Affluent women ($250K+ HHI) are a critically important customer group for brands, though these women might not know it based on the majority of the marketing and advertising already out there. Women see less advertising aimed in their direction generally, or they see campaigns that rely on stereotypes. Further exacerbating the issue of developing connections with this consumer segment, affluent women are unique in their beliefs and outlooks, both compared to other women and their affluent male counterparts. Wealthy women see their lives and the world both through the lens of a woman and someone with money. Marketing leaders need to adopt a nuanced approach to reach them.
Speak to Women More Often and More Accurately
While society continues to grapple and come to terms with institutionalized sexism, the advertising world has remained stubbornly patriarchal in its approach. Marketers give men fourfold more screen time than women, and speak about men seven times more often than women. Men are 62% more likely to be portrayed as intelligent or as a leader, speaking more about power (+29%) and achievement (+28%) than women. One in three men are shown with an occupation, compared to one in four women. Women are 48% more likely to be shown in the kitchen.
These stats are more than just a blight on a brand’s track record of equality; they also hurt the bottom line. As Unilever’s former CMCO Keith Weed recently noted, greater gender representation in advertising is “an economic issue, not just a moral issue,” after his company found that increasing efforts in this area raised purchase intent among consumers by 18% and improved a brand’s credibility by 21%.
Validate the Responsibility Affluent Women Feel for Their Circumstances
While balanced, grounded and accurate gender representation in marketing is important regardless of income, it’s especially critical to winning over affluent women, who feel a heightened responsibility for the achievement, and the ongoing stewardship, of their personal finances. Our research also finds that affluent women prioritize the values of reliability, excellence, reality and learning more than both non-affluent women and affluent men do. Taken together, these insights point to a grounded but determined pursuit of sustainable quality in affluent women’s lives.
Given this priority, it’s important for brands to speak to affluent women’s desire for sober-minded stewardship and offer products that meet their standards of excellence.
Highlight Substantive Differentials Like Durability and Performance When Marketing to Affluent Women
While campaigns geared toward women with money often pick indulgence and opulence as signifiers of luxury, these approaches may not be the most successful. Affluent women aren’t looking for magic bullets, but steady and sustainable approaches to meeting life’s challenges. Reliability is affluent women’s number-two value overall, ranked 13 places higher for them than it is for affluent men, and 17 places higher than for non-affluent women. Affluent women are also more likely to say that “durability” is an indicator of high-quality products than affluent men are.
To better connect with affluent women, marketers should bypass female marketing tropes that encourage pampering and indulgence, and focus instead on pragmatic and practical differentiators, e.g., durability, reliability and performance. These are more likely to resonate with this group’s desire for smart and steady excellence.
For more, check out: “Best Practices for Marketing to Affluent Women” (subscription required).
 Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. June 2017