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Cosmetics aren’t just for women

Published March 5, 2014 at 10:29 am

When people think about cosmetics, they usually think about women. Whether it’s a group of ladies crowded around a bathroom sink making last minute touch-ups or a bunch of young girls playing dress-up at a sleepover, the immediate image conjured up by makeup is unmistakably female.

For a marketer, that connection is less than optimal. Sure, you can sell a lot of lipstick to ladies, but it’s cutting out nearly half of the population under the auspices that it’s just “not for them.”

In China, advertisers ginned up a winning strategy for promoting the use of cosmetics to men: appeal to their professional vanity. In that country, resumes often require a headshot. The emphasis on personal appearance doesn’t end at dating, it extends to the job market as well. Thus, marketers were able to connect their beautifying products with an existing cultural zeitgeist: the need to look good at all times.

According to Businessweek, that initiative is working. Author Christina Larson described the sales benefits of marketing cosmetics directly at men.

“Last year, sales in China of personal grooming products marketed specifically to men (facial cleansers, shampoos, deodorants, etc.) rose 7 percent, compared with 5 percent growth in the overall market, according to Kantar. In China’s leading cities, the average man uses 2.5 facial products daily, the most of any East Asian country,” she writes.

Are you cutting off potential customers simply because they’re “not your kind of person?” If so, you might be leaving a lot of money on the table. Reaching out to new groups of consumers is one way for businesses to expand.

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