Affluence-Panel_LargeOn Tuesday, September 24, 2013 McCann Truth Central introduced the findings from The Truth About Affluence to a packed house at B.B. King Blues Club, in the heart of New York City’s Times Square. The event, which was part of Advertising Week 2013, featured a presentation from Laura Simpson, Global Director McCann Truth Central, followed by a panel discussion moderated by Suzanne Powers, McCann’s Chief Strategy Officer.

The expert panel included Anne Valentzas (VP, Affluent Consumer Marketing, MasterCard), Alexis Maybank (Co-Founder, Gilt Groupe), Mickey Alam Khan (Editor-in-Chief, Luxury Daily), and Devika Bulchandani (Managing Director of Global Strategy, McCann XBC).

The discussion included many highlights, beginning with Anne Valentzas sharing MasterCard’s thoughtful use of affluent segmentation, which helps mold the brand’s evolving approach to this important group. She explained how this deep understanding of different affluent profiles is the foundation for MasterCard’s Priceless Cities campaign, which offers unforgettable experiences in dozens of cities around the world.

Alexis Maybank pointed to the power of data in catering to an affluent crowd. For her and her customers, the information that Gilt Groupe collects is critical to providing a customized user experience. The Truth About Affluence revealed that affluent individuals are more concerned about how they spend their spend their time than how they spend their money and Gilt Groupe’s strategy enables their customers to use their time as efficiently as possible.

While Mickey Alam Khan warned of the over-reliance on data and reminded the crowd that luxury brands must focus on service and making the customer feel special, his message was ultimately the same as Ms. Maybank. He shared a few anecdotes of how luxury brands could best utilize this notion of personalization, including a story of a Bergdorf Goodman salesperson who offered to pay a parking ticket that a customer incurred while spending copious amounts of money in store.

McCann’s XBC’s Devika Bulchandani pointed out that what is often thought of as the old luxury paradigm (immersive in-store experiences) and new luxury paradigm (mobile, seamless, instantaneous shopping) should not be considered contradictory ideas. Rather, the modern approach to affluent marketing is about maximizing the value of those experiences within the limited expendable time that Affluents have for shopping experience. While affluent consumers will always seek out indulgent experiences once-reserved for brick-and-mortar stores, they readily accept the use of mobile for quick, seamless and efficient purchases. Bringing those two worlds together will be key for brands targeting this lucrative demographic.

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