Selling Beauty Product To Men
When considering the use of “beauty products” on males, many actions and products are still relatively taboo. For example, it is relatively not considered culturally acceptable for men to wear make-up (however it was acceptable in the 1700s). In these changing times, men are finding more of an opportunity to engage in the use of beauty products (outside of the increasingly expanding homosexual community). When opportunity looms, intelligent entrepreneurs are always there to feast upon these helpless victims. After all, we can often determine trends based on consumers’ buying habits; can we not?
Using two separate factors; we can stereotype the type of man that is probably most apt to consume these beauty products. Through these stereotypes, we can create an image of a helpless bait on a reel for these power mongering sharks (product retailers) to feast upon. The first factor we can put into perspective is the demography of the potential consumers. It is very easy to attribute these consumers as incapable of living in rural areas. This is mainly because laborers are unlikely to have appearances and health benefits in mind (unless it is a rare case). We can demonstrate this in something like the use of tobacco. Tobacco is more widely used (in percentages) in people of all ages in rural areas. We can conclude that this is evidence of rural men completely disregarding looming health concerns (and ultimately their own appearances). So we can characterize our target men as urban or suburban individuals that are employed. It is unlikely that countries with very low internal infra-structure such as the Middle East or some parts of South America would have any potential clients. The demography would therefore reside in urban or suburban communities with very powerful internal infra-structure (so they can locomote themselves to retail buildings and the workplace – they should aslo make a decent amount of money (you cannot buy extras if you are working just to survive). The prime example of this phenomenon would be men in the United States that live somewhere near one of the major coasts of this country. Those are generally areas with amazing internal infra-structure (roads, railroads etc) which can allow the individual to seamlessly interchange jobs and therefore individuals can accumulate wealth beyond what is necessary to survive. A similar instance can be observed on the East Chinese Sea or the far Eastern Pacific Ocean. Areas like Eastern China and Japan have similar infra-structure and a fair amounts of commerce which accommodates many jobs with easy access. So naturally, when men live in comfort, we can conclude that personal appearance and health can be a desire (and therefore those demographics are the most apt to purchase male beauty supplies). The second factor we must take into account is the psychographics of those individuals. When we take the demographics listed above, we can further separate them into the way they think and act. So for example, someone who has lived through the 1960s or 1970s and has been firmly opposed to peace movements would likely be very unlikely to purchase male beauty supplies. This is because the predominant image of anti-hippie males were very firm, masculine and inflexible when it came to change. On the other hand, someone that had taken a liking to the hippie movement (and these were trans-continental and even present in the Soviet Union) would likely be able to embrace the usage of male beauty products due to the flexibility and acceptance of new concepts (in general). We can then fairly assume that parents influence their offspring in a “domino effect” up to the most recent generations. Therefore it is likely to say that the psychographic makeup of potential customers is based on the flexibility that is passed down trans-generationally. In addition we must also account that some individuals are born differently (homosexuals for example) and therefore are not as easily influenced by their parent generation. Likewise, some individuals are influenced by other third-party figures and can either accept beauty products or decline them based on whatever influences in life they found most appealing (like the liberal media vs the Catholic Church). And what exactly can we define as “manliness”? It is presented in both behavioral and physical forms. Beards are manly, football is manly, cowboys are manly, soldiers are manly, and superman is manly. But at the core psychological makeup of this concept, we have no clear definition. We can call whatever our concept of manliness is plus our barrier towards what is acceptable by other manly men the “manliness barrier”. So we can conclude that psychologically, our potential client must be flexible and possibly self-conscious. As we also can observe, the second barrier is skepticism. Men do not buy into text as easily as women do, and therefore it is a definite must for whatever man gets past the manliness barrier and towards the product to be able to physically hold the product and possibly test it(as quality assurance). So, now we can conclude that our men are urban or suburban, health-conscious individuals that are also open to trying new things and capable of being convinced that these “beauty products” are positive for them (but not above the manliness barrier). Our men would likely secretly be self-conscious and be caught looking at themselves in the mirror every morning. Our men would also probably do an equal amount of shopping as their girlfriend or wife (unless their wife/ girlfriend buys the product for them which is unlikely).
How can we now mix our target market with the promotion mix (product, price, promotion, and place)? Using the data above, we can now determine where our customers can be found and how they think. So the first part of our promotion mix is perhaps also the easiest to “handle”. As we now know that men are highly skeptical and not as easily influenced into buying a product just because “it is good for you”. We must do more than just write our future prophesies on the intended product. We must make the product readily available for our target men to test before they buy (there was actually an interesting study done a while ago that showed how much more men actually used “testing periods” on items compared to women). We must also address the feel of the product by, as demonstrated in an article scribed by Elizabeth Holmes of the Wallstreet Journal, keeping the product out of a typical box. In fact, it is encouraged (based on this article) to allow the man to feel the product directly (like Kiehl products for men did). The second quarter of the marketing promotion mix deals with price. Unlike with female products, we will not expect our target market to pay 100$ + for something. No no, our men are rugged and often buy the cheapest products on the shelf. We must therefore keep the prices relatively at a scale of 1.5:1 in prices. So if a female product costs 20 $ , the male product should cost 15$ ; if the female product cost 100$ , the male product should cost 60$. Promotions for male products would be the third quarter of the marketing mix and perhaps also the easiest. Promoting a product for men has to be very straight-forward. Unlike the unilaterally serious commercials found to be effective when promoting to females, male commercials need to be more humorous and masculine. For example, there was a wonderful commercial that aired two years ago (2012) for pom-wonderful juice picturing a Greek hairy man climbing a massive mountain (physical efforts and beards are very manly) to acquire a bottle of pom-wonderful which would grant him health benefits. Thus this effectively translated the health-benefits of pomegranate juice to men using something kind of humorous as well as being manly. Perhaps a wild bearded outdoorsman cloaked in furs fighting a grizzly bear for lip balm would be the best commercial we could come up with that would bolster an effort of getting our demographics to bear witness to our products. The final quarter that can allow our promotional mix to go full-circle is (of course) place. We already touched base on this as being in suburban or urban areas. However, to be more precise, our products must be in the confines of an institution (retailer) that in its own attracts men from our specific demography. For example, we cannot sell men’s chap sticks and moisturizer in Victoria’s Secret. Likewise, it might not be easy to upsell these products in a store like Bass Pro Shops. We have to always be mindful of the psychographics of our men. The best places where we can possibly encounter these guys would be clothing stores. Men of our demographics are very likely to have a few extra dollars lurking around and would likely be found in a clothing store at a bare minimum of four times per year. These would be perfect times to upsell a man on some beauty products as we can integrate the shopping experience for the man (as we need to be mindful that people often buy clothes to look good anyways). We must also be extremely mindful that men would likely never (regardless of how wavy) go into a standalone beauty store. So unlike women, men need to have the products presented to them in addition to whatever they might already be planning to buy.
When we talked about our target market and our promotional mix, we neglected a very integral part of our mix: external influences. We slightly touched upon social class and reference groups (as our guys need to make more than just to survive and they are often at the psychological mercy of their parent generation when making up their shopping personalities). But now we need to focus on something even more powerful: reference groups and sub-cultures. Reference groups can be broken down into societies and sub-societies. We cannot use society in general so we will discard it entirely when considering the shopping habits of our target market (because it completely and entirely neglects all other external influences by assuming that all people in one society think and act the same). Instead, we will look at sub-cultures. This could basically be a group of a few friends or a clique. Let’s say our clique is a bunch of hardened soldiers from the Korean conflict. Even if one individual is interested in buying a healing lip balm that is pineapple scented (for example), his companions might (in this individual’s mind) see him as a pansy and avoid him. Therefore, the reference group subculture of manly Korean War veterans are all probably unlikely to buy beauty products due to their sub cultural theoretic dogma. We can also say that if a group of boys ages 16-18 has a distinguished ”leader” type that everyone follows, regardless of their internal creeds, all the individuals of that group might start mimicking the leader. Let’s say he buys the pineapple healing Chap Stick, and then all of his followers buy it as well. If I was in that group and all of my references (fellow group members) had this Chap Stick, I too would probably buy one as well (and if I was in the Korean veteran group, I would not). The second external influence is sub-culture. So we need to look at something like Jewish individuals. If our product is made with pork-fat (as most moisturizers might be), our men from the Jewish community (sub-culture) will likely never purchase our products –even if they fit the typical stereotype for our target market.
As we come to our conclusion on the study of how men are pushed closer to buying beauty products, it is always good to end with some open-ended suggestions. The first suggestion would be to go further into the advertising procedure by utilizing a package. We have all heard that the tag “for men” literally tells men “this is for you”, however, nobody has tried putting something like “this pineapple scented healing chap stick attracts wolves so you can strangle them with your bare hands”. Men all want to feel like they are badasses. The second suggestion would be to bundle the chap stick with something like a handgun or a football. This way you get one gun and a free chap stick to try ; then you can keep buying the chap stick every time you go shopping for bullets (the retailer should put them in the same location within the store and maybe the chap stick should be shaped like a bullet and called “bullet for men”). In reality, selling to men can be tough for beauty suppliers; but with everything mentioned we can conclude it is more than just a dream. And as we can redundantly state, the hungry sharks that are always swimming in the water below these men’s feet are always ready to snare them and sell them a chap stick or moisturizer.