What can you learn about salon marketing from this year’s Pirelli Calendar?
Let me guess: images of beautiful, semi-naked young women waft into view the minute I mention this iconic piece of marketing. But you’re perhaps wondering what it has to do with your salon, clinic or spa?
Let me give you a clue…
This year’s edition of Pirelli’s legendary creation is remarkable because it features gorgeous older women… big screen stars Nicole Kidman (49), Helen Mirren (71), Julianne Moore (56), Charlotte Rampling (70), Uma Thurman (46) and the babies of the class, Penelope Cruz (42) and Kate Winslet (41).
Pirelli has hit marketing gold with these images of sexy mature women. Let me show you why, and how you can target this (very) rewarding older audience.
Why market to mature hair & beauty clients?
So why should you be interested in this over-45 mature hair and beauty audience?
- It is one of the fastest growing segments of the population.
- It’s very ‘me-focused’.
- And has a higher level of disposable income and more leisure time than any other demographic.
Need more convincing?
- Women over 45 currently represent nearly 50% of the female population in the UK.
- UK women aged 50-69 buy more luxury goods and designer fashion than any other group.
- Many are newly single, actively seeking a new relationship and want to look and feel their best.
Ignore the facts at your peril: targeting this mature audience is a must-have marketing strategy for any salon, aesthetic clinic or spa. Moreover, many salons and spas pay only lip-service to this group so it’s an audience ripe for the picking.
Just because I’m over 60 nobody wants to sell me anything anymore.
– Germaine Greer
Over 50 and overlooked in your salon?
How many times is the marketing for hair thinning products or anti-ageing treatments packaged up to look like something your granny would choose?
Is this really going to appeal to those glamorous mature women on the Pirelli Calendar?
Of course not.
Now, take a look at your own salon, spa or clinic marketing. Are your marketing messages bursting with stereotypical generalisations, clichés and oversimplifications about older clients?
Are you using marketing messages that irritate, alienate and annoy the very audience you should be attracting?
Over 50s feel ‘patronised and stereotyped’
Marketing research amongst the over 50s in the UK revealed:
Source: Gransnet and Mumsnet
Banish senior stereo-types from your salon marketing
If your idea of marketing to mature clients is a cute silver-haired couple walking along the beach, holding hands and admiring the sunset then you’ve missed the point.
You’ve also missed out on a massive, highly lucrative hair and beauty audience.
Have you seen Elle Macpherson, ‘The Body’, recently? This 52 year old mother of two still flaunts the same toned body that she became known for years ago. She spends a fortune on her hair, beauty regime, anti-ageing treatments and body. She looks fabulous. Nothing could be further from the marketing stereotype ‘mature woman’.
You need to think again. Fast.
Targeted marketing messages for older clients
Okay, point made, you get it… treating the over 45s as a single homogenous group is marketing madness.
Next, you need to develop the right marketing message for each audience within this diverse mature marketplace. So how do you craft successful marketing messages for this more mature audience?
Easy. Visualise a salon client you know well and get inside her head:
- What does she wear?
- How does she spend her leisure time?
- What are her favourite hair or beauty treatments?
- Where does she shop?
- When does she visit your salon?
- And, most importantly, what are her hair or beauty concerns?
Armed with this information, you can now write precisely targeted marketing messages to appeal to your mature clients.
#SalonMarketing Tip: Create a separate marketing list for these mature clients by filtering your salon database to identify everyone who falls into this age bracket.
The right marketing angle for the over 50s
The secret here is to find the right marketing slant that will appeal to these diverse older salon clients. It really doesn’t have to be all about wrinkles and anti-ageing.
Let’s look at lash extensions for instance: Are your mature clients concerned about thinning lashes but think extensions aren’t for them? A little over-the-top TOWIE for them perhaps?
Couch your marketing in terms of “lash extensions are enhancing, yet natural looking, for everyday wear. And for those glamorous evenings try something a little bolder.”
This is a different salon marketing message to the one for your twenty-something hair and beauty clients yet the product is essentially the same one. And it’s likely to be just as successful.
Don’t patronise baby boomers with your salon imagery
I’ve talked about getting the marketing messages right. The same goes for your choice of imagery. Avoid anything which could be seen as condescending, belittling or demeaning.
Bombarding this sensitive audience with images of pubescent models or grey-haired grannies is misguided marketing, making them feel patronised, pigeon-holed and written off.
Instead, build their self-confidence and their trust in you with imagery to reflect their looks and life-style. Look at the Pirelli Calendar imagery to understand what these women really feel about themselves.
I feel I have a responsibility to free women from the idea of eternal youth and perfection. Society’s ideal of perfection is impossible to achieve, my aim was not to shoot a calendar about perfect bodies but to capture sensitivity and emotion
– Pirelli photographer Peter Lindbergh
#SalonMarketing Tip: Remember to invest in the larger more expensive image sizes if you’re going to use the stock photos in print rather than just online. The small images will be blurred and fuzzy if you use them for printed salon marketing materials.
Tailored promotions for the over 50s
We’re talking savvy buyers here, with a ‘you get what you pay for’ attitude to beauty, aesthetics and hair.
This mature audience want and expect quality from hair and beauty treatments, products and customer service. They have no qualms about shopping around for the right salon or aesthetic clinic. With their insistence on looking and feeling their best, settling for second best isn’t an option.
Encourage trial: More brand loyal than younger clients, they are nevertheless, more than happy to experiment when given the opportunity. Capitalise on this with salon offers to encourage trial rather than giving discounts.
Up-selling: Get them experimenting and make the most of their ‘me-focus’. A complimentary pedicure promotion when they book a facial doesn’t cost you much, but will open their eyes to the delights of fabulous feet in summer sandals.
Fill quiet days: The ladies-who-lunch set with time on their hands can fill your quieter days early in the week. This is the occasion to offer a discount. To maximise salon profit, restrict it to selected (for which read your least busy) therapists/stylists only and in a tight time frame – aesthetic appointments starting between 9am and noon, for example.
A personal approach works best for Y.O.L.D.S
When it comes to YOLDS (Young Old) you need to look past their age and look at their attitudes.
Salon consultations are always important, but never more so than here.
- Remind your team of the value of building rapport and the social niceties – don’t become too familiar too fast.
- Gently probe to uncover client concerns. When your therapist is younger than your daughter you don’t always want to admit to your beauty/age insecurities.
- These clients want a beauty therapist they can trust and feel comfortable with.
Achieve this and they’ll be a fruitful source of recommendations. Introduce a Friend schemes are an absolute must for this crowd. Hand them out like confetti and the referrals will come rolling in.
#SalonMarketingTip: I do believe in giving both parties a generous discount for referral schemes – you don’t want to look mean when someone has recommended your salon.
Need some more tips and advice on winning hair and beauty client consultations? This blog dives into the detail and makes a useful base for a team training session.
Brands should celebrate [older consumers] because from a strict marketing perspective they are a highly valuable audience.
– Hugh Pile, CMO at L’Oréal
Mature salon clients repay sensitive marketing
Foster trust and forge strong client relationships by communicating often.
SMS, social and email marketing are cost effective promotional tools allowing you to successfully segment and target older clients. Combine these online marketing tools with a salon website blog to give targeted advice and send age-appropriate exclusive offers and advice.
I find this older audience respond well to highly personalised direct mail. A handwritten invitation to a specialised salon event or a birthday card with a complimentary upgrade gift work perfectly.
Whilst social media is growing fast amongst the over-50s it has the Marmite factor – this group either love it or hate. Do use it to forge relationships, but not to the exclusion of the other tools in your salon marketing armoury.
Take a leaf out of the Pirelli marketing book. If they can turn their marketing on its head, so can you. Face facts, Pirelli aren’t doing it for kicks – older women have money and power.