During the 2000's, we have witnessed a huge demographic shift in the United States. Our middle class has virtually disappeared with the about one third of the former middle class members moving to the affluent class and two thirds moving to the lower class.
These changes relate to automation, moving manufacturing jobs outside the United States and downsizing of American businesses. The movement of retail sales to the internet also means a phase out of shopping malls with their service jobs.
Those jobs aren't coming back. In the short run, we have to face the fact that the middle class has disappeared.
Where does this leave American businesses for their best potential markets?
Although the majority of the population is in the lower class, these individuals have little disposable income after paying for the necessities of life - food, (basic) clothing and shelter. You can expect a very small payback for a lot of effort by appealing to the "mass market."
Wealthy and affluent consumers have disposable income available for spending at their discretion. They also are willing to spend on luxuries that appeal to them, although they might be thrifty in other areas. They might own a Mercedes but buy laundry detergent at Wal-Mart.
The affluent are also less sensitive to changes in the economy. If you have $10 million and experience a market adjustment to $8 million, you can continue to live comfortably. A lower class person who experiences a salary reduction from $30,000 to $25,000 may be worried about losing his or her home.
Marketing guru Dan Kennedy has long been aware of the change in America's markets. In No B.S. Marketing to the Affluent, 2nd Edition, he documents the change. He profiles the different levels of the affluent class and their spending habits, and also marketing opportunity areas for this group.
Together with Nick Nanton and J.W. Dicks of The Dicks + Nanton Celebrity Branding Agency, Kennedy outlines how a company that wants to target affluent customers can position itself to be the provider of choice.
If you hired a marketing consulting company to develop a market study of the affluent class, you would invest thousands of dollars. Here is an excellent practical guide for under $20!
I highly recommend that you get a copy of No B.S. Marketing to the Affluent, 2nd Edition and study it.
Buy it on Amazon: No B.S. Marketing to the Affluent: The Ultimate, No Holds Barred, Take No Prisoners Guide to Getting Really Rich 2nd edition by Kennedy, Dan S. (2015) Paperback.
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