Marketing to the ‘High-Earner-Not-Rich-Yet’ Demographic

The world of wealth is always changing.  The evolving sensibilities, priorities and travel habits of millennials (and other generations), combined with several decades of financial upheaval, have forged a sizeable and entirely new demographic.

Enter the HENRY. This ‘High-Earner-Not-Rich-Yet’ audience constitutes 13% of the US economy alone, making them hugely significant for the travel market. If you’re tasked with appealing to an audience of potential Globetrotters, then understanding their behavior and motivation is crucial. But who exactly are HENRYs, and what are the best strategies to use to market to them effectively?

Who are HENRYs, and what do they want?

Simply put, HENRYs are professionals earning a high level of income, but who have not yet been able to amass enough capital to be classified as ‘rich’. Equifax has published research on this demographic which found that, on average, they have an income of around $136k per year; this is not to mention some $214k in assets (19% of which are tied in stocks, 34% in deposits). They have an average age of 43, with a majority of HENRYs being millennials, and they spend money – lots of it.

Why do they matter? 

HENRYs have enough money to be able to spend on travel experiences, and as millennials, their attitudes towards travel are more experiential than that of their baby-boomer seniors. According to IXI data, HENRYs have an annual discretionary spend of around $68k; millennial HENRYs specifically spend closer to $86k.

They’re also likely to accumulate more wealth in the future. It’s estimated that the volume of their outgoings on mortgages, college fees, and repayments on cars and other possessions are what prevent HENRYs from becoming high-net-worth individuals. Yet with salaries likely to increase over their developing careers, and outgoings to reduce as debts are paid off, the HENRYs of today could become the HNWIs of tomorrow. So how should you market to them?

Use influencer marketing (intelligently)

The concept of influencers is one of the most-discussed facets of modern marketing, and there’s no denying its importance: Bloomberg found that 92% of consumers would trust an influencer recommendation over an ad.

One look at popular social media platforms like Instagram can hint at the potential reach of a positive connection with a travel influencer. As digital nomadism increases in popularity, and images of coconuts and palm tree-laden beaches fill up our social streams, so do the opportunities for influencer marketing. The key for reaching HENRYs is relevance.

It’s all about getting the right recommendations and mentions from the right people. This will depend on your specific offering as a travel provider, but some general rules apply:

  1. Don’t confuse influencer marketing with brand endorsement:

 Influencers and Brand endorsers are two different things. Influencers actively promote your product, usually via social media, and encourage new prospects at the early stages of interest. Brand ambassadors or endorsers galvanize the authenticity of your business, by offering their name and status as passive support.

When a potential client visits your website, a celebrity quote or recommendation might tempt them further (such as ex-tennis star Tim Henman’s endorsement of this provider of luxury holiday homes), but this is only useful once people are already aware of your brand and services. If you’re trying to appeal to new prospects, influencers have a much wider reach and are more trusted by digital natives.  

Don’t confuse the two – if you’re trying to increase awareness of your service, and attract HENRY clientele, influencers should be the priority.

  1. Pick your influencers carefully:

HENRYs are savvy with their spending – they’re likely to be more discerning in their travel choices, and to trust the voice of authentic, relatable individuals. Try to connect with influencers who are close to HENRYs in terms of lifestyle and affluence.

Spend a bit of time getting to know the kind of content they post and people they appeal to, before reaching out, to ensure they’d be a good fit for your service – and will appeal to your target HENRY audience.

Tailor Your Content

HENRYs are practical spenders. While they may be affluent, their aspirations are likely to be different to those of high-net-worth travelers, or budget explorers. They won’t necessarily be likely to seek out a ‘bang-for-buck’ travel opportunity, but they also are unlikely to have the aspirational and extravagant  expectations of the super rich. When marketing to HENRYs, your content needs to reflect this.

The HENRY market is so vast partly because of how broad it is; different HENRYs will be interested in different things. Some might look for investment opportunities, and others may want more experiential travel options (to name but two possibilities). It’s important to avoid generalizing. Conduct market research, and try and identify the specific niche your product or service will most appeal to.

Align your content with the sector of the HENRY market you want to target. Consider everything from the tone of your writing to your brand messaging, and even the visual elements of your website and social media accounts.

Don’t try to appeal to everyone at once – show potential HENRY customers that you can provide them with a product or service that matches their specific needs and desires.  

Keep Your Social Presence Updated

Social media is utterly essential in today’s modern marketing sphere. With millennials and digital natives making up a significant number of HENRYs, developing and maintaining a positive social media presence is a necessity. 

If your business doesn’t have an account on one or more of the major platforms, rectify this. Keep your social feeds regularly updated, and make sure the visual and written content you post is line with your brand image, and is targeted at your specific niche.  

The one thing it’s important not to lose sight of is the reasons why people visit social media sites like Twitter: either for pure entertainment, to check in with those in their personal network, or to get unbiased appraisals from their peers. If your social media presence isn’t aligned with this, you could be dooming yourself to regular unfollows.

Aim to engage with users, and avoid overly sales-focussed content. Don’t self-promote too much – try to get others to promote for you, by creating campaigns which encourage user generated content (like photo competitions).

Travel lends itself to storytelling, and many HENRYs have – or will soon have – young families. Building travel memories for their children will be important, and you can use social media to show you understand this.

Aim to Develop Lasting Relationships

One of the most exciting thing about HENRYs is their future. With the likelihood that individuals in this demographic could become some of the most wealthy members of society, the potential benefits of onboarding them to your services are twofold: not only will you gain valuable customers in the present, but some of the most valuable customers of the future.

Consider setting up systems to develop and maintain lasting relationships with your HENRY customers. Things as simple as email mailing lists can be beneficial at keeping in touch with previous patrons. Otherwise, consider developing something like an exclusive section of your website for returning clients only – possibly offering discounts or exclusive opportunities to encourage repeated engagement.