Marketing to Women: Our Favourite Brand Thinks We’re Too Old!
– by Randi Chapnik Myers and Mara Shapiro, cofounders of BrazenWoman.com
Remember when your beauty routine was simple—shower, bronzer, mascara, gloss, done? Sure, some of us went heavier on the icing, but back then, we didn’t have to. Let’s face it, fresh young skin doesn’t need a whole lot of attention. We may have loved playing with makeup but it was no requirement. And moisturizer, toner, eye cream? Ha.
Now that we’ve graduated from our 20s, skincare—along with weekly manicures and monthly dye jobs and all the other “necessities” that we treat ourselves to in order to look and feel our best as we age—is top priority. Now we’re finally ready, willing and able to spend on quality products that really work.
Which is why what happened last month was so depressing. There we were at an event, handing our business card to a marketing manager for one of our favourite leading cosmetics brands and explaining what BrazenWoman does, when she tossed the card in her purse with these words: “We’re not really working with bloggers your age.”
Huh? We stood there speechless, shocked to be cast aside. Especially since we buy that entire line. Like by the truckful.
She went on. “We’re concentrating our marketing efforts on a younger demographic. In fact, we’ve just hired 20-year-old X to be the face of our brand.”
Irony alert here. Just when we’re ready to finally drop some cash on ourselves, no one seems to be selling to us. Somewhere along the road from youth to experience, we’ve vanished from the marketing map. Is it possible that we’ve become a lost demographic—despite our needs, and our wallets?
But why? It appears we’re just not glamorous or sexy or dewy enough to promote products, even the ones we buy. We can’t make cosmetics look flawless, or clothes hang just so. We don’t get quoted in magazines or snapped in photos at parties for gossip rags. We are not pressworthy and so, sigh, we’re invisible. We’re finally treating ourselves more, and now we’re no longer valued by the very brands we use. Instead, they are choosing to alienate their core business (us!) to chase the allure of youth and all the publicity that goes with it.
Here’s how it seems to work. If businesses are not targeting moms or boomers, they’re doing their darnedest to appeal to a socially savvy generation of party-going millennials. Unless what they’re selling has an anti-aging spin, or housework, or parenting, or retirement, or dowdy old lady things, they’re not interested in our beauty, experience or money. It’s as if they assume that somewhere around 35, we drop off the earth and reappear a couple of decades later in an RV park.
Too bad for the brands that don’t capitalize on the purchasing power that’s right in front of them. They’re missing out on more than our investment and loyalty. When they give up on us as customers and as the faces of their brands, they can’t use the benefit of our wisdom and life experience. They are losing us right when we’re in the prime of our lives, when our smiles are most knowing and most relatable.
And there’s a deeper problem. On some level, we buy into the skewed messages they’re selling: that there’s something wrong with aging, that we don’t deserve luxuries, that we become invisible as time goes by. And that’s the real risk. That subliminally, we’ll become defined by our age instead of enjoying every stage of life from the outside in and the inside out.
Tell us: What’s your favourite brand and who is its spokesperson?