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BizReport : Loyalty Marketing : January 24, 2012

Brands: Why you need 'Affluencers' in your stream

There is a new breed of consumer out there and they aren't called 'affluencers' because they have a lot of money. Although they do have plenty to spend. This group is increasingly online to research products, share brand information and look for product reviews - either to offer their opinion or to find another's opinion on a product.

by Kristina Knight

martini.jpgI recently chatted with Skip Brand about affluencers and why brands need to find them online.

Kristina: What is an 'affluencer' and why is this type of consumer important?

Skip Brand, CEO, Martini Media: We coined the term affluencer after a research study we completed with AddedValue, a WPP Group. What we found was that this high income audience was more likely to talk to friends and family about a product and believe a good ad is worth talking about. Almost 2/3 of responders actually shared good ads. And we found that this group frequently advised others on their favorite products and services. This is where influence meets affluence and it is very powerful. And also required for our brand advertisers - solid word of mouth.

Kristina: How important is the affluent audience for online brands these days?

Skip: The affluent audience is very important for brands in today's economic climate. Advertisers are increasingly less interested in buying eyeballs by the ton than in focusing on very specific groups of consumers. The affluents - not referring to just the wealthy elite, but those consumers with the most disposable income earning $100K or higher - represent 20% of U.S. households and are 2 times more likely to buy and spend 3 times more when they do. The rise of affluent Internet users is not only creating opportunities for marketers that traditionally cater to this demographic, but as this 'mass affluent' group grows, the range of companies that cater to them is also expanding.

Kristina: Over the 2011 holidays we saw a strong uptick in both ecommerce and m-commerce; moving forward, how important is it for merchants to connect with consumers online?

Skip: It's crucial for merchants to connect with consumers online and is imperative based on the latest AdAge research findings, which showed this audience would rather buy online 62% of the time. The Internet is the new window-shopping. Whether they buy online or not does not matter in the long run. They research online. They look to opinions from friends and family and their social networks before they make a purchase. Brands have to lay the foundation for building their brand story online. It's now the first place consumers go. And as technology pushes us to connected devices including tablets and e-readers to read magazines and watch TV, it will be the only source for brands to gain traction.

Tags: affluencers, affluent marketing, brand influence, loyalty marketing, Martini Media

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