Products: Supplementary to Mindset
The more I meet with female entrepreneurs, the more I realize the influence of gender in product use. Yesterday, I met with three fabulous teams of entrepreneurs - all women. In discussing their platforms and products, I remembered a lecture at Stanford given by the Head of Marketing Research at P&G.
Her lecture was one of the few I vividly remember. Her stories regarding focus groups were fascinating but the most interesting story was re: women’s shower/bath products. No, that isn’t a typo. At first one would think: okay, these are products women use in the shower. The key differences in building a marketing should be around skin type, aroma, and brand association. This is all true but P&G realized something new after meeting hundreds of women who discussed their showering/bathing habits over a period of weeks and months.
Women take three different kinds of showers. The products they use are not based on external factors like brand type. They are, instead, supplementary to mindset. Mindset and mood influences what is purchased and how it is used. Thus, in marketing the product, the brand must position itself as the answer to a mood type versus a demographic. If the brand can make itself flexible enough to cater to a variety of moods/types of showers via a number of products - it will be the most successful product on the shelf.
1. The Necessary Shower: These are quick showers using cheap products that women can use on a daily basis when they need to get to work or just simply need to get clean. Thoughts include: I need to drop the kids off or I need to get to work on time for a 9 AM meeting.
2. I Have a Date Tonight Shower: This ritual, though indulgent, is not for the woman, per se. It is, in fact, more preparatory - in anticipation of impressing someone else. Slightly more expensive products are used and more time is taken to go through the usual bathing mechanics. Smell is paramount. Thoughts include: Will he like the smell of this shampoo?
3. “This is For Me” Shower: This is the rarest type of shower/bath but it is most important to the woman. The most expensive products are used here (including rare salts and scrubs…women, you know what I’m talking about.) It is the longest type of shower and will most likely be followed by sleep. Thoughts include: I had a hard week. That music sounds so good. I really needed this.
P&G hit the nail on the head. When we’re walking down the aisle at Duane Reade or CVS - we think of smell, brand and hair/skin type but more than that, we think: this scrub would be great for when I’m getting ready for work; this conditioner is a splurge but its for one of those special days.
If new companies can figure out minor details like this, through time spent on focus group research and customer feedback, they would realize other important behaviors that could be crucial to ramping up their business.