Even in this constricting economy, luxury prospects are still happy to spend. Greg Furman, founder of The Luxury Marketing Council, defines the luxury prospect base as the estimated 3.2 million American households with liquid portfolios of $1 million and more. “We believe it’s definitely a hard market, but people are still spending,” says Karen Fields, director of market intelligence for Exclusive Resorts, a luxury destination club.
While Fields admits that sending direct mail to a market based on scarcity and exclusivity may seem backward, she says her company has seen great success with direct mail, especially for lead generation. Furman and Fields agree that luxury prospects are responsive to direct mail when it is highly targeted and relevant. Below, they share some best practices on reaching out to luxury prospects via direct mail.
1. Sell a Product’s Emotional Benefits
In selling a high-end product to a luxury prospect, it’s important to position the product as a must-have. For example, Fields describes her product, access to luxury vacation homes worldwide, as a benefit conferred upon the prospect’s friends and family — and which makes the most out of their vacation time together. “It’s really moving beyond the conversation of trying to make the math work into the fact that there are emotional benefits that don’t have a price tag associated with them,” Fields comments.
2. Include a Free Gift
Furman says personal gifting is another way to create an emotional connection with prospects. He cites an example when Departures Magazine executives sent a handwritten thank-you and a bottle of exclusive, new-to-market Italian virgin olive oil to top advertisers. “It was not expensive but had a great impact. Now that’s an example of gifting as a direct marketing strategy that breaks through the traditional clutter,” Furman shares. Exclusive Resorts has tested sending travel-related premiums — like books written about destinations — to prospects, and Fields says that’s been successful in lead generation efforts.