How Louis Vuitton Rocks Sky-High Prices

This article takes a marketing practitioners applicable approach to recent research posted in the Journal of Retailing, of which I rarely cover. The original piece is Consumer Perceptions of How Luxury Brand Stores Become Art Institutions. 

To simplify what we can use from the research, we need to understand three things.

1.There is an abundance of rich people willing to make purchases right now.

2. Rich people dislike over-commercialization.

3. Rich people appreciate art.

Let’s face it, once a brand conforms to the usual and begins blasting promotions in your face, it’s no longer as special. Thus, the value of a premium consumer brand judged on prestige and aesthetics inherently drops in the eyes of the elite. We have seen in recent times a growth in high income spenders, and Louis Vuitton has been reaping the benefits.

Now we can comfortably say, Louis Vuitton’s competition is likely not blasting promotions at consumers understanding the principle stated above. So how is it that they are further distinguishing themselves? Have you walked into their store lately?

They don’t have stores they have galleries. Shelled in a story of its more than century old heritage and hand-made dedication, Vuitton makes an effort to distinguish their pieces from others’ products. Their stores look like art institutions, are designed by world renowned artists, and contain their products literally among-st fine art decor.

The point to take away here: Art can be valued however high you like. Because Loius Vuitton can be commoditized, it’s value does not have to drop with the flubbers of the economy like other commercial items.


Segmenting Your Market

Segmenting Your Market Properly

This is too often overlooked. How do you go about segmenting your market? Is there more than one way? How many segments do you have? Are they capable of being broken done further? If you did segment them further, would it improve or worsen your efforts? How so?

Let’s take an example, let’s say we sell… mmm… surfboards, surf equipment and other surf-related things. The first thought is “Troy, you only have one market! Surfers!” Well, if we try to target everyone that might potentially buy our stuff with the same message (while easy) we will likely be ignored by most.

We want to send them contextual and relevant messages to gain their attention.

Potential Market Segment Strategy:

  • Surfers
    • Leisure Surfers
      • Long Boarders
      • Short Boarders
    • Professional Surfers
      • Further breakdown by style?
      • Further breakdown geographically
      • Further breakdown by price points
  • Organizations
    • Surf Clubs
    • Schools
    • Beach-front hotels
    • Beach-front churches
  • Beach Enthusiasts
    • Near the beach
    • Inland

This is a rough demonstration, but you can see how many different messages may actually need to be developed. Each of those segments has its own set of needs. Its up to you to decide how deep to segment, technically you could go infinitely deep to the individual, but I’d doubt its worth the time and effort. For example, depending on your business, you may or may not want to target the above “Organizations” individually or as a conglomerate. Doing them individually might make you more relevant to them, but that means extra time and effort on your part.



Online vs. offline marketing

I’ve been hearing quite a bit about combining online and offline efforts to achieve the greatest presence. Having both the quick online elements of being instantaneously responsive and perfectly targeted as well as the offline element of community. As John points out in his book “The Referral Engine”, most businesses are heavily one or the other.

Every business is different, but it seems to me each has it’s own unique situation in which to attempt the consolidation of these two very different efforts into one conglomerate machine. What is your situation?

  • Small business,one location, few employees?
  • Mid-level business, three locations, many employees?
  • Sole proprietor?
  • Very large business, global locations?

If your product is worth enough weight per customer, maybe it’s a matter of flying more frequently to meet customers. Maybe your product is dollars per sale, what then? Perhaps you could design a system of incentive-based pulleys or triggers amongst customers, partners, or employees. I’ll have to address this topic more pragmatically in my next post…

Guerrilla Marketing like Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Arcade Fire, & Lil’ Wayne

Pink Floyd performed a concert in 1971 for ghosts Live at Pompeii. The recorded footage of the performance has become a landmark of classic rock concerts. Radiohead released their album “In Rainbows” as a pay-as-you-want download in a time where piracy had virtually destroyed common record sales. The stunt sat well with their loyal fan base and generated what appeared to be more revenue than if they had released it at normal cost. Arcade Fire recorded their song Neon Bible with all seven members crammed inside of an elevator. The performance went viral. Perhaps you haven’t heard of these artists? Hell, even Lil’ Wayne managed to turn a prison sentence into a brilliant Free Weezy merchandise opportunity.

There are 100’s of creative ways artists have managed to market their products. Would it be foolish to think some of these concepts may be transferable to the broader B2C business world?

Pattern Recognition & Marketing

Arguments have been made claiming that IQ tests don’t dictate every aspect of intelligence. While those cases should be heard for the perspective they provide, IQ tests certainly cover an important aspect of human intellect. Pattern recognition.

Everything can come down to pattern recognition. Why you can push off an assignment knowing the typical response of a teacher, why an infant can discern that his father is home because the sight of work boots on the floor, why we know that people who attend college tend to achieve higher wages, even the reason why we have found medicines that work better than their alternatives. You can apply this concept to nearly everything you can imagine.

While an important function for any human to succeed, it is perhaps more important to the marketer than anyone else. Marketers need to know what message presented in what way on which medium at which time where will deliver the most bang for the buck. How can they know this? Well, looking at historical examples and relying on inner intuition of course, both of which are formed on past experience (a.k.a. patterns).

There is most definitely a message that could have an extra-ordinary impact on your customers, you just have to know how to unlock it. It involves looking at the chaos and discovering a pattern or logic to the madness, and then taking that logic and applying it to your marketing approach. This is why pattern recognition matters. This is why marketers must think inside the box, outside the box, on the plane of the box, of the box, about the box, around the box, why the box, how the box, where the box, and beyond in a million different ways.

“Creativity is seeing what others see and thinking what no one else has ever thought.” – Einstein 

Pattern Recognition & Marketing ♠