The Big Buck Hunt: Understand the High Net Worth Client

Scottish Highlands

A Handcrafted Message for the Ultra Luxury Client 

My Uncle Hailey, who himself could be characterized as a “high net worth” guy, was a great salesman having bought out the insurance company he worked for in the 1970s then selling it to KMART* to insure their entire business from wherehouse to retail floor. He used to say that finding the prospects (the ones that really mattered) was like a “Big Buck Hunt”.  Being a Texas type of guy he was also referring not only to the marketing term, but to the hunting of the rare animal, as well: The Client.

Forbes Magazine has put forth a very clear set of descriptions for the high net worth individuals who participate in moving and shaking the upper end of luxury market.  Here’s a short summary of each and further proof as to why it’s important to craft your messages on multi-channels in a variety of unique ways:

  • “Trendsetters are in alignment with their social environment. They’re often first movers as well as influencers within critical communities”

We look at this group as the first ones to purchase something that is outside the norm, different than the typical and he or she is usually reached in a way that is primarily digital or social or via a personalized engagement such as an event or exclusive experience. They tend to use their purchasing for social status and quickly move on to the next big thing, as soon as it arrives since they like to be first.  Brand loyalty may not be their best suit but they are happy to share.

  • Winners use luxury purchases as personal rewards and means of validation. Spending is usually prompted by key events such as a noted business accomplishment.

This group is primarily male, though a number of women join this top echelon of buyers who are reached through business channels, communities or private and exclusive club environments that showcase goods or services by membership only access.  Special short runs of products that are extended from the main group of products is usually the draw into the brand experience that the mass luxury market does not participate.

  • Connoisseurs are exceptionally knowledgeable and highly deliberate in their purchasing behavior. They’re experts in their field of acquisition.

These are people you won’t meet on the street; they’re quiet, super wealthy individuals who do not broadcast nor use their purchases as markers of their social status.  They simply enjoy the curation and acquisition experience for purposes that are both personal as well as for social or community good. They tend to donate large sums to social institutions, sometimes have their name on a building and if they are not philanthropists in public they are usually active in private.

This group of buyers is usually reached by both digital and traditional media channels but the one thing that all groups have in common is “time” and not enough of it.   Any product or service messaging that can save time will be the most useful.  Surprisingly, in the last five years the importance of digital channels in reaching these three groups has increased.  However other more traditional channels such as a curated art book or exclusive magazine and companion collateral or published piece which emphasizes artistic or high quality design is still considered the most powerful marketing tool.  The use of the ipad and smartphone, already proving to have a powerful reach worldwide, is increasingly becoming the most successful marketing platform for this high net worth group, due to its ease of use and time factor.

Time has already become the most exclusive luxury of all.  How luxury marketers use this ‘infinite quality’ in their message will be an important feature.  Qualities that make a brand a luxury brand can always be adapted by creators and by crafting the right story using the right channels you can successfully reach these unique buyers.

Our Thanks to Forbes Magazine for the above Definitions, listed in our bullet points.

* 70 Million Dollars in the 1970s would be worth at least double, now.