Archive for the ‘Financial Services’ Category

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.

Sourcing the Right Crowd for Investment Opportunities

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

crowdfunding investors

Crowdfunding is giving accredited investors direct access to entrepreneurs.

There’s a whole new level of crowdfunding and participants are looking for big returns, not just mentions or prizes. Let’s call it “crowd-investing.” It’s quickly taking shape in real estate as many investors are jumping onto new real estate crowdfunding platforms.

Through a provision in the recent JOBS act, entrepreneurs can now advertise private investments to accredited investors who earn at least a $200M annual income and possess more than $1 million in net worth.

Earlier this year Realty Mogul announced a $9 million crowdfunding round whereby  accredited investors pooled their resources and bought shares of investment properties. It’s similar to investing in Real Estate Investment Trusts, but unlike REITs investors know specifically what they are investing in such as office buildings, retail space and residential properties. In addition to investment returns, investors can claim real estate depreciations on taxes.

Forbes has gone as far as suggesting that crowdfunding may reshape the whole real estate investment model. Where entrepreneurs traditionally had to raise capital through banks or professional investors, they can now go directly to people with money to invest. This democratizing of the process allows individuals outside of institutional funds to invest in real estate properties paving the way for entrepreneurs to more easily secure capital.

A similar sea change is taking place in the entertainment world where accredited investors and high net worth individuals have the opportunity to back a movie. The film investment company Junction has been called “Kickstarter for the rich” and rewards investors based on their contribution to a film. Two films currently funded by Junction include some big Hollywood names — A Hologram for the King starring Tom Hanks and Triple Nine starring Chiwetal Ejifor, Kate Winslet and Woody Harrelson.

As in real estate, filmmakers can take their projects directly to people with money to invest thereby accessing capital more quickly than seeking bank loans or the backing of a big studio. The holy grail of this type of investor is the “angel” who’s willing to stake a filmmaker whatever it takes to get the movie produced. In many cases, the investors can play a role in the film making process.

A few recent developments have made online crowd-investing possible.

1)   The SEC lifted a decades-long ban on general solicitation. Prior to this, entrepreneurs could not try to raise money from investors with whom they did not have an existing relationship.

2)   Self-directed online investing has become the norm that entrepreneurial companies can capitalize on by pooling money from individuals who buy shares in the company or specific projects.

3)   Through new web platforms, investors can browse and screen investment opportunities, view details of the investment and sign legal documents online.

The key to success in crowd-investing is acquiring and retaining a list of accredited investors open to the concept of crowdfunding, which is no easy task. Before you solicit funding for investment opportunities via mail or email to a prospect list, make sure you ask two very important questions of the prospect data provider.

a)    Do you have accredited investors?

b)    Do these investors have a history of making crowdfunded investments?

Marketing to accredited crowdfunding investors will make all the difference in your ROI. Finding an angel or two among the group willing to bankroll a project can quickly spell success. These types of prospective investors are very difficult to identify, but when you do, they can send your operating capital through the roof.



Multimillionaires Have “Financial Personas” Too

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

I’ve always assumed that in general multimillionaires have a pretty good handle on their financial plans. They know what financial vehicles they need, when to buy, when to sell and how to shelter income from tax exposure. They have their insurance needs and estate plans covered. They’re rich and they know what they’re doing, right?

Wrong. A recent survey among individuals with at least $3 million in investable assets, found quite the opposite. Trusts among the wealthy are underused. Less than half of all young millionaires have comprehensive estate plans. Many of the wealthy are not adjusting their taxable estates in accordance with changes in tax laws. Nearly all express doubts about their understanding of — or ability to manage — risk tolerance.

When making investments, emotions among multimillionaires are not unlike anyone else with some money to invest. They range from feeling independent and smart to nervous and overwhelmed. Some take comfort in conservative wealth preservation strategies while others take on the risk of growth strategies.

While preserving the continuity of family wealth remains important across all generations, the survey reveals that no generation of wealthy Americans is planning as well as it could be. The good news for financial services marketers is that today’s younger generation of millionaires believes in the value of financial advice and planning. Many are establishing financial plans to cover long-term care for their parents as well as themselves. They also believes it is more important to leave a financial inheritance to their children than do their boomer parents.

Financial Service Providers — banks, investment advisors, attorneys, tax planners, online investment websites — will be glad to hear that this new generation believes that both they and their children will benefit from discussions with a financial professional.

Financial planners can target wealthy prospects by income and net worth data, but for better results, it’s helpful to align the types of products and services offered with the type of financial persona your prospects exude. First Manhattan Consulting Group (FMCG) has consulted for leading private equity firms, insurance carriers, regional and national brokerages and the largest banks. The firm has conducted extensive research into the many personas of the wealthy and has developed code to apply these personas to outside files.

Our match of Wealth Window with FMCG data resulted in some very illuminating results. First off, according to FMCG, individuals on the Wealth Window database index among the highest in the nation for investable assets, bank deposits, and credit scores. That tells us our philosophy in using the multiple sources of data we incorporate into the database is working.

The match then sorted each Wealth Window investor into various targetable FMCG personas such as


This is the type of information that is critical in making that first impression, whether by mail, email, telephone, or in person. We call this data Predictive Insights: Financial Market Personas. It is available for use in financial direct marketing campaigns and it has the power to make the difference in a campaign’s positive or negative ROI.



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