En Vogue: DM and luxury brands

Luxury brands are increasingly turning to traditional forms of analogue marketing, such as direct mail, to diversify from digital advertising channels, where recent privacy changes make it more difficult for brands to reach customers, new research reveals. 

Almost a decade after launching, Mansur Gavriel introduced its first direct marketing campaign this month. It comes in the form of a free 32-page book featuring new editorial imagery as well as memorable past campaigns and original artwork inspired by the brand’s signature bucket bag.

“Digital is so fast that we were missing the ability to talk about our brand, what we care about and what we stand for. Direct mail is a way for us to tell our story long-form, which appeals to us, because Mansur Gavriel has always been focused on art and photography and not just clothes,” said Mansur Gavriel’s chief executive Isabelle Fevrier. Digital marketing is also becoming much more expensive.

In the past year, as fashion shows went online, brands found new ways to reach customers in person. Chanel, Dior, Prada, Loewe and Alighieri have all sent physical items through the post that offered a closer, more intimate look at their collections to top spending customers, who are increasingly expecting brands to come to them. The tangible items are like keepsakes, rather than disposable catalogues, and truly bring people into the brand.

As those of us in the industry know, direct mail isn’t a new concept, but brands are increasingly looking at new and innovative ways to engage with customers via their letterbox. This is particularly true now, at a time when online spaces are now flooded with content and it’s tougher to stand out online.

Direct mail is also becoming an advertising alternative as brands find a way to prepare for Apple and Google's upcoming privacy changes, which will make it harder for marketers to track consumer data and personalise. 

Direct marketing is especially relevant to the luxury space because it acts as a kind of differentiator in ways beyond products or the services that brands sell. Mansur Gavriel has already seen a clear jump in new customer acquisition and good conversion rates, according to Fevrier. The aim was to reach 40 per cent of current customers and 60 per cent prospective ones, demonstrating the reach of direct mail. 

Another brand turning to DM is contemporary label Frances Valentine which launched its first direct mail campaign in June 2020 when stores closed and shows were cancelled during global lockdowns. The brand relied solely on digital marketing previously, but direct mail offered it a way to connect intimately with customers. The brand beat estimates of catalogue sales by 215 per cent, according to co-founder Elyce Arons, and it plans to double its direct mail campaigns this year. 

Of course, the key to direct mail for many upscale brands is targeting. Risk getting it wrong and you alienate potentially high net worth customers with significant lifetime value. That is why data hygiene is absolutely critical for organisations turning to this powerful medium. Ensuring you remove customers that have passed away, for example, not only saves precious marketing budget, but also ensures that the brand does not inadvertently cause distress to bereaved families. Moreover, ensuring accurate data is critical to ensure that high value customers are not being over supressed, which is a concern for all luxiury brands.

For further information about best practice data hygiene please don’t hesitate to contact us.