I wanted to talk about the 4 P's of Marketing in relation to beauty brands. While this is certainly not an all-inclusive tool to use in determining what makes a brand successful, I've learned that these are 4 basic yet critical areas that should be addressed in marketing and positioning a product to meet your target market's needs.
As a customer, do you feel your needs are being met with any brand(s)? How do you feel about the marketing of these companies in general?
- Product - the product offered to the target customer, includes function, appearance, packaging, service, brand name etc.
- Price - pricing the product, this involves more than just the price to the consumer
- Place - distribution & availability
- Promotion - informing customers about the availability, price and placement of the product
This is difficult for me to generalize since I like so many different brands. I'm not sure why some brands succeed while others fail. I definitely think their marketing and product positioning have some affect. However, there are quite a few brands that have all 4 elements that just don't appeal to me.
My thoughts on each of these elements would depend on the brand. However, while I feel that a lot of companies have developed a great product, they are lacking in the other areas.
For price, I understand some brands are positioned as a "luxury brand" and other things such as quality, packaging, ingredients justify higher prices sometimes. For me, there is a clear difference between a $6 Hard Candy Eyeshadow at Walmart and a $22 Nars Eyeshadow from Nordstrom and for that, I don't always mind the higher price. However, after the recent discovery of how many bloggers get certain products for free as "PR samples for review" I have to say that this has definitely changed my perspective on pricing. Why should I shell out $65 plus sales tax on a highlighter when someone else it gets it for free just because they write about it? For this I have mixed feelings. I'm in no way criticizing any blogger(s) who receives PR materials, but after this recent disclosure policy in the US, I felt like an idiot for spending so much money on things that are given away for free.
I believe place and distribution can be a hindrance for success for many brands. Living in Southern California allows me access to most of the brands that I like. The Internet has certainly granted me access to a number of products that are exclusive to certain stores or areas. I know this is a challenge for many people who do not live near a Nordstrom or Sephora or any other major retailer. The exclusive factor can be both a benefit and detriment to certain brands. For me, exclusivity makes something a bit more special, but being too exclusive makes it a pain for me to go out of my way to find something. I doubt most women would put the same effort as me to find consumer goods.
Promotion involves so many different aspects, but I feel it is an area where most companies can improve on. Advertising can be prohibitively expensive, so is this why companies are sending free products to bloggers to get the word out because it's cheaper than launching a nationwide campaign? I think there are better ways to promote a product such as giving better incentives or educating their product reps better.
Sometimes I think I think too much. I'm not sure if it's just being in an academic environment right now that makes me over-think things. After all, it's just makeup. How much is there to think about? The fact that it's a billion dollar industry (and not just in US dollars, but worldwide) makes me curious to know what goes on behind the scenes among the marketing teams at these companies worldwide.
I understand customers can be crazy ridiculous with their demands and with so many different wants and needs, it's hard to find ways to target more than just one type of customer. Women are complicated, so how do we define what we want in a product or brand?
What are your thoughts?