Sunday, March 08, 2015

The Man Who Reshaped Trust Marketing

Thomas J. Stanley, 1944-2015
A generation ago, marketers of trust and investment services believed the ways to find wealthy prospects were obvious. Look for those with visibly high incomes. Target mailings to zip codes containing the most expensive homes. Watch for people who drove top-of-the-line Mercedes or threw lavish weddings for their daughters.

Then along came a professor from Georgia, brandishing research. The marketers had it wrong. 

Many big spenders were simply spending their big incomes, Thomas Stanley asserted, not accumulating wealth. Big hat, no cattle.

Many wealth accumulators, by contrast, shunned conspicuous consumption. They didn't act rich. They lived in ordinary houses, drove ordinary cars, wore ordinary clothes. They looked like the people next door.

Year after year, Stanley filled hotel ballrooms, delivering his contrarian message to gatherings of trust officers, brokers and investment advisers. In 1996 he and a colleague, William D. Danko, published  their bestseller, The Millionaire Next Door.

Both The Washington Post and The New York Times offer tributes to Stanley, who died recently in a car crash. William J. Bernstein, in his primer for millennial investors, calls The Millionaire Next Door "the most important book you'll ever read." 

1 comment:

David Boyden said...

When I started in "the business" I was trained to work with only successful family business owners.They were dry cleaners, property owners, arborists, VMD's, etc. They wore shirts with their names on them, drove Ford's, Chevy's, Lincolns and Buicks. the ones who drove Benz' and 911's went broke.
I bought twenty copies of TMND when it came out at Sam's Club on discount because the book made to much sense and Americans think that success looks like an NFL player..NOT