Thom Gruhler, former Chief Marketing Officer for Microsoft and current CEO of Fjuri (pronounced “fury”), addressed a packed auditorium at the National Museum of Wildlife Art last Friday.

Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates invited him to Jackson to share his marketing secrets with their brokers. After enough people expressed interest, JHREA decided to open the talk to the public.

“He’s one of the global minds in marketing,” said JHREA owner Julie Faupel.

Gruhler’s talk focused on the newest, most influential generation of “luxury” buyers: millennials. Millennials are expected to out-spend baby boomers, making them the largest generational segment in the luxury market, Gruhler said. But the way they purchase and consume luxury products is markedly different than preceding generations. Where older generations were interested in exclusive products, millennials care about “unique experiences.” They don’t care about acquisition, Gruhler said. They care about quality, craftsmanship, and authenticity. Luxury brands, then, like real estate firms, have to create an experience that makes their young customer feel they are buying into something genuine, something unique, and something trustworthy.

Marketing media have also dramatically changed in the past decade, Gruhler said. Companies now use data, and data intelligence, to keep up with their market. Data, collected from any number of online sources, help companies understand and customize their customer’s buying experience.

But data capabilities aren’t evolving fast enough. Marketing today, he said, is moving at an “unprecedented change of pace.” In 2011, for example, there were just 45 tech platforms companies could use to record data. Today, there are over 6,000. It is the enormous task of marketing professionals, then, to keep up with the trends, and even stay ahead of them.

That is precisely what Gruhler and his team at Fjuri strive for, and what JHREA hoped to introduce to Jackson marketers. As JHREA approaches their ninth birthday on April 1, Faupel said they are fortunate to have built a successful company in the “throws of the [economic] downturn.” Theirs is a company with soul, Faupel said, and their challenge now is navigating how to be a sustainable business in an already “hot” real estate market.

The recorded presentation is available upon request. Please contact Jessica Sheehy at

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