The industry is pushing ahead to launch new solutions to help our clients and the yachting industry survive the coronavirus crisis. For the marketing ringleaders among us, there is an urgency to reach audiences that are now in the confines of their homes by making the most of digital tools.
For the fifth SuperYacht Times Webinar, yachting expert Hein Velema brought together Bob Denison, owner of Denison Yachting, Tim Davis, Chief Marketing Officer for Burgess, Ferretti Group’s CCO Stefano de Vivo, and Benedetta Moreno, Global Head of Marketing & Communication at Benetti to discuss all things superyacht marketing and get the scoop on the status of their strategies. Missed out? Catch up with the full 45-minute video here, plus take away a few key points from the discussion.
How can the marketing world best adapt to the current global situation?
Benedetta Moreno, Benetti: “One of the key duties of any marketing department is to assess the needs of the market; and in front of such unprecedented and global change we have adjusted our marketing programmes to touch more on digital activities. However, going digital is quite challenging for us Italians who are used to having a very physical and emotional relationship with our clients. By utilising the power of social media, I believe that companies and corporations will be crafting content of value rather than just increasing the amount of shares. This will be more authentic and more also recognised. So this is the approach that we at Benetti have taken.”
Tim Davis, Burgess: “I think it's about trying to talk to our clients about where they can go, allowing them to dream and give them the inspiration for when they can travel the world again. Right now, the focus is about understanding the tone that should be delivered in consideration of the sensitivities around the world; and making sure that we're delivering a message that is perhaps not too commercial.”
Bob Denison, Denison: “One of the things that we've really figured out is that there are so many touchpoints through a client's journey from their first inquiry to finding a boat. That touchpoint could be something like an article on SuperYacht Times, an interaction at a boat show or an email blast. So for us looking at our marketing budget, we usually divide it into two columns. One is going to be branding and the other is lead generation. Now, we've moved almost all the money from branding and shifted it over to lead generation.”Photo: Charl van Rooy / SuperYacht Times
Are marketing budgets being cut?
Stefano de Vivo, Ferretti Group: “We're going to keep the budget the same. Boat shows and events represent about 65% of our yearly marketing budget so now, we can find the funds to do and try different things. For example, redesigning our websites.”
Tim Davis, Burgess: “We've got to protect our people first and foremost and retain talent for the long term. Also by reviewing the full scope of the marketing mix, we are making sure that we're getting value for money from all elements. Print advertising is one of those elements to question first. Right now, how is our client going to consume our message? With more people at home, our message is going to be delivered to their laptop or iPhone. In adapting our marketing budget to focus on delivering those ideas across the platforms that people are engaging with during this time. We've seen some significant increases in terms of traffic and so that's where we need to continue to invest. Burgess has over 20 360° tools on our website for our yachts and we're seeing really great engagement in time on site from those. I think it's about ensuring that the end customer is happy and have them feeling that this experience is totally focused on them."Photo: Charl van Rooy / SuperYacht Times
Have the virtual boat shows been successful so far?
Bob Denison, Denison: “The in-house team created a UX/UI experience that a user could look around and feel like they're walking through a boat with a broker with a live stream so brokers could also be interviewed. Denison had the single best traffic day ever in the history of our website because of this, at its busiest, there were 4,000 people on our site at the same time. We've had two offers, one of them was with a past client in the seven-digit range that we're still working on. I would encourage every single brokerage house or dealer to tap into the virtual assets.” Photo: Charl van Rooy / SuperYacht Times
What new ideas have marketing teams been coming up with?
Stefano de Vivo, Ferretti Group: “Let's not forget that in this industry we sell experiences, so virtual tours don’t always cut it. The boat show is the only moment you really can show the boat in all its glory, but how much do you spend every year on boat shows? And how much would it cost you to organise and choose a set number of special clients, fly them in and treat them with a very personal experience? I think we’ll probably start changing the way we do things.”
Benedetta Moreno, Benetti: “It's not really about cutting budgets or making savings, it is more about being in control and being considerate. In every challenge lies an opportunity, we are finding new ways to engage with our customer; maybe even by building our own boat show as industry players. If we are more involved in the organisation of shows and user experiences, we could definitely add value rather than leaving it to other organisers.”
Tim Davis, Burgess: “Personal experiences for a potential client should be done anyway. Collectively, it's our challenge to bring more people into this industry and find the owners and charterers of tomorrow. By looking at how they engage with brands, I think I would argue that the experience is delivered depending on what the brand is. Burgess will do it differently than another brokerage houses and that's where the brand sits. That's not to say that we shouldn't be working collaboratively, because a new customer into the industry will hopefully benefit us all.”