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Direct Response Marketing

Beauty Before Age

1 Apr, 2012 By: Jackie Jones Response

Beauty and personal care marketers expand beyond the traditional DR customer with new products that span all demographics.

Beauty before AgeThe old idiom “age before beauty” might not pack as much of a punch with today’s generation, whose daughters are developing their fashion senses earlier than ever. It’s not so uncommon to see youngsters trade stuffed animals for styling products and finger-paints for eyeliner before even leaving the confines of elementary school.

The audience for beauty marketers is evolving to include many outside of the traditional direct response customer. In addition to the woman looking for the latest and greatest in age-defying eye cream, teens, tweens and everyone in between are becoming key targets for beauty marketers. In fact, 61 percent of girls ages 9 to 11 are more interested in wearing makeup than in the past; and 26 percent of teens say they play a financial role in beauty purchases.

“The target demographics are changing from the traditional customer. We’re seeing a much younger age group interested in health and beauty, a lower age who will invest in beauty. In the past, the target customer might be the older consumer looking to combat aging, but now we're seeing more fashion-forward products gaining traction,” says Jaclyn Julian, director of marketing at Allstar Products Group. “The more traditional DR customer hasn’t disappeared, but the younger generation is now joining in and expressing interest much more than in the past.”

Vain Gains

Despite any economic struggles, the beauty industry still enjoyed a healthy year in 2011, according to market data. Last year, the total U.S. prestige beauty market generated $9.5 billion, an increase of 11 percent when compared to $8.6 billion in 2010, according to the NPD Group Inc. In fact, dollar figures achieved last year across all beauty categories surpassed pre-recession levels, a growth that has never been seen in the 15 years the NPD has been tracking the industry, according to Karen Grant, NPD vice president and senior global industry analyst.

As the age of beauty consumers lowers, it’s only natural that marketers be aware of the different channels needed to connect with them in a personal manner. From social media to smartphones, if there’s one target demographic keen to emerging technology, it’s the youth.

“Marketers will need to recognize that the consumer is seeking both efficacy and emotional engagement. The joy of a beauty treat or value of a beauty investment in self is what appears to be most relevant to consumers and important to sustaining success,” Grant says. “We continue to see that the prestige beauty shopper is more engaged in the category.”

From Head to Toe

EX Curler using DR, cements its brand image.A good strategy for DR marketers in the beauty space looking to attract a younger demographic without isolating their traditional (i.e., often older) direct response customer is to come up with a solution to a beauty problem consumers of all ages might face. DR veteran Allstar Products Group Corp. — marketer of big-time hits including the Snuggie — knew that staying ahead of the game in the beauty industry would require an innovative, all-encompassing product. The company has found just that in its newest product, the Trendy Top, a layering accessory designed to help women cover up while wearing low-rise jeans, Julian says.

“It doesn’t matter how old you are or what size you are, whether you’re part of the younger audience or a more traditional DR customer: Every woman is now layering their tops and the style of jeans is low-rise, so Trendy Tops appeals to all demographics,” she says. “It definitely helps us to market and conceptualize in a fashion-forward manner. The fashion-forward styling appeals to the younger, fashion-conscious consumer, and solves a problem that any woman of any age experiences.”

Nielsen Cable Network RankingsWhile Allstar is not limiting its marketing of the Trendy Top to only the younger demographic, Julian says being aware of how to target each age group uniquely is crucial to the product’s success. That is where DRTV is particularly necessary for the brand, according to Julian.

“DR advertising is extremely important for a beauty product like this to find success in the market,” she says. “It allows us to create different short-form spots and pick specific age demographics we want to target with each creative, and get results all across the board.”

Two different Trendy Top short-form spots are currently airing, with a “younger version” airing on stations such as MTV, and a traditional DR spot on channels such as Hallmark, says Julian, who adds that the product should be available in retail by May. Allstar is consciously aware of Trendy Tops’ younger target audience, making sure to utilize social media — a move the maker of Snuggie, which has more than 378,000 Facebook fans, is quite familiar with. Trendy Tops currently has a Facebook page as well, though Allstar will not focus on that product’s social media marketing as heavily until it hits retail, according to Julian.

“Now, with social media, we are able to interact much more throughout the entire campaign for a product. We’ll send out surveys or ask for feedback via status updates on Facebook,” Julian says. “There’s always ways to improve, especially for the younger generation that is constantly bombarded with new and different products. Social media is very important to beauty products like Trendy Tops; we always look for consumer feedback for input for additional styles or changes, anything the consumer wants to share.”

The benefits of DR for some beauty marketers with products that appeal to everyone from 15 years old to 55 years old goes beyond ROI and a connection with consumers. Marketers such as EZCurler also believe direct response is a valid way to cement the brand as a prestige, high-quality product for all consumers within a market flooded with innovations, says Elias Amkie, president of EZCurler.

“We are focused on creating buzz for the product right now, and plan on launching a DRTV campaign to help with that within the next month, after which we’ll approach retailers,” Elias says. “We don’t want to rush it; we want consumers to know this is a product that is worth it. We’ve had our product at the MTV Awards and the Emmys, and we have given out at least 5,000 units. The response has been overwhelmingly positive so far.”

The EZCurler — which recently signed with Global Infomercial Services (GIS) for distribution rights — is a ceramic curling iron with automated spinning functions and specific temperatures, and is available in black, pink and purple, colors sure to attract the attention of any tween or teen channel surfing the TV or cruising the Web. The DR product was recently featured on “The Today Show” and was named Seventeen magazine’s Beauty Product of the Year in 2011.

While many believe the beauty market is synonymous only with skincare, hair care is quickly becoming one of the most competitive segments in the industry, according to the latest data from the Global Industry Analysts Inc.

“All hair categories, other than hair spray and home permanents, experienced a rise in sales (last year),” GIA’s report reads. “A continuous upgradation and dynamic packaging have remained the key success factors for this industry.”

Fashion Forward

Trendy Top targeting younger consumers.Ciara Huang of GIS says the distribution company has seen three distinct patterns in the beauty industry over the past year: more products being sold online, the consolidation of big-name brands and smaller online stores, and more consumers — especially the younger ones — purchasing beauty products via mobile and tablet devices.

“The younger crowd, especially, is always on their phones, whether while watching TV or on their laptops; they are a multitasking generation and beauty marketers need to be aware of that when targeting them,” Huang says. “The way people buy is definitely changing, and that’s across all demographics.”

The global personal care products market is expected to reach $333 billion by 2015, driven by increasing product innovations, growing disposable incomes and better market penetration, according to the GIA report, “Personal Care Products: A Global Outlook.”

Marketers focused on the teen market to enhance their reach (subsequently, those utilizing advancing forms of DR media including mobile, social and digital) will maximize their brand’s visibility and attract a larger group of potential customers, according to GIA.

“Players in the personal care products market are increasing online promotional activities, giveaways, online sweepstakes and other initiatives,” GIA’s report reads. “Technology’s advancements have strewn the market with an array of products providing consumers with a host of options.”

Marketers, distributors and market analysts agree: Whether young or old, it’s an exciting time to be in the beauty industry. Beauty is poised for another positive year across all demographics and categories, adds Grant, noting that younger consumers’ interest is “some of the best news for the industry.”

“In attracting younger — and by extension, typically more ethnically diverse — consumers, the industry is ensuring its future,” Grant says. “Marketers should not underestimate the knowledge and sophistication of the younger shopper both in taste, education and willingness to spend — where she feels it is truly worth it. Her reliance on the endorsements of others is also a critical driver as is her engagement with mobile (and) social media. These need to continually be factored into product marketing and brand strategies.”

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