Personal Care Products Beyond the Basics

Marketing Gone Wild

Being bombarded daily with thousands of marketing messages is reality in our media world. It is difficult to hear messages that might be worthwhile because of the clutter of advertising. It is also increasingly difficult for advertisers to get our attention.

The marketers of personal care products have played a large role in creating this environment. The breakthroughs in science that offer the many different products started to occur in the early 1900s. With mass production a new capability, a need existed to communicate with the masses.

Personal grooming became more of a social requirement. The manufacturers now had the products; the challenge was to educate the potential customers about them and their capabilities. In one of the great coincidences of our day, the new technology of commercial radio served to meet this need. The personal grooming companies set the standard for aggressive use of this new communications and advertising medium. Television followed radio and stepped up the pace of marketing.

That was the beginning of what is now the expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars a year on advertising of personal care products.

Laboratories, Research and Marketing Working Together

Over the past century, a system has evolved that produces the many products that fill the shelves of stores today. Far beyond basics of soaps and shampoos, products are available for every personal care need. Products such as Suave styling spray for heat protection and scented body washes are the result of careful research, not mere whims.

The cycle that has resulted in a $50 billion dollar industry continues today. Two separate factors drive the scientists that work for the leading grooming and personal care companies. First, continuing advances in scientific knowledge make new products possible. Increased understanding of chemistry and biology allow formulations to target more narrow market needs.

At the same time, the marketers of personal care products are masters of market research. They constantly seek any grooming problem or niche that they can give the scientist to add to their products. The Suave styling spray for heat protection example shows several layers of segmentation. First is the styling segment. Then, there is the spray as a delivery method. Lastly, here is a products designed for the very narrow use of heat protection.

What it Means to the Consumer

This discussion of marketing has several points for the consumer. The first thing to accept is results of the hundreds of millions spent over the years in grooming company laboratories. This massive investment produces some quality, effective grooming aids. Shampoos really are better than they ever have been. Body wash is more than a liquid soap, and deodorants are much more effective than their predecessor products.

A second point is that, as a consumer, the grooming companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to let us know about some of the nifty new products and product features they want to sell us. It is not all marketing hype.

As you refine your grooming routine and product selection, spend some time listening and learning about some of these new and effective products.