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How audience targeting helped a luxury agency win over ultra-high-net-worth individuals

Brent Barnhart
Sep 13, 2021 1:48:18 PM

It’s no secret that income level and budget are two crucial factors for audience targeting.

This is especially true when you’re selling a pinnacle product.

But what’s the best way to target customers when you’re selling a product that costs millions of dollars to a niche audience?

That’s the exact question that Relevance was tasked with answering on behalf of their client in the yachting space.

A luxury digital marketing agency with existing clients in exclusive industries including yachting, automotive, accessories, real estate, financial and legal services, Relevance already had over a decade of experience targeting ultra- and high-net-worth individuals (U&HNWIs).

Defined as consumers with at least $30 million dollars in assets, UHNWIs obviously aren’t your ordinary buyers. Representing the top tier of high-earners, marketing to such individuals may seem like a daunting task.

Yet just like any other type of shopper, UHNWIs have their own unique quirks when it comes to wants, needs, and what drives them to make a purchase.

Challenges

Relevance’s yachting client was eager to identify key messages and marketing platforms for a campaign tailor-made for UHNWIs. The client also wanted to create a criteria for selecting and engaging ambassadors for UHNWIs relevant to the campaign.

For starters, marketing to such high-earners isn’t as simple as coming up with a snappy slogan or creative ad.

Think about it. For a complex bespoke purchase such as a multi-million dollar yacht, it's unlikely that someone will make a snap purchase after seeing a single social ad.

“It’s more important than ever to target the right content and message to the right audience at the right time,” says Niki McMorrough, Commercial Director at Relevance. “UHNWIs are notoriously demanding in their requirements and rely on different advisors at each stage of the purchase funnel.”

And selling to UHNWIs requires brands to not only consider the timing of their marketing messages, but also that investing in such big-ticket items often requires reaching multiple people.

“You are not targeting the same individuals all the way through the process,” notes McMorrough.

Beyond timing and targeting, the idea of selling yachts in the midst of a pandemic is a tall order. Careful messaging was crucial for the campaign to be a success, especially given the timing.

Solution

So, how did Relevance put together a campaign for such a specialized, high-spending audience? In short, they took the following approach:

  • Create individual audiences that cover each part of the UHNWI’s customer journey
  • Analyze how their target audiences intersected, uncovering opportunities to target multiple segments at once via ads and organic content
  • Determine which types of ads and organic content made sense for each audience segment

Let’s dive into the specific steps Relevance took to put together their yachting campaign and how Audiense was integral to the process.

1. Create multiple target audiences across the buyer’s journey

As noted earlier, targeting UHNWIs rarely involved winning over a single decision-maker.

Having run similar campaigns in the past, Relevance knew this all too well. The agency managed to break down their targeting into a variety of segments using Audiense Insights. These segments included:

  • Yacht advisors (eg brokers, project managers, engineers etc)
  • UHNWI audiences (eg Top CEO’s, Heirs & Heiresses, tech entrepreneurs)
  • Yacht customers (eg from a customer database)
  • Social users mentioning yachts
  • Social followers of yacht companies
  • Yacht personnel (eg crew, hosts, captains)

With Audiense, you can build customer audiences and segment them based on demographics, affinities, and much more. Even if your customer segments might seem dissimilar at a glance, our platform empowers you to monitor their behavior in one place.

2. Analyze how the audiences intersected with each other to find new marketing opportunities

Although Relevance was looking at a variety of totally different audience segments, they acknowledged that there were probably some common threads between them.

And they were right.

Thanks to reporting via Audiense, Relevance was able to glean some seriously actionable insights for their campaign.

For example, they discovered that all of the profiled UHNWI audiences (and most of the “super yacht advisor” audiences) are most likely to be influenced by recommendations and friends and family when it comes to purchasing decisions. In other words, they seem only to be influenced by others like themselves.

This meant that testimonials, recommendations, and social proof were critical into the marketing and communication strategy for their client. Thankfully, the brand’s top influencers were already customers which made doing so easier.

Using Audiense’s Intersection reporting, users can uncover how affinities and behavior overlap from one audience segment to the next. For example, does the same ad strategy work between Fortune 500 professionals and yacht advisors? Until you dig into the data, you don’t know.

3. Use targeting data to come up with relevant campaigns

Relevance discovered that certain segments of the UHNWI were more “reachable” than others digitally.

For example, some were very much plugged into the world of social media while others stuck to more traditional forms of media and advertising (think: print). The agency tailored its organic paid and targeting strategy accordingly.

Using our Targeting Pack features and Audiense Connect, Relevance was able to determine which audiences would respond best to ads from different platforms. In short, a Targeting Pack is an excel file containing a selection of data included in an audience intelligence report to help you target your audience via different platforms. The Targeting Pack provides you with the segmented and unique affinities of your target audience or segment, making it easy to run ads across social media, YouTube, Google ads, and DSPs.

Findings and Results

The discoveries made by Relevance over the course of the campaign were eye-opening.

For example, some UHNWI segments proved to be “all business” and required business analogies (such as “smooth sailing in stormy seas”) to take action. Others responded to yachting as part of their work-life balance. Meanwhile, only the super yacht advisors and users showed an actual affinity for boats and watercraft.

When compared to each other (and based on global data), the personality blueprint for UHNWIs was crystal clear. This meant the campaign required a very specific tone of voice and targeting criteria that will continue throughout Relevance’s media layering.

After studying the intersection between UHNWIs and the rest of the clients’ segments, Relevance discovered that the company’s organic social media presence would need to focus on B2B only. Paid targeting would be used elsewhere to reach ultra-wealthy consumers.

“We developed a simple messaging map for the client, showing key angles to use to target the various segments on which platforms” McMorrough says in closing. “We have a clear direction and findings to back up our strategy with a much-needed sense of confidence. Media results are not available yet, but the client is already very happy with the strategic direction.”

Conclusion

Whether your audience is ultra-wealthy or not, the need to spot correlations among your buyers’ behavior is key to a successful campaign. From behavior and personalities to pain points and desires, you’d be surprised at what your customers have in common (or what sets them apart).

Determining those connections “by hand” is a tall order. With the help of tools like Audiense, identifying what engages your target customers without the guesswork.

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