NEW YORK — When it comes to things that influence consumers to buy luxury goods, advertising ranks dead last.

That’s one key finding in “Let Them Eat Cake: Marketing Luxury to the Masses — as Well as the Classes,” by luxury marketing specialist Pamela N. Danziger, slated to be published in January by Dearborn Trade Publishing. Danziger gave WWD an exclusive look at Chapter 10: “Promoting Luxuries — Myths and Mysteries of Luxury Branding.”

Ads placed eighth among consumers, who were asked to rank eight influences on their last purchase of personal luxuries such as fashion, home luxuries and experiential luxuries.

Indeed, Danziger, who is president of Stevens, Pa.-based consultant Unity Marketing, estimated an eye-opening 80 percent of ads in traditional mass media — including those for luxury goods — are ineffective marketing vehicles. “The whole system of mass media advertising is just not working anymore,” Danziger said in an interview.

For example, in an index with a baseline of 100, ads for personal luxuries rated a 76, meaning consumers were 24 percent less likely than average to be influenced by them in making decisions to buy such things as apparel, accessories, beauty products and cars.

The leading influence over personal luxury purchases is the reputation of a brand or a company, which indexed 133, or eight points higher than the factor’s 125 rating in Danziger’s overall Influencers Index, which also comprises influences on home and experiential luxuries. The reputation of a brand or a company was followed by price-value relationship, which rated 127; the reputation of a store where a luxury purchase is transacted, 124; information from a salesperson, 90; recommendations of friends, 86, and articles, reviews and information conveyed on the Internet, 82.

The three leading influences on purchases of personal luxuries — brand and company reputation, price-value relationship and store-dealer reputation — are also the leading influences on home and experiential luxuries, forming what Danziger has dubbed luxury’s triple play. The relative importance of those factors, which, she said, work synergistically, shifts along with the type of luxury a person is considering buying: price-value relationship is the leading consideration among purchasers of home luxuries, followed by brand-company reputation and store-dealer reputation, while store-dealer reputation carries the most clout among acquirers of experiential luxuries, followed by brand-company reputation and price-value relationship.

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