Even Affluent Customers Can't Buy Time

If you need a few laughs today, Google “rich people problems.” Some of them are funny. Some of them, like Tiger Woods’ ex, Elin Nordgren, tearing down a $12 million mansion, are perplexing.

Turns out there are some legitimate problems affluent customers have and digital marketing plays right into the solution set. They may have more money than average, but they don't have more time. And that realization has ramifications for digital marketing. Example: A new research report from affluent marketing consultant MMGY shows that affluent travel consumers have changed over the last several years, with the latter especially affected because of what they see as the lack of time.

Mobile and email are more important than ever for those who make more than $125,000. Almost half of their planned vacations are weekend trips, and affluent consumers are more apt to book trips at the last minute, just eight days prior to departure. This trend makes the immediacy and relevancy of digital marketing critical for all brands that want to reach affluents. 



In fact, part of the MMGY report says the affluent have the same “time poverty” that other customer segments have. Before we “occupy the airports” let’s take a look at what “time poverty” means. The phrase applies to most of today’s digital consumers who are attention stretched and looking at email, social media, TV and mobile messaging often at the same time. As we have pointed out in past columns in this space, many high-end brands, including travel brands, have come to mobile late. But they’re on the case. Social media is taking more time from affluent customers, and is gaining dramatic traction.

In December, for example, Facebook had been used in more than a quarter of Mass Affluent, Millionaire and Ultra High Net Worth households. By June, usage had increased, from 29% to 55% in households with a net worth between $100,000 and $1 million (not including primary residence). Usage increased 20% in households with a net worth between $1 million and $4.9 million as well as those with a net worth between $5 million and $24.9 million).

And then there’s the general Internet usage for affluents. An IAB study from last September tells us that 98% of affluent consumers use the Internet, as compared with 79% of the general population. They spend 26.2 hours online weekly, 17.6 hours watching TV and 7.5 hours listening to the radio. The general population, on the other hand, spends about twice as much time weekly with TV and radio—34 hours and 16 hours, respectively—and just 21.7 hours on the Internet.

“Traditional” digital marketing is still the most important medium to catch affluent customers and address their time poverty. Let’s look at three ways brands and agencies can do this:

1. Customize Messaging: Optimization for affluent digital customers has certainly progressed to the point where there are so many customer segments that effective brands would be remiss to ignore them. Understand that they are time pressed, and address it. This will emphasize copy over imaging. It will also be easy to change if necessary.

2. Become Time Relevant: I think it’s safe to assume that if affluents are making travel decisions in a shorter window they are making other decisions faster too. Accept that. Design offers to add value for quick responses. Use email to reinforce time sensitive offers. In short, brands should act like they “get it” in temrs of time.

3. Engage With Purpose: The worst thing to do is waste time for affluents. It alienates them. Understanding their needs, preferences and specific behaviors will give companies enough information to make their creative engaging and their ad platforms relevant.

It’s all about time. Brands that engage affluent customers with their time in mind will gain their respect in the future.

1 comment about "Even Affluent Customers Can't Buy Time".
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  1. Jeff Imparato from Topeka & Shawnee Co. Public Library, February 22, 2012 at 1:54 p.m.

    Thanks for this article. As to Elin Nordgren, she said she destroyed the house because it had termites. I expect that once she got rid of one pest, she decided to get rid of them all. :->

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