Did you hear the one about a man who bought a super yacht from a brochure? No, Neither did I.
Selling a yacht? Let me introduce you to a new client. One you don’t know. He is an Information Super Seeker. He researches his next car, his next holiday – his next girlfriend. At home he is ordering a Lambo on line, and looks at a house to buy in London’s Mayfair. Everything he buys, everything he does – he researches, and he wants the information now. Right now. He is hungry for the latest technology and gadgets and controls his life from the iphone that he uses to change the tv channel looking for something to settle his attention on. He has access to 500 TV channels and almost every movie ever made, but rarely spends longer than 5 to 10 minutes watching. Now he wants a new yacht. He looks online for information. He finds endless photos. Meaningless technical information. Slow pointless videos that tell him nothing, except it’s a boat that floats. In the beauty parade of yacht brokers his only option is to blindly pick one. If you are lucky it maybe your deck he finds himself on. But it may not be. This is your sales opportunity missed. The moment his fingers access the internet is when your selling can and needs to start.
Super yachts have been bought and sold in the same way for years. You have access to the buyer, you understand their needs, you sell them a yacht. You are probably an experienced broker and you think you know all the potential buyers – or else you are waiting for clients to come find you. You either appear at boat shows or place adverts in print media and occasionally update your website.
So did most people in the 20th century. But times have changed. If you are not taking every advantage available to you in 2015 then your competitor will.
A traditional English Pub Quiz and marketing a Superyacht has a lot in common. The pub quiz was about the team that had the most knowledge across a variety of subjects. But thanks to the internet we have access to an unimaginable amount of information and we expect to find what we are looking for in a heartbeat. This change in the way we access information has changed the buying process for every single industry.
The problem for the pub quiz today is that we are used to having access to every answer to every question in our pocket. The smartphone and mobile internet provide easy access to information – and your client expects to find it. Just like all their other shopping. For smaller or less complex products and services 53% of the buying process takes place online before a sales person is contacted. For more complex products and services including high end items such as luxury cars and even yachts, up to 70% of the buying process takes place online. If that’s not the figure for your company – then you are missing an opportunity. if you are waiting to do business on board then you are only accessing part of your potential client base
Yacht marketing is stuck in the dark ages. Listing yachts for sale online with a few images and the basic vital stats of the yachts is standard and occasionally a website may contain a few more bits of information some more photos and even an attempt at a film but often low budget and with no real script or narrative – a moving ‘Stock Photo’ that appeals to no one, but allows you to tick off the Media – done that box.
Buyers now expect, indeed demand all of the answers to their questions right there on one web-site. Buyers want to be informed, inspired and entertained. Who built it, who designed it, how does she sail?
Laura Schwab, marketing director at Jaguar Land Rover gave an interesting insight recently to the digital change in the auto industry “The amount of times people actually go to a car dealership has diminished. By the time they get to the door all they really want to do is test drive. All the research, everything, happens online.” The implication for motoring brands is that winning that dealership visit requires engaging first with the customer online, and ensuring that compelling digital content is available. “We don’t do a lot of print,” said Schwab. “For Land Rover it is close to zero, and for Jaguar a small percentage of our budget.”
This is an example of the Tsunami that is approaching the yacht industry whether you like it or not. The problem is that if you still believe your client will find you – then you are going to be in for a long, lonely wait.
Now that the buying process starts online the experience you provide must match the brand of the yacht. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could take the designer to the clients home, the Captain to their office. Let their children play on the jetskis? Now you can. Film is the most interactive and engaging media form and can tell the unique story of each yacht in a way that no one person can.
By having a defined digital journey you can provide a potential buyer with all the information they need in consistent form 24/7 wherever they are in the world whenever they want it and on whatever device they want. You control the journey your buyer makes by telling a story that above all creates an engaging and digital brand extension of your yacht. You create an visual experience that turns dreams into sales.