Marketing to High Net Worth Individuals online

Updated: Jun 24, 2018

Ultra-high-net-worth individuals are looking more than ever for brands they can trust

Digital marketers endeavour to target consumers wherever they are found to be browsing the web. Whether this is on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, or on their phones or tablets.

Finding affluent customers online is not as easy as it sounds. Since the Cambridge Analytica crisis Facebook encountered in 2018, the ability to target by net worth, income, or financial position has been removed from the ad platform.

With the introduction of GDPR by the EU in May 2018, and other legislation limiting data collection, brands have been forced to go back to their roots in drawing out High Net Worth Individuals from their hiding places online.

Providing an engaging content marketing strategy online is absolutely essential to brand success, particularly for those who operate in the luxury space.

Moreover, providing a powerful offline experience is becoming increasingly important.

The ability to seamlessly blend both offline and online marketing strategies to create a high-value customer experience builds a deeper relationship with ultra-high-net-worth individuals who are looking more than ever for brands they can trust.

Preferences for the luxury audience

Luxury is not so easily defined in a world where consumer desires have become notoriously fickle and brand halos shine brightly or tarnish in a nanosecond.

Fundamentally, when an affluent consumer thinks of a luxury product or service, they envision a brands that encourages them to be their best self.

Brands that can empower a consumer to put his or her best self forward will create a sense of connection with the people and things that they most value on this world.

For some, this may mean a passion for classic physical products such as luxury cars or jewellery, while for others, it may be a highly-tuned interest in brands that have a strong positive social impact, and for others, it may be purely experiential—how do they feel when they are in the moment, and how does that connect them to others in that moment—consider travel and shared dining experiences.

What may make one ultra-wealthy consumer ecstatic may not even resonate with another.

As the world’s population of ultra-rich individuals continues to grow and evolve across the globe, so do their purchase preferences.

The growth of this segment has been especially pronounced in the U.S. and Asia, notching 5.1 percent and 3.5 percent growth rates, respectively, in the past year, according to the Wealth X Wealth Report.

There is also a smaller but increasingly influential group of millennials with substantial buying power who are demonstrating differing interests and activities than their UHNW peers.

Marketers need to be highly aware of these changing populations and the growing evolution in these new expressions of luxury lifestyle.

Such new luxury lifestyle expressions often also mean an increased interest in the most current high-tech products, including digitally delivered services.

UHNWI have traditionally been early adopters of emerging products, and this attribute is only reinforced today with the rapid speed of technological change.

In recent years, there has also been a strong movement toward immersive luxury experiences where consumers can mingle with other like-minded individuals while enjoying a brand experience, as a kind of counter-balance to the technology solutions that surround us every day.

While this is a current trend in wealth markets in Europe and North America, marketers should be watching for this to accelerate across the globe.

Reaching the ultra-wealthy when privacy is key

Consumers that are the main target for luxury products often do not want to be found by marketers.

In fact, they desire a much greater level of privacy than other market segments. As such, it is important to find innovative ways to stand out from other brands to win over these curious but often inaccessible prospects.

Creating an attractive and relevant offline experience for consumers helps to curate trust among a group that is often a constant target for marketers because of their wealth.

Ultra-wealthy individuals want to ensure that a brand fits their interests and passions, and hosting thoughtful and engaging events builds brand loyalty and provides a unique social and emotional experience where attendees can cultivate relationships with like-minded individuals.

A brand event with the right sponsors, a unique venue and an exclusive guest list will leave consumers with a positive view of your brand and solidify your legitimacy in this premier space.

Perfecting your online outreach

While the development and growth of an offline presence is key, your core marketing efforts are of course still paramount and must be woven into any successful strategy.

When marketing to the ultra-wealthy, be sure to reach out where you know they are active—whether that is on niche social media platforms dedicated to luxury lifestyle, or to specific websites, blogs, channels or publications that have a captivated and elite audience.

This is not to say that a popular platform should be ignored simply because it is popular.

Among the world’s wealthiest individuals who responded to a Spectrem Group Study, 52 percent reported currently using Facebook regularly and 41 percent of Generation X and millennial respondents said they use Twitter on a regular basis, while similar metrics for baby boomers are much lower.

There are effective targeting tactics within such large platforms, so consider your brand awareness and niche within the UHNW market when looking to effectively allocate marketing and advertising resources.

Once you have identified the optimal way to reach this audience, be sure that your tone reflects the values and attributes that best resonate with your target audience.

Your product or service needs to be presented as tailored to their needs and emotionally beneficial to their lifestyle.

Some may believe the best way to speak to those interested in opulent goods is to go the over-the-top route, but this is almost always a mistake.

The majority of global ultra-wealthy individuals (66.4 percent) are self-made, according to the Wealth X 2017 report. They are still often “aspirational” in nature, and they will see right through fluff or hyperbole.

When looking to create unique content, your message needs to be direct and simple, as this audience is short on the critical resource of time.

Let the audience know right away how your brand or service can positively impact their life.

Another important tactic to consider is the frequency with which you communicate to this audience—one that likely doesn’t respond positively to repetitive sales-oriented emails.

Since they are not using their precious time online primarily looking for deals and steals, there is no ultimate payback (via click-through, registration, or conversion purchase) to reaching out constantly with similar offers.

With a high net worth audience, less is generally more, and this approach is consistent with the goal of building trust and connection.

Lastly, it is imperative to show real appreciation for current and potential affluent consumers who yield substantial purchasing power.

These consumers should be reminded that they are a valued member of your brand community, whether that is through the content you create and disseminate, your engagement with fans on social media or in the carefully planned online and offline activities you host.

Creating a broad and sustained positive brand experience via all of these channels will ultimately help your brand shine among this unique and powerful audience.