wealthy man and woman looking at a website

Marketing with the Psychology of Social Status

Learn how to market to money by understanding how the psychology of social status works and how to use it.

Most marketing advice is geared toward the everyday consumer who’s basically looking for products and services that will improve their life in some way. The typical persona is the average man or woman who has specific objectives, wishes, and needs regarding their lifestyle, family dynamics, and leisure time. They also often have a more stringent budget and priorities for how and where they spend their disposable income. Marketing to wealth is different, however.

Should your marketing strategies and approach differ when you’re dealing with an affluent demographic that generally has most of their basic needs met?

In other words, how do you market to the person who has everything?

The Billionaire Next Door: They’re Just Like us, Right?

It is said that celebrities and other wealthy people are just the same as us. They put their pants on one leg at a time. No matter how much they have, they still feel pain and get tired, hungry, or sick.

In other words, they’re human.

However, they don’t respond to the same marketing strategies as the average consumer. Their pain points and daily requirements are often different, and so is their trust level and discernment.

Affluence is more than just a measure of net worth or homes in a certain zip code. As with most demographics, personality, lifestyle, habits, and even profession play a large part in tailoring your approach. Even among the super-wealthy, there are shades and degrees of wealth and how it’s displayed.

Affluent vs Aspirational

The luxury market can be divided into two basic categories when when it comes to marketing to wealth and attracting an affluent demographic. There is also some overlap and several shades of affluence in between.

One group is comprised of those who are high-earners with a taste for accumulating status symbols and items produced by luxury brands. They may or may not have a high net worth or much financial security, but they do make money and like to spend it. This group can include influencers, celebrities, and what used to be called “new money”. They equate money with status, find it easy to accumulate, and so value it less.

Their motto might be “Carpe Diem, because you only live once.”

The other wealthy demographic is more concerned with quality and financial security than with the trappings and outer displays of wealth. They still live well and like to spend. However, they respond better to investments and value propositions. They’re more into accumulating wealth and security than hyper-consumerism and flash. Put professionals, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists in this category.

These are rather broad categories, however. Remember that your audience is comprised of individuals, and you should market to them as such. Learn as much as you can about each client before you cultivate their business.

The Psychology of Marketing to the Rich

Marketing to the wealthy means more than just guessing – or worse, assuming – what the affluent are like and what they want out of life. Many of the moneyed people I know are surprisingly frugal in many ways. They differ from the aspirational by their relationship with – and attitude toward – money.

Because people court them looking for money, they’re selective about who they do business with and how they spend. They also want to know that they’re getting a certain level of expertise and a solid ROI.

Understand That Money is the Object

For the most part, wealthy people got where they are because they know the value of money, and they’re very selective about where they spend it. Don’t assume that they’ll pay an outrageous price for a product or service just because they’re rich.

Regardless of someone’s net worth, they still want value for their money. Few affluent people are willing to pay just to eliminate a problem, They want to know how your product will benefit them.

Invest in Yourself

Successful people gravitate toward other successful people. Even if you’re not on their level financially or socially, it helps to create the appearance of success and affluence. Don’t go overboard, but do make the effort to upgrade your professional image.

You don’t necessarily need to get a makeover, but invest extra time, money, and effort into presenting a professional, polished appearance. Consider a higher-end wardrobe and grooming, elegant business cards and letterhead, and a well-designed website as an investment in your future success.

Work on Building Trust

When someone has a lot of money, they can become wary of other people. It seems that everyone wants you to buy their products, invest in their business, or support their cause.

If you want to market successfully to the rich and powerful, work on building a relationship that’s rooted in trust and authenticity. Develop social intelligence and work on presenting an air of confidence. Become a familiar face by frequenting the same places, attending the same events, and making the effort to meet and greet your audience on their level.

Exercise Patience and Restraint

Marketing to wealth takes patience and persistence. Sustainable business relationships don’t develop overnight, and the wealthy rarely make snap decisions. Adjust to their timetable. The effort will pay off when you’re able to present your business as the most viable option.

Resist the urge to pressure them, act desperate for their business, or come off as too slick. They can sense predatory tactics and inauthentic behavior, and being pushy will drive them straight toward the competition. When you have enough money and options, you’re more willing to take a pass and wait for a better solution.

Display Your Expertise

The rich are willing to invest their time and money to get the best of whatever they’re buying. Highlight your credentials and accomplishments, display your knowledge in conversation and on your website. Become an expert in your field. Let them know, with some genuine humility, that when they get you, they’re getting the best.

Mind Your Messaging

With the wealthy, messaging is everything. Incorporate the language of wealth by using terms like “high-end”, “luxury”, and “premium”. Highlight the value and benefits of your brand. In your advertising, mirror their own self-image through the people who appear in your ads, the imagery you use, and the tone.

Highlight Exclusivity

A major draw of affluence is the knowledge that they have access or benefits that are unavailable to others. Consider premium content that’s only available to them, such as members-only access or special programs, content, and deals. Prioritize their business no matter how busy you are, and keep the lines of communication open. If a problem does develop, be upfront without making excuses. Action-minded people respond to action.

Final Thoughts

Not all audience pain points are created equally. Although it’s essential to establish an emotional connection through engaging content, the approach you use to make that connection differs from demographic to demographic.

Wouldn’t it be nice to take the guesswork out of marketing to wealth?

Working with a seasoned team of professionals allows you to do just that. At Level 343, we have a proven track record of success that transcends audience and industry. Contact us today to learn more about how our services will help you reach qualified leads that convert.

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Learn how to market to money by understanding how the psychology of social status works and how to use it.

Today's Author

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