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Marketing Matters: Savvy Beauty Marketers Can Thrive in Challenging Times

By: Alisa Marie Beyer
Posted: April 30, 2009, from the May 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Plastic surgery patients in the U.S., unlike patients from other countries, still remain relatively hush-hush when it comes to frank, open talk about their personal, cosmetic procedures. In recent years, however, more and more Americans have become familiar and more comfortable with the topic—thanks in no small part to mass advertising and availability. Gone are the days of sneaking off to an obscure location for a little nip/tuck; instead, consumers openly brag about their latest injection of Restilin and obsess over TV shows such as Dr. 90210. The stigma of antiaging procedures such as Botox, microdermabrasion and facelifts is no longer there. Women as young as ages 18–29 openly admit they’d be willing to consider antiaging procedures for prevention or correction. A continued marriage of nonsurgical and surgical procedures and the growth of topical skin care extension product lines for use post-procedure is expected.

9. Growth of the Retail/Salon Channel

As the holistic view of beauty and wellness continues to pervade the news media and find shelf space in retail channels, the salon channel is one that will continue to sneak upward in importance for selling skin care. According to the ISPA 2006 Report on Spa-goers Study, 17 million Americans received a facial at a spa in 2005, ranking as the second most popular spa service after body massage.

Skin care services at spas, namely facials, have increased 24% in popularity since 2003. Combined salon/retail outlets are booming as women find their new hub for complete relaxation and pampering—along with prestige skin care supplies. That said, opportunities for distribution and expansion of these types of free-standing salon/retail outlets exist in niche markets.

10. Science in a Bottle

Women are increasingly insistent that their skin care products be dermatologically approved, and there’s a saying, “Hope in a jar has given way to science in a bottle.” She’s impressed with founders who have medical, dermatological or other clinical credentials, hence the growth in “doctor” skin care brands. Having an impressive credential will get her to try a product at a premium price, but for her to keep buying it, it needs to provide results better than non-doctor brands or procedures. Otherwise, she won’t buy it at any price.

11. Delivery Systems of the Future

To effectively deliver actives to the skin, cosmetic formulators can choose from a wide variety of systems. One of the newest, and most controversial, are nanoparticles—particles so small that their size is measured in nanometers, or billionths of a meter. The personal care industry was one of the first to successfully commercialize nanotechnology and figure out how to use it to enhance beauty products. When manipulated, these nano-sized agents have many cosmetic benefits due to the ease with which they infiltrate the body. They can potentially deliver any active ingredient, including those in antiaging, anti-acne, moisturizing products and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals for greater efficacy.