Archive for the ‘Financial Services’ Category

Today’s Millennials; Tomorrow’s Loyalists

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

alc_wealth_window_millennials-300x198-1-300x198 copySavvy luxury marketers in search of growth are now targeting millennials – for both short-term gains and long-term relationships. While only a small percentage of millennials can be defined as “affluent,” a larger percentage purchase luxury items and experiences on a selective basis. It’s these consumers that luxury marketers want to attract today…and cultivate for tomorrow.

Beyond their transactional activity, it’s interesting to note that millennials exhibit different behavioral tendencies as well. They tend to be more innovative, entrepreneurial, and opportunistic than prior generations. From an investment perspective, millennials are 2.8X more likely to use or try hedge funds… 3.4X more likely to be serial entrepreneurs… and 5.6X more likely to have achieved significant gains by taking big risks.

Plenty has been written about millennials – and much of it suggests that they are a monolith – but the fact is, these aggregated insights are just that: aggregated insights. Luxury marketers interested in attracting millennials need to be even more precise and exacting to understand which millennials are potential prospects… how much they are likely to be worth today and tomorrow… and which ones are interested in more aggressive investment opportunities. At Wealth Window, we’ve built our audience data to do precisely that. We identify new, emerging wealth that others miss – and the millennials who are gravitating to luxury today.

The right millennial with the right circumstance is available right now. Don’t wait; find them with Wealth Window. Let’s connect.

The Future of Luxury

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

Every day, I talk to luxury marketers. Recently, we’ve been talking about luxury retail. Here’s what I’m hearing…

Retail continues to be transformed. Changing shopping patterns, emerging technologies, and evolving consumer tastes are impacting the way the affluent shop — and what they buy.

New technologies at retail are being tested and refined. Many of these technologies are data driven, including digital identification solutions, innovative mobile apps, and wardrobe assistance driven by machine learning.

Which of these technologies will be broadly adopted? We’ll have to wait and see. But it’s clear that HNW consumers have increased expectations about their interactions with luxury brands – and data is often facilitating these enhanced experiences.

At ALC, our luxury clients are now integrating important insights that go beyond basic demographics and transactional activity, to empower more personalized communications, integrated with new techniques.

In this fast-moving world, we can’t wait for tomorrow’s technology to drive our business today. But, we can leverage a wealth of data that’s available right now to deliver more relevant, personalized communications and experiences.

Finally, if you’re having success with a new technology or an innovative data strategy, please let me know. It would be a luxury to know even more about how to succeed in the future.

Attracting the Affluent Through Smart Offers and Targeting

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

alc_wealth_window_luxury_credit_card-300x198As we all know, the battle to attract affluent consumers can be intense. Naturally, having great consumer insights is key to winning. Therefore, it’s valuable to understand what strategies credit card companies are using to acquire new customers, since card marketers have a very rich understanding of consumer behavior and spending habits.

So what’s happening these days in the credit card category?

While American Express has long been a dominant player, and continues to innovate, other financial institutions are realizing the value of affluent consumers and have developed prestigious cards with rich rewards to attract them.

In November, Chase made a concerted effort to attract affluent customers using powerful data strategies and highly-lucrative acquisition offers for the launch of their flagship card: The Chase Sapphire Reserve. The card offered an unprecedented 100,000-point sign-up bonus, plus many concierge-level benefits. It worked. Within months, 900,000 people applied for the card, despite an expensive $450 annual fee. (In fact, the acquisition appears to have been too rich: Chase has since reduced the sign-up bonus to 50,000 points.)

Not to be outdone, U.S. Bank recently released their own luxury card. It features a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points as well as many of the same travel-oriented benefits that made the Chase card so successful.

American Express, the longtime luxury leader, also responded to category activity by increasing the benefits of their Platinum Card.

So… what can we learn from credit card marketers?

The bar to attract affluent customers continues to increase. Luxury brands are willing to entice consumers with ever-increasing offers and enhanced services. However, given the increased costs of these services, brands must be really smart about their data targeting and offer strategies.

Hopefully, you are deploying new, smarter data strategies – aligned with consumer wants and expectations – to build your business. As always, we at Wealth Window, are here to help you pinpoint the exact customers, exhibiting the exact behavior you need, to craft messaging that will resonate effectively. My prediction, if you use Wealth Window, success is in the cards for you.

How Luxury Brands Can Win in 2017

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

alc_wealth_window_luxury_2017Will 2017 be fabulous for luxury? We don’t know yet, but there are definitely some important trends worth considering. Let me explain…

First, on the bright side, the stock market is at record highs… consumer optimism is up… and tax cuts could be on the horizon. However, the political environment is unpredictable… there are newfound concerns about travel to the United States… and a stronger dollar could hurt the luxury category.

In the past few days, a few of our Wealth Window clients have asked me, “How can we factor these trends into our marketing plans?”

While no one can guarantee what’s going to happen to the economy overall, my years working in luxury have taught me one thing for sure: In good times or bad, certain people continue to buy luxury products and services. Granted, the makeup of these luxury consumers changes – based on stage of life, current economic/financial circumstances, and other factors – yet the ability to identify these consumers has never been more precise.

For example, we are seeing a new cohort of millennials purchasing luxury brands. These consumers don’t fall under the classic definition of wealth, yet their behavior suggests they can be the next generation of loyal, upscale customers in certain categories. For example, among these younger buyers, “experiences” – as opposed to merchandise – is doing particularly well.

Obviously, 2017 is still young. It could be a terrific year for luxury across the board, but I say hedge your bets. As we begin 2017, it makes sense to identify new segments and customized audiences most likely to buy your products as soon as possible. We can help you target highly effectively by combining discretionary spending (by amount and type of purchase) along with hobbies, interests, demographics, wealth attributes, and more.

So how can luxury brands win in 2017? To be precise, be precise.

If you’re interested in honing in on those consumers most likely to buy from you regardless of circumstances, we should talk today.

The Magic of Q1

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

First, I hope you had a Merry BIG Christmas. I am overjoyed that so many of our Wealth Window clients reported a strong season!

As you begin 2017, I suggest you take advantage of what I call, “The Magic of Q1.”

Our experience shows that Q1 is a terrific time to test: a new strategy, a new audience, and a new channel. In fact, January and February are two of the best performing months for marketing. Additionally, if your new strategies prove successful in Q1, you can benefit all year. Conversely, if they underperform, you can cut your losses quickly.

When it comes to testing, we suggest a “Structured Spending” approach for many luxury brands: 70% of your dollars go to what has proven to work; 20% is invested behind strategies that show real promise; and 10% is allocated to dramatically different approaches that have the potential to deliver vast improvements.

Here are a couple of exciting ideas we’ve seen work for our clients:

 

Thankfully, as we enter 2017 things are looking bright. The market remains strong. Consumer optimism is high. And government policy should be advantageous for luxury brands.

Yet since markets and consumers can be fickle, you won’t want to lose any time testing innovative strategies in Q1. I’m happy to help in any way I can to ensure you experience a magical first quarter.

The Global Landscape of HNWI is Changing

Friday, July 29th, 2016

Capgemini’s World Wealth Report 2016 was released a few weeks ago, and it contained a wealth of extremely interesting findings that point to a changing global landscape when it comes to high-net-worth individuals.

The report highlights many intriguing figures and observations about global wealth, including the eye-popping projection that high-net-worth individuals’ assets will likely top $100 trillion by 2025 – less than a decade away.

Net Wealth on the Rise in Asia Pacific Region

The report from Capgemini covers 71 countries and features financial data obtained from surveys conducted with over 5,200 high-net-worth individuals from 23 countries, as well as 800 wealth managers across 15 different markets.

Among some of the most surprising findings is the meteoric rise in wealth of the Asia Pacific region, which has the greatest collective wealth of any global region, thanks in particular to China and Japan. While most of the world witnessed a slow-down in the growth of their high-net-worth wealth, the Asia Pacific region saw their net growth top 4 percent in the past year.

This accelerated growth in net wealth is not an aberration – in fact, it’s anything but. Capgemini projects that that by 2025, the Asia Pacific region will total 11.7 million high-net-worth individuals, which will greatly outpace North America’s projected total of 7.6 million.

How HNWI Allocate Their WealthTargeting really rich consumer prospects for luxury brand marketing.

The Capgemini report also details how high-net-worth individuals are allocating their assets globally. According to their findings, HNWI have around a third of their total assets liquid in the form of cash or in bank accounts, while another third is invested with a wealth manager and the remaining third is split between real estate, business ventures, and other liquid assets.

A particularly interesting finding to note is the shifting preferences of younger high-net-worth individuals, in regards to how they handle their assets. Millennials and under-40 investors have tended towards banks and cash for allocating their wealth, opting for more liquidity in their assets and showing an aversion to wealth managers.

This presents an interesting dichotomy in how different generations view asset allocation, and it forces financial institutions to adapt to the needs of tomorrow’s wealthy as the percentage of younger high-net-worth individuals continues to rise across the globe.

In addition, Capgemini found that 31 percent of high-net-worth individuals use their wealth to contribute to social causes, and that half of all the world’s wealthy plan on increasing their contributions to social impact causes over the next few years.

Luxury Buyers are More Discerning than Ever

With a globalizing luxury market and volatile economy becoming more of the norm, high-net-worth individuals are much more careful with their money and how they spend it. The need to make smart investment decisions, coupled with an increasing number of options available for consumers, has led to more discerning and demanding luxury buyers. As digital channels enable consumers to explore more investment options and conduct their own research, luxury brands will have to adapt to a rapidly changing market in order to appeal to the evolving needs of consumers.

Time for the Luxury Market to Capitalize on Evolving Global Wealth

As the global wealth landscape continues to evolve, the luxury market must evolve along with it. From wealth managers to investment firms and luxury brands, the ever-changing needs of the world’s wealthiest are becoming more and more diverse – just as diverse as the demographics that comprise the global population of high-net-worth individuals. Despite such a constantly shifting landscape and an increasing number of digital channels through which to communicate, Wealth Window can help you gain direct access to a powerful audience of high-net-worth individuals and generate sub-segments based on various attributes including net worth, home value, luxury travel, power spending and more.

Are you ready to reach high-net-worth individuals with your strategy and messaging? Contact me to learn how.

The Definition of “Accredited Investor” Will Remain the Same

Friday, April 10th, 2015

SEC committee advises that “accredited Investor” definition should remain at $200-$300K HHI & $1M net worth.

SEC committee advises that “accredited investor” definition should remain at $200-$300M HHI & $1MM net worth.

Good news for startups and budding enterprises seeking investment from angel investors…

The SEC recently heard from its Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies regarding Recommendations in the Case to Change the Definition of Accredited Investor.” There was talk about raising the bar to $500M HHI and net worth to $2.5MM, which would have decreased the number of individuals that marketers and growing companies could target for investment capital.

Here’s the main takeaway: The committee found little or no evidence to suggest that the existing definition of accredited investor has led to widespread fraud or other harm to investors.” Quite the contrary, they found “substantial evidence to suggest that the current system works and is critical to the support of smaller public companies and emerging companies.”

The SEC will continue to collect data on the subject, but suggests that the focus should be more directed to enforcement efforts and increased investor education rather than raising the threshold of income and net worth. In fact they felt that raising the bar would have a disproportionate effect upon women and minority entrepreneurs.

Recognizing the importance of small and emerging companies as drivers of the economy and their reliance on raising capital from accredited investors, the SEC is taking a “do no harm” approach so as not to shrink the existing pool of accredited investors (and the pool of capital they bring to the table).

Currently, accredited investors must earn an annual income of at least $200,000 alone or $300,000 combined with one’s spouse, or a net worth of at least $1 million (excluding the value and mortgage debt of his or her primary residence).

While swindlers like Madoff may unfairly damage the reputation of investment opportunity pitches in general, in the angel investing community fraud is virtually unknown and next to impossible to perpetrate says Christopher Scott McCannell of the Angel Capital Association. “Entrepreneurs make their pitch to angel investors who research companies, analyze economic potential and invest capital after due diligence.”

This brings me back to the idea of enforcement. I’m not sure what that looks like on the government side, but I suggest that marketers seeking accredited investors do their own due diligence. They must make certain that their data providers verify that all individuals are in fact bona fide accredited investors.

A reputable accredited investor data provider should:

  1. Vet the data that they collect and append from each source.
  2. Double and even triple verify the information across multiple sources.
  3. Perform outside audits that confirm the accuracy of the data.

 

In a sense, financial marketers seeking individuals with the means to fund startups and help entrepreneurs must look for “accredited data providers.” Ask questions about the data and who may currently be using it. Are there any case studies that can be produced? Ask for references.

If the government specifically states that “enforcement” is the road to take to eliminate the potential for fraud in the accredited investor sector, then you will want to a data provider with a sterling reputation. On top of being in compliance with rules surrounding the marketing of financial services to accredited investors, you will be working with the type of quality data that can yield the ROI that financial marketers watch ever so closely.

Marketers without Borders

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

Directly tap into global wealth by targeting affluent consumers around the world

Global email and mailing lists of affluent consumers, investors, travelers and donors can help grab international, luxury brand market share.

The rise in global affluence has expanded demand for luxury products and services well beyond the United States. Just as brand name retailers have literally opened the doors to new stores sited in strategic international locations, direct marketers can also capture international market share by driving foreign customers to their websites by both email and direct mail.

Through the convenience of online shopping, many etailers are shipping worldwide. Fundraising for worldly causes has spread to donors all around the world. Investors overseas are flocking to U.S. markets. And international travel is skyrocketing among the nouveau riche in many countries outside the U.S.

But thus far, acquiring new customers, donors and investors from afar has largely been a passive process, whereby people from other nations are searching and finding what they are looking for online. In luxury brand marketing, it is essential to establish brand loyalty early on because, well, customers tend to remain loyal. So now is the time for marketers seeking a bigger slice of international market share to take their message directly overseas to international consumers of means.

As Media Post reports, favorable exchange rates, affordable home prices and rising affluence abroad are driving international buyers to American real estate investments. This tells me that there is a large international audience out there with capital to invest and who are most likely frequent fliers.

Therefore, the first two upmarket sectors that come to mind for direct marketing to the world’s wealthy are:

1. Luxury Travel

Global jet setters are searching for:

 

2. Financial Services

International investors are seeking:

 

All luxury marketers can generate brand appeal among the über-wealthy in numerous countries that are home to a growing number of affluent consumers — China, France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom to name a few. Utilize  email as well as international postal mail to seize the opportunity to establish brand preference among the world’s elite investors, first class travelers, luxury shoppers and major donors.

Meet HARRY – Highly Affluent Really Rich Yank

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Targeting really rich consumer prospects for luxury brand marketing.

Targeting really rich consumers requires more than income data.

Achieving the status of earning that elusive six-figure income was once the telltale sign of truly making it. One-hundred-thousand-dollars! Sounds like a lot to me. But to those in the upper high-end market, that’s pocket change.

Luxury brands, exotic travel marketers and high net worth financial service providers all need really rich people to keep their businesses booming. However, finding viable luxury customers is not about how much they make. It’s how much they keep; how big their portfolios are. By definition “rich” means that you have an abundance of money or assets, not simply a high income.

Listen, a hundred grand is still a handsome sum, but when it comes to marketing to the rich, it does not mean all that much. According to the census bureau, 20% of American households currently earn six figures, but does that make them rich?

Fortune Magazine coined a name for those earning nearly half-a-million-dollars with not much to show for it after taxes, schooling, housing, and those occasional 5-star dinners: “HENRY”High Earner Not Rich Yet.

I say what you need to move the needle higher on luxury sales is HARRY Highly Affluent Really Rich Yank. And by “Yank” I mean American. (And yes, you heard it here first.)

So why the persistence of luxury direct marketers sourcing prospects solely through geo-demographic data? Why only request income level? Why not ask how the data is sourced? What do individual prospects own? How can you prove these folks are really rich?

Just because someone may make more than his neighbor does not mean they are worth more. But a rich person is secure in the knowledge that they have diversified assets in place to afford a lifestyle worthy of the rich and famous. They are the ones who can spring for a quick jaunt to Monte Carlo, a share in fractional private jet ownership or an investment in the next big thing.

You see Wealth Window does not only factor income as the determination of the wealth of an individual. We examine ownership, membership, investment, philanthropy, upscale activity and professional career data. Based on cross-verification of certain financial criteria, only then can a “HARRY” join the exclusive club that we call Wealth Window.

Raise the Bar in Targeting Accredited Investors

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Target high net worth in marketing to accredited angel investors.

Time to raise the bar in marketing to high net worth, accredited investors.

As the Dow, S&P and Nasdaq steam ahead, consumer confidence is actually at its lowest point since 2008. The recession has proven to have a lasting impact by showing people, the rich included, what’s essential and what’s not. It appears that the wealthy today are focused on acquiring more stocks, not buying more fancy material possessions.

I suspect that those powering the markets forward are quite financially sophisticated, many of whom could be considered accredited investors with access to investment opportunities that others are barred from. Based on proof that such an investor earns at least $200M or has a net worth above $1MM, they can fund private ventures considered as possibly too risky for those with lower household income or net worth.

The rule (#504 of Regulation D) designating this income level was made decades ago. And only just a year ago did the SEC begin allowing public advertising and solicitation of Regulation D offers (private securities) to accredited investors based on those figures. So while it is legal to pitch private business investment opportunities to individuals earning $200,000, it would be wiser to target those with very high net worth and the liquid capital to put some skin in the game.

A six-figure income is nowhere near what it used to be when rule 504 established the necessary income level to be deemed “accredited.” To keep it simple, let’s use $100,000 for example. In the 80’s that would buy you a very nice house, college education for the kids and leave enough leftover for family vacations. Today, you’d need $279,000 to enjoy the same purchasing power that  $100,000 afforded in 1980.

Investors with less than a million in the bank, but earning $200,000 are probably not in position to provide seed money for the next big thing. To be willing to stake a new business startup, most investors have a sizeable, well-balanced portfolio with liquid capital. In other words, very high net worth.

Meanwhile, beginning this year the SEC is required to review the “accredited investor” definition in its entirety and consider raising the bar as it views appropriate for the current economy. That’s a strong indicator that marketers seeking accredited investors should raise their bar staring now.

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