Old way misses nouveau riches

Iain Murray’s amusing article lamenting the state of modern banking (MW October 30) has picked up the symptoms of a more profound dynamic that has forced a change in the way that many companies must now approach the wealthy.

While mourning the “bad old days”, when bank managers felt a personal obligation to their clients, Murray may have overlooked the fact

that the managers are pining for those days too. This is because they, along with marketers in many top-end brands that I speak to, used to know exactly who their wealthy clients were and where to find more. Yet today, the distribution of wealth has undergone such a rapid evolution, that many of these marketers have lost sight of the ball and some can’t even find the park.

The affluent are no longer a homogeneous group: our research has shown they don’t all read the same magazines, don’t live in the same places, and certainly don’t all think in the same way. New approaches are required to find them, and at least institutions such as Selfridges, Coutts and HSBC should be commended for their innovation. But, to be successful, those looking for the elusive affluent consumer need to apply the same marketing principles – such as market research and consumer segmentation – that mainstream retailers having been using for decades.

James Lawson CFA

Director

Ledbury Research

London SW6

Knowledge Bank

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