Salons and Millennials: The Missing Ingredient – PART 2

By now, you should be getting some ideas as to how to market to the millennial crowd. But there are still other characteristics you may want to consider before finalizing your marketing strategies.
Millennials are civic-minded (good citizenship) with a strong sense of community – locally and globally. Remember, they’ve been instilled that they are here for a purpose. They prefer to work for companies that sponsor events outside of work, especially so, when these are charity events or when the company supports volunteer opportunities.  They also care about supporting local businesses and promoting local employment. In fact, more than 50% of millennials make an extra effort to buy products from companies that support the causes they care about (research from Barkley, an independent advertising agency). They’re also twice as likely than Baby Boomers and Gen Xers to care how their food is produced and whether or not is organic (Boston Consulting Group).

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Salon: You’re small and you’re local – you’re already half way there! Connect and submit a proposal to a few local companies that provide wellness programs for their employees. Present monthly lunch-and-learns at the company site, then provide discount coupons to the person in charge of benefits in the HR department so that they can be handed out to the employees. You can also connect with a local charity and co-host a fundraising event. Don’t know which charity to give to? Survey your clients before they’re out your door. Provide them with 3 or 4 options and extra space to add their own. Majority wins. 

Millennials are not individualistic but rather group-oriented, as long as these groups are formed by members of their own generation. They are willing to sacrifice their own identity – to not stand out among their peers – in order to be seen as part of the group.  This stems from the fact that parents of millennials have taught their children that every voice matters and equality is worth fighting for. Millennials have a strong sense of justice. They can be compared to the “Flower Child” of the Baby Boomer era.

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Salon: Provide opportunities to experience your services and products in groups!  Offer BOGO’s and…don’t cringe… extend the Loyalty Program to their best friend (only one friend) so that they can share it. 
Millennials like collaboration because they are community-oriented. They want everyone to get along. So, the possibility of collaborating with businesses and brands, is high in their list of interests. Alex Castellarnau from Dropbox, the popular file transfer cloud service, said: With millennials, “a new brand, service or product is only started by the company; it’s finished by the customers. Millennials are a generation that wants to co-create the product, the brand, with you. Companies that understand this and figure out ways to engage in this co-creation relationship with millennials will have an edge.”
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Salon: While the observation above mainly refers to the technology sector, there are many ways in which a salon can collaborate with their millennial clients. Surveys are a great way to learn what people think, feel, need and want. Use MailChimp or Constant Contact to reach out to your clients. Choose your more loyal millennial clients and ask them how they would solve a specific problem you’re having and make it fun, like a contest. Provide a raffle opportunity for every participant and 1-month free membership, for example, to the winner of the contest. Talk about engagement!

Millennials are high-achievers. They’ve probably been put in career tracks since grade school. While Baby Boomers made their mark in the humanities and arts, millennials are leaving theirs in science and math. However, they care about balance between work and life. They are healthy-minded and actively seek out potential employers that offer fitness and wellness programs for their employees.

Because they are high achievers, they don’t like to waste time. When it comes to in-store experience, millennials will instantly grab their cell phones to do their own research about a service or product.  However, if the in-store experience can provide the knowledge they seek faster and better than it would take for them to browse their cell phones, that would prove to be a real value to the millennial.

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Salon: Having well-trained and knowledgeable employees is very important if your target market is Gen Yers. 

Millennials are adventurers. This is also the generation that has traveled the most. They consider business travel is an opportunity to explore a different place. As the adventurers they are, they crave new discoveries even within the daily and mundane. Shopping is no longer for “needed” items. They want the whole experience: the lighting, the colors, the textures, the music, the scents, customer service, testers, demos, and if possible, the history of the product or service and how the product or service is helping sustain our planet! They want to feel pleasure inside the store. They want to talk about it and share their experience with their peers (remember, they’re group-oriented). This is, in part, the reason why cuisine in America has become so eclectic, from expensive fusions to cheap messy food trucks. Millennials are always searching for the new, exotic, memorable, and even perhaps, dangerous experience.

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Salon: Because millennials are so keen to traveling and to new experiences, providing regular new experiences will keep the millennials’ interest. These experiences can range from product launches to workshops to surprise monthly “late night” hours. Get creative – the options are limitless.

As I’ve said before, millennials are a highly social, group-oriented generation, and they socialize over every single experience, offline and online. They are the experts on social media. They live, eat, breathe social media. It would only make sense that businesses that want to target millennials have all their knots and bolts in place to provide exciting, engaging and up-to-the-last-minute social media campaigns. Have you heard the saying “You snooze; you lose?” If you just can’t keep up with DIY campaigns or can’t afford a social media marketing company, there are other very affordable ways you can accomplish this. A highly recommended, trustworthy VA (Virtual Assistant) could become your savior!  If you’re not active on social media, you become irrelevant to millennials, who are quickly moving to the next and best thing in seconds.

 

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Salon: It is important to bring social media into the store. First, you can let millennials know where you are online by posting decals from Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Yelp, Foursquare, StumbleUpon, YouTube or whatever social media networks you use. Ask them to “check-in” and provide incentives when they do. Foursquare offers ways to earn badges and win freebies or discounts (incentives) for check-ins that you can control.

Millennials were born in the digital era; so when it comes to technology, they expect it to work flawlessly, period.  From home computers to internet to cell phone texting to online gaming where millennials interact with others, to sharing music – the world is at their fingertips and they expect the information to be available exactly at the moment when they need it. Millennials, for the most part, don’t watch TV, don’t go to church, rarely smoke and hardly sleep. A Pew study concluded that 80% of millennials sleep with or near their cell phones. Not only is the cellphone a way to communicate (call or text), but it’s also a way to learn the latest gossip and news, to hook up, to make new friends, to remind them of tasks or appointments, to recommend travel experiences and to research information about products, read their reviews and compare prices while shopping. They also post reviews and share their experience with a particular business or product IRT (in real time), so they feel they are part of the collective decision-making. Millennials even donate to charities through their cellphones!

Because millennials are all about convenience, making it easy for them to pay for your products and services is key to successfully close a deal with a millennial. This may require an upgrade to POS terminals and add the necessary software to make all transactions as easy as possible. When it comes to Loyalty Programs, there was consensus, at a recent Microsoft Envision Conference, that it must be digital in order for the program to succeed.

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Salon: It would only make sense to make your website and create fun apps that are mobile compatible. Include Loyalty Programs and Discount Coupons that are easily scanable with your POS terminal. For example, you could have the technology in place to safely store clients’ data, including credit card information.  Consider using NFC (near-field communication) contact-less payment options like Apple Pay, Google Wallet and Venmo. Even Facebook is beta-testing their contact-less payment app. It would also be advisable to have quality WiFi in your store – a huge convenience for millennials in exchange for your lack of flexibility…

In summary, the fact that you are a small, local business gives you an edge. But don’t stop there. Sell unique products and services and help support a cause by engaging in fundraising events or providing online or app charity donation ability. Make it easy for millennials to see, feel, taste, buy, use, research and review your product or service. Give your salon employees the option to download your payment app (Square, PayPal, Venmo) so that they can more easily check out your clients. Provide an outside-the-salon experience by having an engaging website, online appointment with easy self- rebooking and cancellation, preferably with texting capability. Create your very own business app. Consider upgrading your POS terminal and necessary software such as CRM (Client Retention Management) and accounting system, as well as offering easy access WiFi and cellphone charging station. Have all your social media accounts updated and managed by a professional. Virtual Assistants are an affordable way to go, especially when you need to be on alert to manage your online reputation. Offer Loyalty or Perks programs, memberships and the ability to purchase gift cards and eGifts (www.Yiftee.com) through their cellphones. Provide surveys and opportunities to provide testimonials to make millennials feel part of your business. Offer virtual consultations through Skype or FaceTime and offer express services or technology-based services including the use of ProScope (microscope for phone on-the-go skin analysis) and a SkinScope Scanner for skin analysis. You’ll have them at…hello!

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Salons and Millennials: The Missing Ingredient – PART 1

Fifteen to twenty-five years ago, the buzz word in our industry was “Baby Boomers.” Marketing efforts emphasized how we needed to market our services to this segment of the population. I remember taking countless workshops on how to develop specific treatments and service menus to ensure that the Baby Boomer generation’s health and beauty needs were being properly addressed in our industry. Millennials who were born in the 1980’s have also been taught that our industry’s lead consumers are Baby Boomers. While Baby Boomers are still a huge part of the target market we serve in our salons, the new buzz word that has been…well, buzzing for a while, is “millennials”. But we have been so conditioned to target Baby Boomers, that millennials are still an untapped segment of the population by salons and spas, and marketing efforts to attract this generation have not been completely successful because we just don’t know how to address their needs.

Salons and spas need to understand the psycho-social attributes of millennials if they want to be successful at targeting this generation. Millennials, or Gen Yers, are simply different. Born approximately between 1980 and 2000, they can be characterized by very specific traits, which must be carefully considered when offering services, products and the space where they will experience these services and products.

Dubbed as Generation “Me”, millennials are highly confident and tolerant, while also demonstrating a strong sense of entitlement and narcissism. They feel special because their parents have instilled in them that they are vital to our world – that they were born for and with a purpose. They have been celebrated and praised; therefore, millennials expect to receive frequent positive feedback. They are assertive. They believe they are “right”. They crave attention.

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Salon: Use words in your marketing campaigns that allude to being special and how they can conquer the world with great skin. Your customer service must be impeccable. 

However, millennials are also a highly protected generation, having been coined the “Peter Pan” Generation. They have grown up in a world where there have been increased safety measures (school lock downs, warning labels, safety laws). They don’t like to deal with unpleasantness because their parents have advocated on their behalf throughout their lives. This, along with financial uncertainty, has caused a tendency in millennials to delay certain rites of passage into adulthood like living with their parents for a longer period of time and delaying age of marriage and having children. Emerging adulthood has been established now at 25 years of age.

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Salon: Emphasize on their need for safety by promoting your salon’s sanitary and safety procedures. Produce videos on your sanitation/sterilization processes or how main supplies are actually disposable rather than re-usable.  

Honesty gives us all a sense of protection. Millennials, in particular, highly value transparency – that is, open, genuine, truthful, authentic and honest relationships with everyone, be it their employers, their service providers, their family members, their peers and the products they buy.

Millennials have accumulated more debt (student loans) than any other generation prior, and experienced firsthand a global financial crisis and the highest unemployment rates in US history – second only to the Great Depression. And, considering that data from a 2014 study of US Millennials, which revealed that over 56% of that group considers themselves as part of the working class, and that only nearly 35% consider themselves in the middle class, transparency seems to be the most powerful motivating factor for millennials as consumers of goods and services – not money. Millennials are loyal to brands that they feel convey authenticity, trustworthiness and reliability and are willing to pay a premium for that trust, even if they can’t afford it.

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Salon: Along with providing more affordable services, provide a service menu with very clear pricing parameters and add-on’s. Once in the room, don’t offer an add-on without providing the additional cost to the final bill ahead of time. No one likes it and millennials much less. Learn your ingredients well and make sure that when you say whether or not a product contains XYZ ingredient, that this is actually accurate for the entire line(s). Millennials will research everything you tell them and will question you. Besides, transparency transcends space and time.

Millennials feel the pressure to succeed at all costs. As children, they had tight schedules with structured activities (school, sports, arts, socials with friends). This generation has had more hours of homework and less free time than all previous generations. What Baby Boomers and Generation Xers once enjoyed – spontaneous play in the rain, makeshift hero capes with towels and houses on a tree with bed sheets – millennials have not experienced.  They are multitaskers and have a hard time handling free time. They can juggle many responsibilities at once, but they are also easily distracted with social media, not to mention texting. They take on a lot, and then expect others to be flexible with them when there is a scheduling conflict.

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Salon: Flexibility is difficult to provide when we are in the business of scheduled services. However, providing other conveniences and trusted services and products to millennials will prove effective in having them develop brand loyalty toward your business.  Additionally, as professionals, we were trained to serve the Baby Boomer generation who didn’t even imagine what the internet could do. We need to serve millennials differently. Salon services need to be cut shorter and/or allow time for millennials to check their cellphones. Relaxation has another meaning to them. And if this idea makes you cringe, perhaps your marketing campaigns could address the effects of radiation and gravity on the skin.Read these article from Skin Inc: Tech neck, cellphones, and selfies.

Rodan and Fields – Unethical Beyond Belief!

12033214_10207980473096681_4665603173707007191_nRodan and Fields – Unethical beyond belief!

This is how powerful marketing and blatant unethical dissemination of information can be, including words from professionals whose titles are highly regarded in the industry. Here you have – Rodan and Fields – two dermatologists (a title they love to flaunt) claiming two things: 1) that they “invented” a product. First of all, ANYONE with some knowledge of basic ingredient chemistry can “invent” a product, send it to a lab, have the chemist formulate it and pay a branding company to get your name/logo all over the place. I recently had a client who came in as a client (her excuse) because she wanted to introduce herself as a future vendor – she was “creating” a new skincare line. When I asked her about specific ingredients, she had no clue what I was talking about. She wasn’t even in the cosmetics industry, and said she needed to get back to her chemists to see if they were using any of the ingredients I mentioned. So there you have it. YOU, my friend, CAN create a new skincare line! Just Google it. 2) R&F claim that their products are “pharmaceutical grade” (see picture). READ MY LIPS: the FDA does NOT, I repeat, does NOT differentiate between “different types” of cosmetics and their information is simply untrue. The FDA has absolutely NO SAY when it comes to cosmetics. And because people believe what they are told, let me offer you some quotes from the FDA directly:

– FDA’s legal authority over cosmetics is different from other products we regulate, such as drugs, biologics, and medical devices. FDA does not have the legal authority to approve cosmetics before they go on the market, although we do approve color additives used in them (except coal tar hair dyes).
– FDA encourages cosmetic firms to report product formulations through the VCRP. However, the companies are not legally required to tell FDA about their products and safety data.

–  Because the law does not require that bad reactions to cosmetics be reported to FDA, we may be unaware of problems.
– FDA can inspect manufacturing facilities to determine if proper controls and practices are being followed. FDA also works with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to examine imported cosmetics. But because resources are limited, only a few establishments are inspected each year, and just a fraction of imports are physically examined.
– FDA does not have the resources to sample and analyze all cosmetics on the market.
– The CIR is an independent, industry-funded panel of medical and scientific experts that meets quarterly to assess the safety of cosmetic ingredients based on data in the published literature as well as some that is voluntarily provided by the cosmetic industry. The industry data may or may not be complete. FDA takes the results of CIR reviews into consideration when evaluating safety, but the results of FDA safety assessments may differ from those of CIR.

– FDA cannot require recalls of cosmetics, but works with companies to make sure their recalls are effective.

– There are no regulations or requirements under current United States law that require cosmetic manufacturers to print expiration dates on the labels of cosmetic products. Manufacturers have the responsibility to determine shelf life for products, as part of their responsibility to substantiate product safety.

– In direct response to this marketing piece from R&F: 

Cosmetic products are not expected to be aseptic; however, they must be completely free of high-virulence microbial pathogens, and the total number of aerobic microorganisms per gram must be low. Since there are no widely acceptable standards for numbers, temporary guidelines are used instead. For eye-area products, counts should not be greater than 500 colony forming units (CFU)/g; for non-eye-area products, counts should not be greater than 1000 CFU/g. The presence of pathogens would be particularly important in evaluating as unacceptable a cosmetic with a marginally acceptable count, e.g., 400 CFU/g for an eye-area product. Pathogens or opportunistic pathogens whose incidence would be of particular concern, especially in eye-area cosmetic products, include S. aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, P. aeruginosa and other species, and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Some microbes normally regarded as nonpathogenic may be opportunistically pathogenic, e.g., in wounds.

For details about ALL MICROBIAL AND PATHOGEN TESTING required for manufacturers, use this link: http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodScienceResearch/LaboratoryMethods/ucm073598.htm

– For more information, go directly to the FDA website and go through some of the links. Just pick and choose and you will soon find out there is NO SUCH THING!

http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/Labeling/Claims/ucm203078.htm

FAIR PACKAGING AND LABELING ACT: http://www.fda.gov/RegulatoryInformation/Legislation/ucm148722.htm