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Luxury Institute exec: Humanize first, mobilize second

October 16, 2012


NEW YORK – A Luxury Institute executive at the Luxury Interactive 2012 conference said that brands must understand the value and potential of personal sales associate communications versus mass emails from corporate.

During the “Optimizing Mobile Technology to Build Customer Relationships” session, the executive addressed how mobile technology is not a differentiator, but a utility. Moreover, it is how marketers use the technology that matters.

“It’s all about the human-to-human relationships,” said Milton Pedraza, CEO of Luxury Institute, New York. “The biggest opportunity to use mobile to drive profits is customer relationship building.

“The competitive advantage is customer culture, expressed by customer-centric human beings who out-behave the competition,” he said.

Retail opportunity

There is a huge mobile opportunity out there for luxury retailers.

Mr. Pedraza believes that the retail technology is going to either be mobile or obsolete.

Luxury marketers should prioritize mobile for the in-store experience and relationship building.

It is not enough for marketers to solely have an engaging in-store experience. It must be followed up with relationship building.

Marketers should leverage the data that they have on their customers and use it to create a more personalized and relevant experience.

For example, a hotel brand can reach out to its affluent customer who frequents its locations.

From there, the hotel can inquire if that customer will be traveling anytime soon and whether she would like to book a future trip.

By leveraging all of the data, this will help luxury marketers connect with consumers on a deeper level. 

“You have to empower sales associates to cultivate new customer relationships using mobile,” Mr. Pedraza said.

“It’s about creating and enhancing the client relationships using mobile and, ultimately, driving revenues,” he said.

“The current state of customer relationships efforts is impersonal and mass.”

Luxury Institute's Mr. Pedraza

Consumer culture

Mobile enables customer relationship anywhere.

Furthermore, mobile user-friendliness is the real innovation.

Marketers should invest in making existing IT architecture, systems and assets more accessible for user-friendly shop-floor communications.

Additionally, luxury marketers should shift from operational presence to user-centricity.

Mr. Pedraza believes that it is important that luxury marketers inspire their associates, which will help create customer relationships that drive the company’s profits.

“There’s a huge opportunity to shift from that operational software approach into a user-centricity that makes your customers and empowers them and gives them that efficiency,” Mr. Pedraza said.

“You don’t train salespeople, you train puppies,” he said. “You educate human beings."

Final Take

Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York