Commentary

In These Households, Women Are Calling the Shots

The Luxury Institute released a report this week that identifies women not only as household CEOs, but also as contributing significantly to the household income. In fact, 41% of women included in the survey were the family breadwinners, contributing more than 50% of the household income. Despite the fact that these educated women are earning six-figure salaries, their top priority, per the survey, is still family.

So what does this mean for luxury marketers? It means we have to reach high-achieving, high-earning women where they make spending decisions for their families and themselves. How do you resonate with these women, who control a majority of spending in 78% of households, particularly with respect to food (85%), clothing (78%), shoes (78%), and vacations (62%)? 

Get their attention. Start with the basics of improving your website to be found on Google and other search engines. This doesn’t mean overdoing the SEO gimmicks or creating girly aesthetic; rather, building a solid foundation with an appealing site that contains relevant, informative, easily found content that can offer a clear path to conversion.  

According to AIO, an affluent women marketing specialist, using a combination of pull and push marketing techniques will attract existing and potential customers. Affluent women do not like to be harassed by spam and other irrelevant marketing communications. They want to find relevant content while searching the web. 

Keep it simple. Many of these wealthy women already have high-powered jobs and active families, and very little time as a result. Respect that window of time by not wasting it. Catch their attention when they can provide it and allow them all the resources they need to connect with your product or services. Make it as easy as possible for them to find what they need to make a purchase decision. Most are careful researchers, usually to save the frustration and wasted time of undoing a poor decision. Give them the information they seek and avoid bombarding them with useless material. Time is precious to affluent women; target them with a simple, clear message and make it easy for them to buy what they want or need. 

Never underestimate “girlfriend power.” Busy women seek peer recommendations from their friends and social media circles. Mothers look for recipes, product reviews and vacation insight from other moms on Pinterest, Facebook and Tumblr. Executive women will seek out experts’ and colleagues’ recommendations on Twitter and LinkedIn. Consumers trust the evaluations of their peers more than the company-created website. 

Social media can work for luxury marketers as well. By creating and sharing content that attracts affluent women, serves the well-to-do females within your existing customer base, and appeals to other customers like them, you can also effectively grow your business. Their endorsement of you will ripple through their social network. Nurture the loyalty and attention you get from affluent women with good customer service, responsiveness to feedback and occasional “just for you” rewards that reflect an understanding of their buying preferences. 

Create real relationships by respecting affluent women’s time, data and desire to purchase. Avoid blanket campaigns and really personalize every touch point. Relationship marketing allows you to retain customers whom you’ve already attracted and grow using customer information. Use personalization in a very targeted way to communicate to specific audiences within your broader target. Chances are you have access to enough data to do this really well – just avoid overdoing it and getting into the realm of the creepy.

Create opportunities. Affluent women can be executives and entrepreneurs, married with children, divorced or single—they cover the full range. Find ways to market to customers with targeted messages and products. Dan Kennedy in a 2011 blog post even suggests that marketing to affluent women allows the ability to discriminate by creating new products exclusively targeting women by age, discretionary income, and place in life. The diverse interests and spending power within this group allow creativity (not necessarily discrimination!). Use it to be effective.  

Effectively reaching affluent women requires targeted, clear messages that relate to these women as the achievers and decision makers they are and creating easy, intuitive ways to serve them. By respecting their time and their privacy, and by delivering excellent quality and service, you’ll appeal to this important audience.

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