Management Practices

Intergenerational Product Marketing

Bart Foreman | July 10, 2011 | 3:19 PM

At the PBA Symposium this summer, Group 3 Marketing created lots of buzz about our intergenerational research that was sponsored by BSG/Cosmoprof and KPSS. We also appreciated MSTV for promoting the research presentation. Anyone wanting a topline copy of the research findings that were presented at Symposium may contact us at the email address below.


One of the key research findings dealt with how salon guests view professional products. The biggest reason that guests buy store brands (non-professional) is because of price. The next biggest reason is that they don't see enough difference between professional brands and store brands. That's probably not earth-shaking news, so we kept digging.


When asked why respondents buy professional brands, three important points surfaced:

  • The younger Gen Y Millennials said "quality" first and "stylist recommendations" second.

  • The Gen X group said "performance in the hair" first and "stylist recommendations" came in a distant second.

  • The Baby Boomers said "quality" first and "stylist recommendations" second


Across all three generations, quality and performance are the key buying drivers, and they might be interchangeable terms.


Based on this research, we propose that the industry shift its thinking away from the concept of "retail" and promote the concept of professional hair care products for your at-home use. Professional hair care products need to be repositioned as:

  • An extension of the professional services you are receiving today, and...
  • The only way to keep the great look that you walk out the door with after your service.


Just because professional products are on the shelf does not make them retail. As we said at Symposium, if you want to sell "retail" open a corner drug store. If you are reading this, you are in a professional beauty salon. Not just any salon; a PROFESSIONAL beauty salon. That means to be successful, you should focus everyone's attention on your professional at-home hair care products, and not just selling retail.


Think quality and performance. Repositioning how your team presents professional products to your guests around a message of quality and performance can easily overcome the price objection, put more dollars in your pocket, and create more long-term guests because they know you care about how they look during and after every visit.


Stylists' recommendations are important across all the generations but the research found many guests, especially the Gen Y group, are skeptical of the stylists just trying to sell them something. By promoting quality and performance, the stylists can remove this skepticism.


The research also probed guests to find out why they are not buying professional products from your salons. More than 50 percent across all generations said "price" is the reason. We believe that a consistent messaging focus by both brands and salons that focuses on quality and performance can overcome price resistance.


Let's introduce a campaign to get the industry to think differently about the business of beauty starting now, with a new focus on product performance.


If you would like a free copy of the topline national results of intergenerational research e-mail [email protected] with your salon name and contact information. Let us know if you would like to conduct your own research using this research model.



To learn more about Group 3 Marketing, visit


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