Marketing: The Male Factor

By Christopher Zoukis

Affluent men are status conscious. So are affluent women. According to American Demographics, men and women perceive status and status enhancement in different ways. Men compete with other men for status. It is a competition based on pure comparison. The comparison takes place at every level. Cars, houses, watches, clothes, yachts, cigars and yes, athletics. When an affluent male sees another affluent male, who appears to have more status, the game is on. It is not about the game, it is about winning the game. Which explains why Larry Ellison ordered a new yacht to replace his old one. While cruising the Mediterranean, Ellison pulled into Monaco for the night. To his dismay, his yacht was the second longest in the harbor. The longest yacht belonged to Paul Allen, who founded Micro-Soft along with Bill Gates. Larry Ellison had to have the biggest yacht in the harbor. And his yacht had to have the finest and most luxurious appointments. So Larry Ellison immediately ordered a new yacht to be custom-built for him. It would be fifty feet longer than Paul Allen’s yacht.  Image courtesy itbusinessimage.com

For affluent men, status is a “gut” reaction and involves what they perceive as a “winning image.” This winning image is established by marketing in popular media outlets: magazines, the internet, television. Affluent men see what other affluent men are buying, so they buy too. In other words, they buy what they see everyday, because what they see everyday is what they come to desire. To validate themselves and their status, affluent men want what their peers have and, if possible, something a little bit better.

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Marketing and Enthusiasm

By Christopher Zoukis

U.S. Census numbers indicate that gays and lesbians live in every part of the United States. Most of them are intelligent, educated, and technologically attuned. Many of them are wealthy. They enjoy spending their money on travel and luxury goods.

For example, Kimpton Hotels and RPhoto courtesy luxedb.comestaurants did a research survey, because they wanted to attract gay and lesbian customers. The result? Lesbian businesswomen, who take frequent vacations and stay in luxury hotels, have the same values, lifestyles and hobbies as their heterosexual counterparts. They enjoy spas, exercise facilities, tasteful interior décor, and personal services, such as massages and facials. Lesbian customers prefer to spend their money at businesses that support feminist causes and other non-profit organizations. 

Kimpton now offers getaway packages to lesbians and heterosexual women, both of which are a steadily growing source of revenue for Kimpton.

Another example is Budget car rental company. Budget instituted a marketing campaign targeting gay men. It was quite simple, but very effective. Budget treats gay partners as if they were married. There is no surcharge for another driver. Gay customers like this kind of treatment. They remember it. Whenever they travel, they come back to Budget.

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Marketing To That ‘Special’ Feeling

By Christopher Zoukis

Affluent women buy the latest styles so they stand out. Soon, though, everyone is wearing the same style, which means they don’t stand out anymore. This commonality de-stabilizes the affluent woman’s self-image, which includes standing out and feeling special. She demands a newer style, which the designers provide. The affluent woman buys it and once again feels special, because her self-image has been preserved.  Image courtesy jdm-digital.com

Evelyn Brannon, who wrote the book Fashion Forecasting, places affluent women in four categories: Individualists, who are fashion innovators. They use fashion as an exploration tool. As they explore, they feel distinctively special. The Mimics are affluent women who look to others, such as celebrities, to give direction to their fashion sense. They constantly change their look according to what is “in” with others. Fashion Arbiters form the third category. Arbiters dress in a more traditional style, influencing others in their group. The last category is called Followers.  Followers emulate the style of other mainstream, affluent women, such as the Arbiters.

In the ongoing search for feeling special, affluent women often find the feeling in distinctive designer brands. Zborowski points out that purchasing a brand name article of clothing can increase self-confidence, which makes the buyer feel special. Thus, brand names and designer logos are not only status symbols, but also symbolize a feeling of specialness. This means fashion choices are made deliberately for the feeling they carry with them. Clothing lets people feel special.

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