Monday, 20 June 2016 14:36

How to Market to Baby Boomers, Millennials, and Everyone In-Between

Written by   Celeste Hilling

The new faces of beauty require fresh messaging and unique marketing methods. Millennials, Baby Boomers, and those who are multiethnic are some of the new faces skin care professionals are likely seeing in their spas. Knowing how to deliver a message that is customized to the unique skin care needs of today's consumers and keeps them coming back is a vital skill that professionals should thoroughly understand.

Although the potential market for skin care is more than viable, a spa's marketing needs to be on target. The global skin care market is currently estimated to be worth about $121 billion, an amount that is forecasted to increase to $154 billion by 2021.1 With so much opportunity, it can be challenging to pick the right marketing methods.

There are three main consumer marketing themes that have recently emerged: the use of social media, personalizing skin care through technology, and the growing marketplaces for purchasing products.FB

The Use of Social Media – If a spa's local outreach is limited to events, newspaper advertisements, and flyers, they are missing out on an enormous chunk of their community. Consider this: More than 1 billion people are active on Facebook, more than 75 million people use Instagram on a daily basis, and on average, around 6,000 tweets are sent out on Twitter every second, on average.2-4

Facebook is helping small businesses with call-to-action buttons that can be used to ask consumers to 'call now' or 'contact us.' The local insights section is also helpful for viewing the demographics and trends associated with people in the area. It shows the time of the day that most people are in the business' neighborhood, which can help with planning and staffing. In addition, Pinterest and Twitter are now set up to drive electronic commerce sales.

Personalizing Skin Care Through Technology – Research shows that consumers are increasingly seeking a personalized experience when it comes to beauty and personal care. The growth of in-store beauty bars and on-demand mobile applications speak to this movement. There are numerous beauty applications that take personal services directly to the consumer and offer coaching. Because people can literally take a coach with them to the store, they are going to be more educated while they shop. Education can be personalized by utilizing the staff as advisors and experts to create experiences – either in the spa or digitally – to engage consumers.

The Growing Marketplaces for Purchasing Products – Skin care professionals should see outside the four walls of their spa. The skin care industry is one of the most high-technology industries, yet professionals often limit their outreach and education to the walls of the spa. Instead, look at the consumer experience as a whole, including coaching over the phone and Skype, loyalty programs, interactive websites and mobile applications, social media, treatments, and in-the-spa experiences.

Today's consumers move seamlessly between brick-and-mortar, online, experiential, and wholesale shopping in a way that no longer has boundaries. Therefore, business owners have to think about consistency at every turn, regardless of the channel. Data from The Future of Retail 2016 report from PSFK speaks to the dissolution of distribution lines; the following outline is a great tool for professionals to use when developing a new consumer experience.

Create Confidence – Provide consumers with the tools and advice they need to discover new products and choose the best option for their own needs. This furnishment can be supplied through product and guided recommendations. Retail kiosks are also helpful in enabling consumers to receive education at the point-of-sale, especially when combined with homecare coaching mobile applications. Furthermore, the kiosks can be self-serve through virtual coaching, meaning that the spa does not need to supply additional resources.

laptopEliminate Obstacles – Use technology and services to streamline the path to purchase so that minimal effort is required. This streamlining can be achieved through anywhere purchasing – such as in the spa or through mobile devices – and online shop-ahead options that make it easy for consumers to plan their visit to the physical location.

Optimize Ownership – Build a support network that provides expert service and continues to educate consumers about their purchase after it is made. This ongoing education can be done through the creation of educational experiences that teach consumers new skills while also showing them new ways to use the products. Resources like around-the-clock chat support, online videos, and FaceTime can provide real-time access to skin care experts.

Cultivate Community – Create opportunities for consumers to come together around the spa's brand and add value to its products. This community can be created through cultural hubs inside the facility, where complimentary services and experiences can be offered and the promotion of transparency can be brought about by being open with consumers about the products and services.


By 2020, it is estimated that this group will have more spending power than any other generation. Millennials are classified as those born between 1981 and 1995. Often referred to as being the generation of narcissism, Millennials created the selfie and put their needs as a priority when shopping.

Research from venture capital firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), shows that 87 percent of Millennials say that their smartphone never leaves their side and that 55 percent rely on social media as their primary source for shopping, news, and information.5,6 When compared to Generation X or Baby Boomers, Millennials are willing to experiment and want to be wowed. In order to market to Millennials, the following three tips are key to know.

The Hyper-Personalization Attitude – Gone are the days of buying products off the shelf; this generation wants products that are made especially for them. Three-dimensional printing makes customized lip and nail polish colors possible, while beauty infusions enable customized skin care. This added level of personalization makes Millennials feel as though they are part of a special group of insiders.

The 'I Want It Now' Mentality – Millennials want instant access at the touch of a button. Mobile applications can be used as an extension of a spa's staff to provide personalized coaching from brand experts. They may also be used for the fulfillment of items that are out-of-stock in the store, inventory management, and much more.

The Shoppable Mindset – When Millennials do not know how to do something, they reach for their smartphones. The KPCB report adds that 80 percent of Millennials reach for their smartphone as soon as they wake up. Therefore, professionals should make their online marketing resources shoppable. For example, is a great way to make videos shoppable; viewers can click-through to purchase the item being demoed, as well as other items in the video. Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have shoppable features as well.

Generation X
Born between 1960 and 1980, Generation X is the 'Show me, do not tell me' generation. Marketing to them calls for more action and less words.

Generation X has more spending power than any other generation, with 29 percent of estimated net worth dollars and 31 percent of total income dollars.7 While they focus on saving money, they are willing to spend: Half of upscale Generation Xers and about one-third of mass-market Generation Xers plan to buy luxury products.8

Furthermore, Generation Xers are not impressed by extravagant offers and claims. Instead, grab their attention by focusing on the value of a product or service. When marketing to Generation X, keep them engaged with the brand by regularly sharing information; be conscious of the languages being used, focusing on value rather than over-the-top claims; have a social media presence that helps the brand harness a sense of community; and promote their desire to provide for their families by positioning the products and services as lasting values, while also focusing on their desire to take care of themselves. Healthy foods, exercise equipment and apparel, and skin care services are just some of the things that appeal to this generation as they enter middle age.

Baby Boomers
At 80-million strong, Baby Boomers are classified as those who were born between 1940 and 1960. According to Nielsen, in less than five years, 50 percent of the United States population will be over the age of 50. They will not only control 70 percent of the nation's disposable income, but they also stand to inherit $15 trillion in the next 20 years.9

greyhairedmanKnown as the 'me' generation, Baby Boomers grew up in an era of economic prosperity. They enjoy working and feel they can outsmart age, so avoid referencing retirement or growing older. Because this generation wants quick and simple solutions, appeal to their desire for products that will make their life easier. A spa's marketing to this generation should illustrate how choosing a product or service is granting them a competitive edge or positive advantage, focus on value, as Baby Boomers are less price sensitive if they trust that they are getting a superior product; and avoid the words 'aged,' 'senior,' and 'elderly.'

This generation is eager to learn what makes a particular product both different and valuable. Quality content – including blogs, e-books, and webinars – will keep them engaged while establishing the spa's value and expertise.

Although men care about their skin, they know very little about taking care of it. This quandary presents a great opportunity for skin care professionals to build, educate, and maintain a loyal clientele that consists of men. Mintel reports that since 2012, beauty and personal care launches specifically targeted at men have increased globally. The global research firm also predicts that sales to men will grow to $4.6 billion by 2019.10

Male clients are best approached with benefits that are functional and relevant to them. When asked what would motivate them to spend more on skin care products, their response is mainly related to performance; they have to see and feel a result. In turn, this need has led to a trend in very targeted skin care products for men.

For most men, performance is related to a specific task, such as reviving tired-looking eyes or soothing cracked hands. Consider designing 30 minute treatments around these desired results, including skin brightening and tightening.

Homecare regimens for men are the most successful when integrating multipurpose products that are basic, such as a moisturizing sunscreen or a
toning cleanser.

A Case Study in Generational and Gender Marketing
Silverado Resort and Spa, which is located in Napa, Calif., considers its resort and spa guests to include members, those who are staying in the resort, and day visitors. Suzy Bordeaux-Johlfs, spa director, says that Silverado has a mixed clientele with a healthy membership base of about 350 people: "Members are primarily golfers who are over 50. We are located close to Silicon Valley, so we also serve a lot of technology groups and conferences, which are mainly made up of men. Our day guests typically hear about us from word-of-mouth."

Since Bordeaux - Johlfs started with Silverado in 2011, spa revenue has increased by 30 percent, a growth that she attributes to marketing and hotel occupancy rates. The team utilizes guerrilla-style marketing tactics around the property via wall-mounted posters promoting seasonal offerings and spa-specific items. They also offer events in the golf shop and sometimes offer chair massages at holes on the course.

facialThese tactics to attract men are working, as the percentage of men as spa guests continues to grow. They also attract male clients by setting up barbershop chairs in the spa lobby and offering complimentary miniature facials and using specific messaging that relates to men. "We refer to skin care products like a bag of golf clubs. You always need a driver, which is just like your cleanser; a putter is like your moisturizing sunscreen; and you may need to get out of the sand trap, so you need your masks and serums," explains Bordeaux-Johlfs.
When asked if she has seen a shift in demographics of the spa consumer, Bordeaux-Johlfs indicated that she had: "A younger set is coming in. Spas used to do a lot of discounting, which led to many first-timers; now those folks are coming back. We also see grandparents who are looking forward to the 16th birthday of their grandchild so they can be introduced to the spa."

As far as marketing to specific generations and groups, Bordeaux-Johlfs set forth the following outlines: Offer iPads in the salon for guests so that stylists can use them to offer hairstyle options. Furthermore, spas can be positioned as places to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions. Silverado offers champagne and chocolates so that those special moments will be remembered and become a tradition. These events can be promoted via the website, digital newsletter for members, and on the posters. Clients in their 50s are typically drawn to seasonal specials for skin care treatments and products.

The spa and resort teams also follow a 12-month marketing calendar based on themes and seasons: "You have to take the traditional holidays and put a special twist on it to create interesting offerings."

1 Statista. (2014, August). Size of the global skin care market 2012-2021. Statistic.
2 Facebook Newsroom. (2016). Company Info.
3 Smith, C. (2016, April). 170 Interesting Instagram Statistics.
4 Twitter Usage Statistics. (n.d.). Internet Live Stats.
5 KPCB. (n.d.). Dream Bigger.
6 Blackhawk Engagement. (2015, November 18). Millennials and the New
Connected Shopping.
7 Lesonsky, R. (2014, September 15). Gen X: How to Market to the Forgotten Generation.
8 Nielsen. (2012, August 6). Introducing Boomers: Marketing's Most Valuable Generation.
9 Booth, B. (2014, December 6). Real men don't cry—but they are exfoliating.

CelesteHillingWith two decades in the beauty and skin care industries, Celeste Hilling is founder, CEO, and product formulator for Skin Authority. Hilling is a respected speaker and media resource on skin care, healthy lifestyles, self-esteem, and business. Skin Authority is respected for developing pure and powerful products without the use of parabens, added fragrance, dyes, or animal testing.


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