Consumers spend an average of 79 days gathering information before making a major purchase, according to GE Capital Retail Bank’s Major Purchase Shopper Study. To ensure shoppers are making the right decision, brands and retailers are encouraged to provide a plethora of tools and resources online, honing in on the features, capabilities and benefits of their products.
As an engineer and manufacturer of high-end, luxury boats, MasterCraft is especially challenged with creating a more educational and guided online experience for its affluent customers. With prices ranging from $65,000 to $165,000, the company needed a way to communicate the quality of its products and build one-to-one engagement with prospects and loyal customers alike.
“Our target customers do very well in life and, as a result, they can pick and choose what they want to do with their money and where they want to spend it,” said Jason Boertje, Director of Marketing at MasterCraft. “We also produce products aimed at active families that would use a boat three to four times a week. That’s our communication and marketing challenge in a nutshell.”
MasterCraft uses Brandlive to communicate to its network of wealthy boating enthusiasts in a highly visual and educational manner. Using the platform, company experts and thought leaders can participate in live video chats, display new boat models and share more details on their specs. While watching the live video, customers can ask questions in a live feed. Representatives from the brand then have the ability to respond in real time.
“We’re a very visual brand,” Boertje said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Who would buy a car without seeing it? The more we can show our product when we educate the consumer, the better off we’ll be. Brandlive opened that opportunity for us to show and demonstrate the value of the product. It’s not an easy decision for a consumer to write a check for $100,000. They need to see everything to make sure they’re making the right decision.
The Brandlive platform also is used to create sales and product videos for MasterCraft’s network of 150 dealers worldwide.
“We work with these independently owned dealerships that carry our line to make sure our product is accurately represented,” Boertje said. “They carry a wide variety of products, so we have to work with them to make sure they know what the selling and value proposition is.”
Typically, MasterCraft relied on standard video conferencing and webinar tools to update partners on new boat models. However, it increasingly became difficult to provide all necessary updates during a single annual meeting.
“We used to take an hour to walk through slides highlighting new products, their features and the overall experience, and then have them follow up with questions,” Boertje said. “But Brandlive has allowed us to open up a more comprehensive communication channel with our dealers.”
Building Morale And Excitement
During each live presentation, MasterCraft always leaves time to address customer and partner questions. Boertje notes that this is “crucial” to the success of the platform.
“When you deal with our consumer especially, there’s a sense of entitlement there,” Boertje said. “They expect you to take the time to chat with them and make them feel good about the purchase. In any sales situation you want to overcome consumers’ potential objections. If you have interactivity with them, you can address those objections effectively.”
After the live presentations, all videos are archived so consumers and dealers can access the information anywhere, and at any time. This is especially helpful for dealers who may not always remember a specific sales pitch or where a specific boat fits in a portfolio.
“We no longer have to reinvent the wheel,” Boertje noted, “and retype emails and re-send materials to educate our network.”
Dealing with such a vast dealer network, it is sometimes difficult for MasterCraft to identify truly loyal and engaged partners. It’s not sufficient to reward partners based on how much they sell alone, Boertje noted. Instead, MasterCraft taps into the back end of the Brandlive platform to gauge how often partners attend live presentations and training sessions.
“There’s even a test we can implement in Brandlive to see if partners paid attention,” Boertje said. “Following the video there are sometimes up to 20 questions outlining the key topics from the presentation.”
Although the quizzing feature undoubtedly helps MasterCraft identify engaged partners, it also has helped build morale and excitement around the brand.