Targetting High-Income Earners
According to TowerGroup, by 2009, roughly 20 per cent of U.S. households will have an annual income exceeding $100,000. Many times, marketers look for new and innovative methods to advertise their products or services to the rich and affluent class. Many spend hundreds of dollars trying to reach the affluent through television and radio. Unfortunately, they do not know that most rich people are detached from their marketing efforts. We all have heard about TiVo devices that allow users to fast forward commercials, collections of CDs for the car music system, or personal secretaries screening mails and posts before they reach the target.
Thus, it can get very difficult to reach out to these busy and wealthy prospects. The rich surely have a lot of money and less time, and they have managed to innovate new and expensive technologies to veil themselves from such disturbances. Marketers who want to reach out to this class of society can do so by following certain guidelines.
Guidelines for Targetting the Affluent Society
Socializing and Networking: The key to reaching out to these high–income prospects is by socializing with them. It is important to get familiar with them and be like them for them to hear about your product and service. Onassis, who was the founder of Olympic Airlines that is the national carrier of Greece, found capital for his firm by hanging around at an elite bar. Onassis came from a middle-income family and spent all his money on clothes, drinks, and socializing that eventually paid off well. A popular misconception is that all rich and affluent prospects live in a posh neighborhood. This is untrue as statistics show more than 50 per cent of millionaires live in middle-class neighborhoods.
Should be Valuable: It is important for the targeted prospects to feel the need and value of the product or service. American jeweller, Harry Winston loaned his expensive necklace sets to young and upcoming stars. These stars wore the jewelry at the Academy Awards and gave the jewelry store amazing publicity that would have otherwise cost thousands of dollars.
Placing of Product/Service: If the rich are smart to use TiVo devices, why should marketers stay behind? Place your product or service in a TV show script or talk show that is popular among the targeted prospects. For example, many shows have actors using a particular brand of product that is highlighted. This is not a matter of chance but, in actuality, the show must have been paid by the company.
Effective Search Engine Optimization: It is very important to place your business website in the right directory and category. The right tags and phrases need to be seeded in the website. Many affluent prospects do not like to walk through stores and try new products but would like to research the Internet before making a purchase.
General characteristics: The affluent place a high emphasis on quality and value. When marketing the product or service among these people, the emphasis should not be on the price but on the quality and on the value it would carry for them. Most affluent prospects demand their opinions to be heard, so do not try to approach them with an envy syndrome. These potential customers are often self-made. These prospects would surely pay a slight premium for convenience and comfort. However, a survey by RoperASW concluded that 8 out of 10 affluent women said they enjoyed their purchases more if they felt they received a bargain.
Early adopters: Many affluent prospects are early adopters of luxury products. In the Mendelssohn Media Research Affluent Audience Lifestyle Study, 88 per cent of the involved individuals said they enjoyed treating themselves to life’s pleasures.
Word-of-mouth: Rich prospects value referrals from friends and relatives, which is a deciding factor upon a purchase. Thus, direct marketing and referral programs could help reach out to the wealthy.
Targeting the affluent could truly mean money for the business. However, do not fret if you cannot reach out to them. A New York Times story mentions, "Social class, once so easily assessed by the car in the driveway or the purse on the arm, has become harder to see in the things Americans buy. Rising incomes, flattening prices and easily available credit have given so many Americans access to such a wide array of high-end goods that traditional markers of status have lost much of their meaning."
These days many middle-income earners accumulate savings and purchase luxury goods like designer wear and jewelry that was once only worn by the affluent society. While you definitely do not want to miss the truly affluent prospects, make sure you do not lose control of the middle-income prospects that are anxious to spend their incomes on your product or services.
The simple decision that needs to be made is, would your business like to sell to the high-earners and live with the middle-earners or sell to the middle-earners and live with the high-earners!