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5 Marketing Mistakes the Beauty Industry Is Making Right Now

Reviewed by Jennie July 22, 2014 3 Comments

Think the beauty industry knows what women want? Think again. The beauty industry has created a culture, norms, products and marketing that is actually out of sync with what real beauty aficionados (who’ve been there, done that) think matter. In our recent survey focused on the beauty and skin care habits and attitudes of women over the age of 40, we discovered that the beauty industry is really missing the mark when it comes to serving this customer base. And that could be costing big beauty big bucks. Nearly 60% of the women surveyed would gladly drop $100 or more on a single skin care product.

Here are 5 major mistakes the beauty industry is making:

1. Celebrity Endorsements

You can’t turn the pages of a fashion magazine or turn on the TV without seeing Julia Roberts or Monica Bellucci or Jennifer Aniston or Emma Stone in beauty ads. Beauty brands spend millions of dollars for each of these celebrity endorsements. And guess what? Women couldn’t care less. Only 2% of women surveyed would buy a product based on celebrity endorsements.

2. Not Leveraging Community Reviews

In fact, 86% of women trust online reviews.

3. The Wrinkle Myth

Every anti-aging skin care product out there claims it fights wrinkles and fine lines. Guess what? Older women are less concerned about wrinkles than they are about sagging skin.

4. Killing Confidence

The # 1 thing that makes a woman beautiful? Attitude. In fact, many women feel that makeup actually makes a woman look older. While some beauty brands, notably Dove, have made confidence-building a big part of their brand platform, for most brands it’s the same-old insecurity peddling. Poignantly, the majority of women in our survey said they looked best in their 20s or 30s. But 70% said they didn’t realize it at the time.

5. Color vs. Skincare

The big beauty brands market skin care to older women and color cosmetics to younger women. But if older women could give one piece of advice to their younger selves it would be: Invest in skin care, not makeup.

Read more:

Report: 30s and 40s Top Skin Concerns

Report: 50s and 60s Top Skin Concerns

  • February 7, 2015

    by Everbloom

    Part of the problem is that the VAST majority of marketers are far younger than the demographic they are creating ads for, and don't understand the real needs and wants of these women. Over and over I have seen that wrinkling is not their prime concern - its much more about hydrated, healthy and radiant skin.

    And along with celebrities, the use of young models to sell anti-aging skincare makes no sense and turns our demographic off. We understand we will not look twenty again, so much rather see what results look like on a woman our age (pre photoshop).

    It is bizarre to me that the 40+ woman controls the significant majority of purchasing power for any household, will soon constitute the majority of the US population and has far more wealth at hand to buy beauty products -- yet beauty companies focus on Millenials as a rule (with some rare exceptions).

    I am a 40+ woman who has been working on a natural beauty brand targeted at women 40+ for the last 2 years, and it is unfortunate that even with an amazing board of advisors (ex CEOs of major brands), great branding, a 100% commitment to developing a brand focused on the completely overlooked demographic, and a truly effective product line that is natural but also luxurious, it is quite possible we will never get to market because it is so challenging to gain financial investment before you have established market "traction" (actual sales/revenues!) But it is very expensive to get to that place, so its a very challenging road! We are close to $1 million already put towards getting out, but even that amount won't get us there w/o outside investors. So hopefully we will find a way to create the brand that is so sorely lacking in today's market despite these difficulties....
    And one last thing -- beauty marketers should also understand that these women DO NOT feel old, nor do they act/live "old." For many women, this is their absolute prime and they feel more confident than ever. With age also comes elements of beauty (sophistication, grace, presence, sense of your personal aesthetic) - any beauty brand should celebrate the gifts that come with age and not merely message to the world that "younger is better" in all circumstances. I think for most women over 40, their goal is not to look 20 - rather, it is to look their personal best. So while my company may not get out the door, I sincerely hope that SOME brand does, because this is a group of women who deserve much better than they are currently getting from the beauty industry!

  • July 28, 2014

    by Catherine

    I was so jaded by all the marketing claims around products that I was virtually paralyzed with indecision and so went back to using just basic brands carried by my health food store, thinking that at least they weren't full of chemicals. Now, I feel like I have a resource I can trust and am willing to spend the money knowing that I can shop with confidence. Celebrity endorsements mean nothing at all.

  • July 22, 2014

    by Naheed

    You are so right Jenne! The beauty industry is more on promoting "coverage" than prevention and treatment. In my late fiflties, I know my problem is definitely sagging skin. I really never ever buy any celebrity endorsed product. Most have done so many procedures to enhance their look, they can't attribute it to the product they are endorsing.

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