The marketing of luxury products tends to follow a familiar trope: customers are buying a status symbol, a badge of achievement. With that in mind, heritage, design excellence, craftsmanship and, above all, exclusivity are all part of the aspirational image that marketers must build around their brand, along with delivering a customer experience to match.
All this applies at Italian car manufacturer Ferrari, which typically ships fewer than 10,000 new vehicles each year and is perfectly happy to have multi-year waiting lists for many of its models. At this week’s Oracle OpenWorld event in San Francisco, Ferrari’s head of customer marketing told attendees:
Are our customers buying a product? No - because we’re not selling a product, we’re selling a dream. And our customers, when they approach Ferrari, they have uncompromising needs.
In order to meet those needs, the company has used Oracle CX Cloud and Oracle Cloud Platform as a Service (PaaS) to build a new customer relationship management platform. This enables Ferrari to share data on supercar owners and their vehicles, and also feeds data to the MyFerrari app for those owners.
It’s vital that this data is comprehensive and up-to-date - but the demographics of Ferrari owners introduces certain complexities. As Ancoretti explained, they are highly international, with homes in several different countries, own multiple Ferraris and therefore tend to interact with several different dealerships. (Incidentally, they are overwhelmingly male, at a staggering 98%, with an average age of 51, according to figures from data marketing company, Datamasters.)
The project was led by Ferrari CIO Antonia Casamassima and her team, assisted by Oracle Consulting. Some of the challenges it involved included fine-grained permissions around access to data. After all, the platform contains the personal information of often high-profile high net worth individuals. The data that can be accessed by a senior executive at Ferrari headquarters in Maranello, for example, might be very different from that accessible to a junior salesperson at a Ferrari dealership in the US, for example. Components in the PaaS layer were very useful, she said, in laying down the rules relating to what data can be seen, by whom.
A second challenge was integration with back-end systems at Ferrari, while a third was overall performance.
The Oracle CX software as a service, combined with PaaS, has been really useful in helping us to overcome the various challenges we faced. The front-end may be what empowers the customer and the dealers, but the back end is where all tools reside that help us deliver that empowerment and engagement.”
A key focus for us was performance. This is a global solution for 60 countries in which we operate, so we dedicated a great deal of time and effort to fine-tune performance in order to deliver the performance we wanted across our whole network.
She and her team began with a comprehensive assessment of the available services in the Oracle products, in order to define their customization and integration priorities ahead of starting work. They also tried to anticipate how the platform might evolve in future and identified data and processes that currently reside in back-end systems at Ferrari, but which may be migrated to the new platform in a future second phase of development. And customer input was vital to this work, she added:
This was very important. A key part of our project was to maintain contact with customers and making sure that feedback was continuous. We found some specific customers who were very helpful, just in order to suggest requirements and give us ideas.
The platform was delivered in 18 months and went live in March this year. It has been rolled out across Ferrari’s entire global dealership network and, according to Ancoretti, the company is now able to reach around three times the number of users it was in contact with, using its previous approaches to CRM. That reach and engagement is critical for the future of Ferrari, he said, which derives around 60% of its annual revenue from repeat customers.
One message we needed to deliver is that CRM isn’t just about marketing, it isn’t just about sales. It’s also about after-sales. It’s easy to sell the first car, but we then want to sell the second car, and we want to do it before they customer wakes up from his dream. We want to keep that dream going with a great customer experience.