The 10 Rules of Digital Marketing Success


Follow these rules and thrive, ignore them – and fail!


Leaders of luxury travel and hospitality, beware! If you want to be successful in the modern, digital-first world you need to embrace a new way of doing digital marketing. Gone are the days of blindly throwing together websites and ads while outsourcing important digital activities to interns and junior staff. Without deep thinking, analyzing data, and using consumer psychology and luxury aesthetics to its fullest potential, once famous heritage brands will fall into obscurity and upcoming ones will drown in the noise discounters, OTAs and mass-market travel providers generate every day. If you want to be a market leader of tomorrow and keep successfully selling to affluent travelers globally, you need to follow these 10 simple rules we have laid out here.


01. Think before you act


Take the time to analyze, strategize and plan first. This will allow you to ensure you are targeting the right people, the right way, at the right time. Without creating fitting luxury personas based on actual data and research that account for digital behavior patterns and media consumption trends you won’t know where and how to properly leverage your content, website, and advertising. The times when having a pretty but useless website with a phone number on was enough to win over luxury consumers are long gone. Don’t just throw something random together and call it a luxury marketing plan if you want to succeed.


02. Build a funnel


Think in funnels and lifecycles, not individual campaigns or tactics. Otherwise, you will get stuck chasing the perfect photoshoot, the perfect platform, or the perfect messaging that immediately converts people into customers without much effort. That simply doesn’t work. Modern luxury marketing needs to account for the fact that people need to get to know your brand first before you pull them in, collect their data and show them offers that are personalized and unique. No more ignorant one size fits all campaigns. Good luxury marketing takes the long-term view, especially online. There are no shortcuts in digital marketing, just hard work, analysis, and experimentation.


03. Stop flying blind


Leverage your data and learn from it. This will allow you to overcome your weaknesses and exploit the strengths of your brand much faster than usual. It doesn’t matter if you are a new brand or established player in the market. You need to look for current market research and combine that with your website, email, finance, sales and marketing data to see the big picture. Don’t be biased or just “trust your gut”, that path leads to financial failure usually.


04. Learn to read minds


Give luxury consumers what they truly want, not what they say they want. By using neuromarketing and user research principles you can dive into the subconscious mind of your consumers and profile them based on what really resonates with them in marketing and sales. This will allow you to customize your marketing and offering in a way that the luxury sale becomes natural and effortless. Use that to your advantage, don’t just assume you know your customers based on what worked 5 or 10 years ago. The world is constantly changing and so do your customers. Don’t be ignorant.


05. Take risks


All profits come from risk. Sometimes using a new technology, advertising channel, content format or art direction can mean deviating from how your brand usually presents itself online or how you have been generating sales in the past. But successful experiments in these areas can propel your luxury brand to new heights and open up completely new market segments to you. Without experimentation you can never create outstanding success. By playing it too safe most people never achieve their goals. Without risk there can be no profits. And no profit means no growth.


06. Pay for quality


Budget accordingly if you want to sell to the affluent. Don’t assume success in digital marketing comes overnight or cheap. Good design, copywriting, advertising and skillful technology application all are worth their weight in gold. By embracing that fact, you can start looking for quality instead of quantity when buying marketing assets and services. Which ultimately always leads to better results down the line anyway. Don’t get into digital marketing if you can’t go the distance or if you are afraid your money will run out quick. If you think you can sell expensive trips and five star suites to millionaires and billionaires without seriously investing in your business and promotion first, then you are in for a rude awakening.


07. Seek balance


Sales can’t be the boss in your company, neither should be marketing. Sales and marketing needs to work together in the digital world and collaborate to capture the modern affluent customer and make the sale. One should not dominate the other when it comes to making decisions, allocating budgets and planning initiatives. Overbearing, skeptical sales people can quickly drown all the creativity in your marketing and make you look commercial, outdated, boring and stale. Artsy brand marketers running wild on the other side can derail your sales performance and blow your budget faster than you can blink an eye. Give preference to one over the other at your own peril.


08. Attention spans are short


Make life easy for your customers. UX/UI and CRO are the lifeblood of the modern digital luxury experience. If you make it easy for them to do business with you and if you qualify them correctly in the process, sales just become a formality. If your consumers cannot find what they need on your website, app or digital showroom within seconds, then you have already lost the sale. Design your digital assets and navigation in a way that is natural, convenient, smart and elegant. Inject a human touch at times if necessary. Analyze how people interact with what you have built and improve over time based on these observations. If your website looks like a labyrinth, then your customers will get lost and blame you for it by buying somewhere else.


09. Be direct and be rewarded


Traditionally luxury marketers used to only care about the brand and how it is perceived by the larger public. Desired by many, available to few, sold in retail might have worked in the analogue world where everything was sold face to face, but in the digital world you need to (re)take control of your direct channels by using remarketing, smart CTAs, well-designed forms and ecommerce checkouts that actually work. If you do that it will become painfully obvious to you that the favorite place customers like to buy from is always directly on your website. Don’t rely only on third parties, OTAs or referral networks, own your conversions, take responsibility and your profits will skyrocket.


10. Work smart, not hard


Don’t give up, but don’t torture yourself either. Educate yourself or try to work with the right partners that can guide you. The right mindset is much more important than some people would like to admit. Don’t chase the magic bullet or overnight success, so many marketers and business owners have fallen into that trap never to recover. If things fail or break, learn from it and iterate. Be agile and flexible. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket or overcommit too fast. Accept that digital transformation is a journey without end and success will come in the form of increased high-ticket sales, more brand recognition, and stronger pricing power.