October 25, 2013, 3:53 PM

'Affluencers': who they are and how you can reach them

“Affluencers” are affluent consumers who influence others like them.

You know that certain customers are more valuable to your bottom line than others. But do you know who your most important customer segment is?

The Affluent Influencer, or “Affluencer,” is a key demographic for online retail brands. This group combines affluence (household income of $100K+) with influence (the ability to affect the purchase decisions of others) and has great potential to increase awareness of and affinity for your brand.

In our recent whitepaper, Affluent Influencers – How Marketers Can Understand Their Generational Differences and Tap Into Their Authority, we took an in-depth look at this pivotal audience segment. For online retailers, getting Affluencers to talk about your brand is all about driving engagement through relevance by:

Adding relevant variety to your ad creative

Our research looked at Affluencer values, preferences, and behaviors across three generations: Millennials, GenXers, and Boomers. Though they share many commonalities, each generation also has unique needs. For example:

  • Millennial Affluencers are more likely to respond well to messages with social benefits (fitting in, being admired, etc.) while Boomer Affluencers are more focused on personal benefits.
  • A substantial percentage of Millennial and Gen X Affluencers access the web regularly via their smartphones (69% and 58%, respectively), or their tablets (45% and 34%, respectively). Millennial Affluencers also access the Internet via smart TVs (18%) and game consoles (15%).
  • A notable percentage of Affluencers regularly read print magazines and are substantially more likely than their affluent but non-influential counterparts to read publications in the buying guide, cars/automotive, technology, and classified advertisements categories.

Testing is critical to ensure that you are putting the right message and creative into the market. Vary headlines, images, media types, messages, and more, adapting presentation for different devices.  Running the same creative month after month creates a virtual blind spot—change things up frequently. Consider rich media units to boost interest and prolong engagement.

Also, focus on creating well-integrated campaigns. Tying traditional and digital media together—such as using print to drive traffic to a web site or landing page—creates the kind of immersive and convenient experience Affluencers expect.

 Increasing the breadth and depth of your content

Those who give advice must also consume advice. Affluencers are respected “experts” because they are well informed. Buying guides, Q&A pages, advice columns, and other informational content represent an important content marketing opportunity to feed the Affluencers’ desire for knowledge and know-how.

  • 90%-91% of Affluencers (depending on generation) research products online.
  • A majority of Affluencers also routinely make purchases online (70%, 59%, and 53%, respectively, Millennials to Boomers).
  • Millennial Affluencers are 253% more likely than their affluent but non-influential counterparts to make daily purchases. Similarly, Gen X Affluencers are 50% more likely to make weekly purchases, and Boomer Affluencers are 24% more likely to make monthly purchases.

Creating a valuable “resource library” of content that helps educate, inform, and entertain your customers facilitates the research and conversion process and improves the customer experience and your customer relations. Mr. Porter and Zappos are just two examples of brands that have embraced this approach with great success.

Remember, the Internet expands Affluencers’ reach exponentially with just one click. Make sure it’s easy for them to engage with and share your content.

Ensuring multi-device support

Mobile is a huge opportunity for forward-thinking online retailers to outsmart the competition.

  • eMarketer reports that e-commerce sales volume transacted via mobile devices will increase from 15% to 24% between now and 2016.
  • Nielsen research indicates that two-thirds of smartphone users and four-fifths of tablet users make online purchases from these devices even when using them at home.
  • comScore numbers show that 48% of the time spent online in the retail category was spent on mobile devices.
  •  Our research showed that 78% of Millennial and 66% of Gen X Affluencers use their mobile devices like a computer—checking e-mails and performing web searches.

Though mobile device shopping is clearly here to stay, not all marketers are doing it and not all those who are engaged know how to do it well. It’s more than just responsive design. It’s about creating a smart mobile experience with relevant features that align with the preferences and needs of Affluencers. Make it easier for the mobile shopper to research product by delivering accessible local store inventories and detailed product descriptions. Keep in mind readability requirements on a smaller screen by including large images.

 Using data strategically

Increase your marketing relevance by using research findings and your own data to create highly targeted customer profiles. For example, our research found:

  • 50%–65% of Affluencers (depending on generation) are always the first among their friends to try new products and services, making the concept of “NEW” an appealing message.
  • 56%–65% of Affluencers (depending on generation) are willing to spend money to save time, making efficiency a valuable benefit.
  • Millennial Affluencers are more than four times more likely than Boomer Affluencers to create online content, making them much more likely to engage in participatory brand activities.

Put your data to work before the sale by segmenting your online advertising not just by demographics, but also by location, behavior, interests, and other relevant information.

Affluent Influencers are customers with better-than-average benefits.

Not only do Affluencers buy your products, they also convince others to buy your products. Make sure that your marketing is designed to reach this critical audience through targeted relevance, and watch your business boom.

iProspect is a digital marketing agency offering services in such disciplines as paid search, natural search, performance display, mobile strategy, social media management, structured data and feeds, and affiliate management. 

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