While it may be a dream of a cosmetic formulator to make a product that will be bought and used by everyone, this almost certainly will never happen. It is extremely difficult to be successful marketing a product when your target market is everyone. You have to narrow your focus and find a group of people who will most likely want your product.
Big cosmetic companies try to appeal to as many people as they possibly can. They go for the big markets. But even they have learned that it is impossible to market a product to everyone. So, they take a market and break it down into segments. For example, if the market for cosmetic products is all people, the segment would be all women.
But this market segment is still too big and the clever cosmetic marketers break the market into even smaller segments. The most common market segments would be
1. Benefit segments - Targeting a specific need that a group of consumers are looking for. This would be something like marketing to women who want to straighten their curly or frizzy hair.
2. Demographic segments - Picking a group of people that have similar incomes, ethnicities, religions, etc. and marketing products to them. For example, creating a line of products for African American hair.
3. Occasion segments - Creating products for people that are going to buy them for some special occasion. For instance a salon offering a special wedding day make-over.
4. Lifestyle segmentation - This would be creating products for people who live a certain way. For example, selling your cosmetic products in Whole Foods to appeal to the “green” consumer.
These could be broken out with lots more examples, but these are the main segmentations that big cosmetic companies look to address.
Niche Cosmetic Marketing
Now, if you are an entrepreneur or small cosmetic company the truth is that you will have an incredibly difficult time competing with the big companies for these large market segments. They just have a lot more money they can spend on advertising and in-store promotion than you. That’s where niche marketing comes in.
Niche Markets are like Segmented Markets but just much smaller and more well defined. They are perfect for small cosmetic companies because the niches are often so small that it wouldn’t be profitable for a big company to spend time trying to serve the market. I recall while working for Alberto Culver in the early 1990’s we had a gel brand that did about $80,000 per year in sales. The company decided to discontinue it because it wasn’t worth selling. But if this were a brand owned by a small cosmetic firm, it could certainly have supported one employee.
The bottom line is that when you’re starting your own line, find a niche for which to make your products.
Here is an example of someone who did just that. Her niche is hair care products for women who are pregnant.
Of course, I am a bit troubled by the propagation of misinformation (e.g. skin does not absorb 60% of what you put on it) but the niche of products for pregnant women is a pretty good one.
So if you are interested in creating your own line, you have to find your niche, then make products for them. And if you want to learn more take a look at our free ebook How to Start Your Own Cosmetic Line.