Social Media: It Doesn’t Reach Everyone, Particularly the Wealthy

Jamie Klemcke
September 13, 2011 — 1,216 views  
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There's no denying that as marketers, we're heavily influenced by the social media bandwagon. While it's still hot, companies in nearly every industry are focusing their budgets on it, to use the power of Facebook, Twitter and online networks to get their message out to customers and prospects. Be cautioned: social media is not a numbers game, nor is it one that reaches all consumer audiences.

An article in Luxury Daily reports that 50% of our wealthiest populations (the top 10% of affluent U.S. individuals who make up 35% of all U.S. income; individuals with a minimum net worth of $828,000 and an average net worth of $3.1 million) don't engage with social media at all.

Although the United States is still considered to be in a recession, the Center for American Progress' Prosperity 2050 study claims that the very rich are growing in number, stating that the share of total wealth held by the top 20 percent of the wealthy has actually increased by two percent from the year 2007 to 2009.

If social media is your main focus or the only marketing tactic your company is utilizing, you certainly may be reaching a large number of consumers, but according to Ron Kurtz, principal of Atlanta-based American Affluence Research Center, the social media crowd is made up of mostly young, non-affluent people. If your objective is to reach consumers that are ready to buy (shortening the sales cycle), you're missing out on a major audience - one that likely has lots of disposable income. In the article by Luxury Daily, to reach these affluent buyers, Kurtz suggests focusing on customer referrals and direct mail, including catalogs.

Moreover, the trend of the rich getting richer, as suggested by the Prosperity 2050 study, emphasizes why direct mail continues to be a winning strategy for big ticket items and fundraising efforts that often appeal to those with more disposable income.

Even if reaching the affluent consumer is not directly applicable to your marketing efforts, these statistics serve as a reminder why direct mail must play an integral role in any effective marketing campaign. If for no other reason, it's still true that for some people, mail is the preferred marketing channel.

Be careful not to hang your hat on social media as your only means of reaching your audience. Social media is not a direct response vehicle. It's certainly got it's time and place if you're looking to improve the purchase frequency of your existing customers as it can offer unprecedented levels of interaction, which can lead to better customer retention. It is best for building visibility and brand awareness over time. However, if customer acquisition is what you're after, or immediate and quantifiable results, you may find your campaign delivering less than you'd like.

This is not by any means to say that you should abandon the use of social media, but rather integrate social media elements into your direct mail efforts. It is the intentional blending of online and offline tools and tactics around a single marketing strategy that will extend a brand's reach and impact the bottom line.

Jamie Klemcke

QuantumDigital

Jamie brings 12 years of interactive and traditional marketing experience to her position at QuantumDigital and is responsible for overseeing all marketing communications.