there is less rush to sell.

At Relevance, we like to shake things up. That’s why we have decided to compare print and digital marketing in the media once and for all, assessing the benefits of each for yachting and luxury brands. 

We all suspect digital is cheaper than print, but by how much? SuperYacht Times states that a full-page of advertising reaching approximately 10,000 people costs €4,500, meaning you spend 45 cents reaching each person. Meanwhile, a digital MPU or Leaderboard display ad costs just €35 to reach 1,000 people, meaning you only spend 3.5 cents to reach each person. While cost is by no means the only factor in deciding where exclusive brands should advertise, it’s worth noting that in this instance print is over ten times more expensive than digital.

As you read through this assessment, it’s important to think about the objectives behind each advertising opportunity you take as a luxury brand, as this will allow you to get the results you want. For example, if your goal is to get more data about your readership, then digital will amaze you with its range of opportunities. Meanwhile, those who want to ensure they always have their reader’s undivided attention may want to incorporate print into their strategy. Read on for the full debate.

Digital opens new doors

We have already pointed out that digital is much cheaper. However, just as high-net-worth-individuals don’t buy high street brands simply because they are cheaper, luxury brands shouldn’t just opt for the cheapest method of media marketing without considering other factors. So what else does digital have to offer? 

The first thing to consider is how many UHNWIs use the internet on a regular basis. A study by PwC back in 2016 revealed that 98% of UHNWIs use internet apps daily, with 85% using three or more devices. The world’s richest, who are unequivocally the target audience for yacht brokerages, have traditionally been early adopters of emerging products, and this extends to online and mobile shopping, allowing wealthy individuals to get what they want, where they want it, to an even greater extent. Hence, it makes sense to advertise your brand in a space that you know your customer frequently and increasingly visits.

This takes us to the next point in the print and digital marketing debate – how much easier it is for the client or customer to contact a yachting company and browse their offerings from a digital publication than from a printed magazine or newspaper. Many luxury printed spreads do not even include a website or phone number – instead they aim to create a fascination around the brands which leaves people desperate to find out more. 

However, with so many of today’s customers reliant on being able to easily hop over to a website and immerse themselves in products, the fact that this doesn’t work on print could lead to UHNW customers getting lost after viewing your ad, no matter how stunning it is. Interestingly, a study by RAMetrics in 2017 found that after viewing a selection of both print or digital ads, readers could recall 72% of print ads and just 28% of digital ads, although once recalled they were similarly effective in converting engagement to action. Yet many digital ads do not require users to recall them, as they can just click through, perhaps giving them an edge. 

Reach also typically increases on digital platforms when compared to print, with fewer and fewer people – the world’s wealthiest included – buying print publications anymore. Even the most successful magazines have had to adapt to offer a brand-appropriate digital platform, where UHNW millennials flock to. For example, Vogue now has, which sees an incredible c.3 million unique users – and counting – visit every month, compared to the print magazine’s circulation of just under 200,000. Boat International’s print publication has a circulation of 14,600, while its digital platform sees 784,631 readers visit monthly.

The fact that this online content is often either free or with an easily-navigated paywall means that it reaches more and more people; not to mention the shareability of online articles, allowing articles to go ‘viral’ and reach new audiences that you may never have even dreamed of. We also noted that has an average readership age of 35, whereas the print magazine’s average reader is 37 – a subtle but still significant difference. So, if your goal is to increase brand awareness, especially amongst younger buyers, digital may well be the right option for you. 

With digital advertising, you also have the freedom to use videos, podcasts, and encourage people to share your advertisement or engage with it. However, with print advertising, you are restricted to text and images.

Yet print remains invaluable

Yet the battle is not yet won in print vs digital marketing, with print presenting a whole wealth of its own advantages. 

Press releases can still make their way across global news mediums – the old school method of going viral, offering unimaginable levels of good publicity if you get it right. At Relevance we had the pleasure of working with jet aviation brand NetJets to create a series of press trips for world-renowned journalists, giving them a holiday to remember on behalf of the brand. Our efforts landed Netjets in a number of top-tier publications, including The Economist, Spear’s Wealth Management, Vogue (France), Vogue (USA), Forbes, Luxury Briefing and Boat International, and getting their name out to all the right people.

Although of course PR often gets uploaded to digital sites as well, print PR marketing makes it easier to guarantee you are reaching your target audience – vital if you are spending significantly more on it. Many yachts and upscale hotels host a selection of luxury publications for their high-net-worth clients to peruse, while the fact that you actively have to purchase a print mag means the readers are almost definitely interested in the topic in question. It also makes it easier to hold this target audience’s attention. People normally devote their attention to a newspaper or a magazine article, but multitask while consuming digital content – this is likely why we saw many more readers being able to remember print ads than digital in our earlier statistic.

It’s also worth noting that print media seems to be consumed by a generally wealthier audience.  A study by the U.S. Postal Service in 2017 showed that households with incomes above $100,000 receive twice as many periodicals than those with incomes less than $35,000; this suggests that anyone reading a print publication has a higher chance of being a prospective customer or client for luxury brands. And even though it may seem like baby boomers are the only ones still actually reading print, research has found this not to be true. Indeed, a 2016 study by Vivdata found that more than two-thirds of millennials regularly read a magazine, and of those all but 14% read a print copy.

Another thing to consider in the print vs digital marketing debate is the stronger impact that brands, and particularly luxury brands, can have in print. For businesses that invest in the best photographers, stylists, and models, spending precious time selecting the perfect shoot locations, the controlled medium of print is a much better way of showcasing this hard work than a smartphone or computer, where factors like brightness, hues, and blue light may affect the quality of the imagery. Print allows luxury companies to ensure their branding is perfectly executed, every time.

However, possibly the most important feature is the trust that UHNWIs of all ages have in print magazines and newspapers. Whether this is due to the tangible nature of a printed product, the technology glut which has led many to try to detox from digital, or the fear of data breaches and lack of privacy, the fact is that many of the world’s wealthiest consumers still trust print media more than digital. A 2017 study by Marketing Sherpa revealed that 82% of people trust print advertising the most when they want to make a purchase decision. Whereas 61% of people trusted PPC ads, 49% of people trusted video advertising, and 43% of people trusted social media advertisements.

It’s important to remember that various elements affect the credibility of a digital platform – not just the look and usability of that website, but also intrusive pop-ups, trolls, and generally inaccurate adverts. These factors can decrease a consumer’s perceived value of the product or brand being advertised on this site.

So what to do…

For highly prestigious brands, print advertising is necessary to assert dominance over their respective markets. Yet for increased results and long term prosperity, investing in the digital world is an absolute must.

There can be thousands of touchpoints for a potential buyer before they eventually purchase a yacht. In this example journey below, we’ve mapped out 26 of the most important touchpoints on their road to buying a yacht.

Starting from being invited onto a friend’s yacht, and with significant ad viewing and Google searching along the way, the buyer is ultimately guided towards calling the yacht broker through a combination of both online and offline touchpoints. This demonstrates that a perfectly blended balance of the two is the best way forward for yachting and other luxury businesses.

To find that ultimate combination, get in contact with a member of our expert team today. If you would like to learn more, please take a look at our CEO’s presentation from The Superyacht Marketing Forum by Superyacht News; about the rise of digital marketing in the yachting industry.

By Colette Flowerdew-Kincaid

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