The Grayson Report
IT FOR THEM?
HAVE YOU ASKED yourself those two questions when, one, you are de- veloping a new product, and two,
writing or evaluating the ad or display headline? One last question, are you getting tired
hearing about “target marketing?” We don’t
blame you; we are too. But, alas, targeting is
the soul of marketing. If everyone has really
taken that message as biblical, why do so
many products fail? Why do so many ads
and displays just miss?
A while back, we received a phone call
from a cousin that went like this: “I know
that you are a consultant in the cosmetic
business so I thought I would give you a call.
A friend of mine runs a successful spa and
has developed some skin care products that
are terrific. She now wants to sell them in
the broad marketplace and is trying to raise
money. We are planning to invest. Do you
have any suggestions?”
We asked, “Who’s it for and what’s in it
Suzanne & Bob Grayson
Suzanne and Bob Grayson are respected, professional marketers,
having spent their careers with the
leading companies in the beauty
industry before starting their successful consulting business in the
Their consulting clients have included Avon, Bristol-Myers, Estée Lauder, Procter & Gamble, Revlon and
Cover Girl, among others. They reside in San Juan
Capistrano, CA and maintain an office in New York
City. For more information, they can be reached at
for them?” and threw in“competitive edge.”
She said she’d get back to us.
That was three months ago! Wanting to
be in the beauty business and having good
products is simply not enough. There are lots
of good products out there. Exciting consumers with reasons why to buy them is the
key to communication success.
Determining the target is a key market-
ing skill. Have you noticed that we have
moved from broad appeal anti-aging prod-
ucts to specialized benefits; i.e., age spots,
reddening, etc.? But, beware of a too-narrow
target, especially since most women really
don’t want to use several products at one
time. And, there just might not be enough
niche business to support your marketing
plans. Then, add that retailers are living by a
“cut SKUs” mantra; no one has the time,
space or inclination for the“build-it-and-
they-will-come” strategy. So, in Marketing
102 we move on to narrow targeting, with
broad appeal. Sounds like a conflict, but if
done properly, it is the road to Nirvana.
Consider this: Head & Shoulders entered
the dandruff-fixing business at a time when
the best estimate of the total market was
about 10% almost 50 years ago. The sham-
poo giants at the time chuckled,“Even if they
get the whole market, they can’t pay out!”
How, then, did H&S capture a major
share of the total market? Narrow target/
“If it’s good for the basket cases it will
certainly be good for me,”is what consumers
perceived. Another one of our classic examples is the original Vaseline Intensive Care
(VIC) Lotion, which is nearly as old as Head
& Shoulders. Jergen’s had the market solid;
no one was able to knock it down, despite
many test markets by very savvy companies.
Along comes VIC with advertising showing
a dry leaf crinkling in the model’s hand.
Translation? For people with high need—
again,“if it works for them, it will be great for
me.” Instant benefit perception—instant
Here’s a hypothetical one—an acne
cream, positioned squarely against the pimpled teen that not only gets rid of the zits but
also moisturizes and protects the unblemished? Isn’t that for every teen? Narrow tar-get/broad appeal. The headline writes itself:
“Now You Can Get Rid of the Zit and Protect
Against Another”or something like that. Of
course, we may not currently have the technology to support that claim, but once-upon-a-time we couldn’t get rid of dandruff
either. Fertile ground for the folks in Cincinnati or New Brunswick.
The four keys to powerful ads and displays are headline, visual impact, copy and
consumer appeal. The role of the headline is
the first step in defining and appealing to
the target market. You do that by—that’s
right—asking who is it for? And then, what’s
in it for her?
The headline must stop the reader so
that she can see if it’s for her, provide some
news value and engage her to keep reading.
So, by reading the headline, anyone should
be able to determine who is the target market and what’s in it for her. It’s even better if
the headline projects a competitive edge to
create dissonance with her current product.
After all, if you can’t pick out the target market, how will the consumer? We randomly
selected ads from recent magazines to see
how well the headlines did their jobs. The
chart on page 48 gives you the exact words of
the headline, our reading of the target market, along with how well we believe it did the
job for each. Space does not allow showing
all 11 ads; view them online at Happi.com.
Here’s a look at two ads. Number 1 is
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Makeup. “It
makes your skin look better, even after you
take it off.”The target market is unclear. Perhaps it’s for women who believe that
makeup isn’t good for skin, a 2 rating. The
benefit message that it improves skin, comes
through beautifully, (a 5 rating), but the
“who it is for”stopper part is a lost opportunity to grab her.