Wondering how to market to billionaires? You’ll need a highly tailored campaign and a deep understanding of the habits and behaviours of this unique audience.
Billionaires are the most niche audience in the world, making them an incredibly challenging audience for marketers to reach.
People like Elon Musk, King Salman, and Jack Ma belong to a select group of only 3,311 billionaires on the planet. This highly exclusive audience is made up of 87% men and 13% women, and the top cities for billionaires to live in are New York, Hong Kong, and San Francisco; however, Kuwait City has the most billionaires per capita.
These business leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, royals, philanthropists, creatives, and sporting heroes like to read business, tech, and scientific news such as Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, Recode, and The Verge. But, marketing to billionaires through media campaigns alone would be a mistake because they are primarily influenced by recommendations from their peers, family, and people they trust.
So, how do you market to the super rich in a way that resonates with them? Here, our experts share some tips on the best ways to target the world’s most exclusive audience.
How to market to billionaires
In the world of ultra-luxury marketing, a wild story told by the right people is what you need most of all when marketing to billionaires. But, once the story is established, effective methods for boosting reach include direct buys, take-overs, experiences, podcasts, and digital PR, formats where the story can be told deeply and authentically.
Take the Core Club in Manhattan as an example. The club was founded in 2005 by 100 founding peers, including Stephen Roth, Vivi Nevo, and Abi Rosen, each investing US$100,000.
When any new member, such as Bill Clinton and Tory Burch, want to join, in addition to the $50,000 joining fee they must also be recommended by one of the original founding members. This ensures that the club retains its ethos of co-creation and a warm-hearted personal touch that is only possible when all members feel on an equal footing. The spirit of recommendation is woven into the very product itself.
Even so, a brand needs to control who has the right to recommend or even purchase, as an endorsement from an undesirable with the wrong values can stop a hot property in its tracks.
A Hermes Birkin bag, for example, costs tens of thousands of dollars but is only available to verified VIP customers, ensuring that it feels like a prize even to the wealthiest. Even more importantly, this protects the brand from ‘inappropriate’ advocates who may contradict the brand’s values.
In its digital presence, an ultra-luxury brand also needs to move in the right circles, for the few, not the many. Look to active and secure social platforms like LinkedIn, Medium, Telegram, Discord, and customer apps, as well as the swathe of new, verified ‘for good’ social media platforms coming in 2023, such as WeAre8 and Wunder.
Marketing to billionaires; audience profiles
Marketing to billionaires sometimes defies logic. It’s impossible to curate audiences based on characteristics like interest, age, gender, or even profession.
Billionaire audiences need to be hand-picked. And, once assembled, they are full of anomalies, without clear clusters and below the size required for statistical viability.
Add to that a billionaire’s penchant for unique experiences and products and a quest to feel an emotional response in a world where they’ve seen and done it all.
Products don’t need to be cost-effective or replicable en-masse when their main goal is to be astonishing and unmatchable. Likewise, audiences don’t need to be statistically viable as long as you know how to read the signals and insights they emit. It’s an art as much as a science.
How to sell to billionaires; authenticity is vital
With billionaires, authenticity is vital. Remember that a brand’s actions speak louder than its words. The most important thing marketers can do is look right to the core of their products and weave the stories into them, then whisper them into the right circles.
Yes, we start with data, we observe the audience members, and then use our imagination to dream up product features such as the Ludicrous Mode setting on a Tesla, the diamond-encrusted interior of a Rolls Royce, and the underwater luxury hotel Lovers Deep, which is actually a submarine which sits below the waves off the coast of St Lucia. Not stories about products but stories within products.
Even better (from a billionaire’s point of view) than a thrilling rarity is one with a true purpose, and the prize for nailing this story goes to Space Perspectives.
It is hoped that the trip will accelerate the sustainability and climate change efforts of the world’s wealthiest when they view how fragile our planet looks from outer space. There is no greenwashing here; it’s the core proposition, and it is catnip to billionaires, with all flights sold out until 2024.
Advertising to billionaires; collaborations and partnerships
Ultra-luxury brands can attain that familiar feeling of recommendation by conducting collaborations and partnerships with other brands and even with customers. When considering how to market to billionaires, the vital ingredient is aligned values.
For example, the Yacht club de Monaco only accepts members who balance maritime heritage and progressive values with environmental preservation and must be endorsed by two sponsors and approved by Prince Albert II, the club’s president.
With pinnacle commissioning projects, such as the 71-metre superyacht JUICE commissioned by an avid art collector and delivered in April 2022, and the $2 billion ‘Antilia’ residence in Mumbai commissioned by Mukesh Ambani, the customer can get so involved in the vision of the product that it could be viewed as an equal partnership, but should never assume a master and servant dynamic.
Any company can take an order from a billionaire, but it takes a true master of a field to challenge and raise the billionaire’s sights beyond their own imagination.
One of the characteristics of such a massive-scale commission is the wait time. For example, a superyacht takes three to four years to commission, design, and build. Leveraged correctly, the production period can intensify the feeling of scarcity and anticipated pleasure for the billionaire.
Keeping the attention of billionaires
Do you want billionaires to pay attention to your products? It won’t be enough to create a retrospective campaign about a product. The campaign is the product – it must hit all the right notes of rarity, firsts, a personal story, recommendation, social accountability, and authentic values from a reputable brand recommended by the right trusted source.
Once these elements are in place, you can amplify the story in the right circles using deep storytelling formats such as direct buys, takeovers, podcasts, partnerships, collaborations, secure networking, and experiences that continue through the user journey.
Remember, when targeting billionaires appealing to the right people also means carefully excluding the wrong people, so a standard luxury or mass marketing model won’t work.
Relevance is a full-service luxury digital marketing agency specialising in marketing to the world’s wealthiest audiences. We work with some of the world’s most luxurious brands, delivering results-driven campaigns with measurable results. Contact us today for a consultation about your ultra-luxury brand and how to market to billionaires.