Bart Foreman, president of Group 3 Marketing
Bart Foreman, president of Group 3 Marketing

Congratulations! You have survived the "00" decade. Maybe not in the style you and your team expected, but nonetheless, you are survivors. It began with the Y2K scare that kept us home because we were afraid the planes would not fly and our computers would crash, got worse with 9/11, got complicated with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is ending with the worst recession since the Great Depression in tandem with the deepest political divides ever experienced, as evidenced by the current health care debate. All of these events have changed how your guests do business with you.


There is more to the social shifts you read about than meets the eye. In the last year, we have argued that the social shifts we are tracking regarding how consumers are using salon services and products have been due primarily to the recession – a shift from uncontrolled spending to a more frugal economy. We believe that the economy plays a significant role in how your guests do business with you, but there's more. Lots more.


As we enter the 2K10 decade, marketing teams in every salon, distributor and manufacturer of professional beauty products and services need to dramatically refocus their priorities. We offer these resolutions for a successful entrance into the new decade.


  • Tell a relevant story that captures the imagination of your customers. Wake up and realize it's not about you and your brand—it's about what the brand delivers to your buyers.

  • Make all your communications, across all channels, fun and engaging. Consumers have enough stress and need some relief. Create a new communication style that defies conventional wisdom.

  • Vow to chat. Forget about the "engagement" strategy. That's so last decade and one that we never subscribed to. 2K10 brand success is going to be the result of chatting—not you chatting with your customers, but your customers chatting about you, whether it's face to face, on Facebook, through tweets, or whatever.


Everyone is talking about the 2K10 plans while they try to forget the dismal results of 2009. We suggest you learn from what has happened to your business in 2009. Based on the resolutions outlined above, we suggest that your mission should be to create "chatter power" for your brand. It's old-fashioned Word-of-Mouth (WoM) marketing. There's nothing like a recommendation from someone we know and trust to convince us to buy something. While WoM has always been around, the advent of new social media platforms means there is now boundless scope for the chatter power of your brand.


According to a recent study by MediaLab, "A recommendation from a friend would make 71% of people 'more comfortable' with a product or service – even more so than their personal experience (63%) and far more so than advertising (15%)." And before you decide that all this social networking and online buzz is for the eco-boomers/millennials (18-30) be aware that web monitoring company comScore found the average age of 10 million people on Twitter is 35-plus.


Our takeaway is that in the last ten years, beauty industry professionals have been overwhelmed with the dynamic changes that have taken place in the marketplace. And what do we do in that situation? We dabble, but too often we continue to rely on conventional wisdom and stay in our comfort zones.


The professional beauty industry has to adapt. Salon marketing and beauty products marketing have an image problem created by its practitioners. We have convinced people that marketing is about selling a product or service that our customers don't need. Salon owners and senior management of distributors and manufacturers believe that the marketing teams are big spenders, fashion victims, and are given little credit for positive results but all the blame when things go bad.


Marketing has to move from its traditional "promotional" image to being "transformational" in 2K10, adopting a vision of sustainable, efficient performance. Marketing has gotten sloppy. In the rush to get into the new digital space, we have forgotten many of the basics of marketing and need to focus on CRM and building loyalists for our salons and brands.


At Group 3 Markeing we focus on Go Marketing, which is Golden Opportunity Marketing. For 2K10, your GO Marketing is about creating chatting power. It's being engaging without engaging, because we are convinced that your customers do not want to engage with you; they just want a product or service that adds value to their lives and when you deliver, they will chat and you will build raving fans.


We offer these closing decade thoughts with the open invitation and challenge for you to understand your customers and market to them because they are all Golden Opportunities. As we say every year, "the best is yet to come," and we believe it.



To learn more about Group 3 Marketing, visit


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