For years there was an unspoken suspicion among some high-net-worth marketers that the rich weren’t online, and even if they were, the digital environment was too wild, too unreliable, too dynamic a place to support a sustained, controlled marketing campaign. The wealthy, it was argued, may use the Internet, but would never trust it for transactions or reliable information.
We are all wiser now. But a recent survey by the Interactive Advertising Bureau shows just how far we’ve come. Not only are the wealthy using the Internet; they are more comfortable performing transactions and sharing personal information with trusted businesses online than are other consumers.
The IAB surveyed more than 2,000 individuals, half with incomes less than $100,000 annually and half with incomes over that mark. That’s a relatively arbitrary demarcation, and doesn’t necessarily define affluent or high net worth as the financial services industry traditionally describes them. Still, it’s a large sample and a good indication of those groups’ behavior, and it jibes with our own research and observations.
Additional points of interest from the study:
But when they share personal information, they expect something in return. More than three in 10 said they are comfortable sharing personal information online if it means a more personalized Web experience. Only two in 10 of the nonaffluent consumers said the same thing. That’s not a dramatic number, but it demonstrates that the affluent are more comfortable with technology than other consumer groups.
The lesson for wealth marketers is that when it comes to channels, online and digital initiatives can no longer be seen as extensions of “traditional” campaigns. Digital should be a primary driver for reaching the affluent and the high net worth. But it is crucial that marketers be confident in the quality and usability of the online environment they have created—it’s the only thing keeping their brands from disappearing at the click of the little “x” in the upper corner of a consumer’s browser.
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