This is the first blog in a series about marketing strategies and practices for the spa industry in the new roaring 2020s. Did I mention it’s already 2020?
Here’s a pop quiz. Define marketing in 14 words or less. We’ll share our definition at the end. No peeking.
Marketing is actually a pretty simple discipline. For your business to be successful, you only need to focus on three things:
- Acquiring new clients
- Keeping them
- Growing them
Most brands and spas focus their marketing efforts on acquiring and keeping clients and tend to overlook the growing part. We’re going to topline each of these three pillars of marketing and in future blogs, we will drill more deeply into the mechanics of each. Because the association’s readership is diverse, we’ll try to be general in this discussion and ask you, the reader, to adapt these ideas to the specific marketing strategies driving your business. Recognize at the beginning that there are new marketing and business realities forming in the 2020s.
These realities are driven by multiple forces, including, but not limited to:
TECHNOLOGY – if you thought the last decade was a wild ride, prepare yourselves for faster, more inclusive and diverse explosions of new technologies that will rock the wellness and beauty industry. Each of these new technologies will impact how you do business in the 2020s. Those brands and spas that adapt to the changing technologies will succeed; those that don’t probably will wither and fade away. Caution: Not every technology is right for every business. Be careful not to jump at the next shiny new toy. Do your homework; research and ask lots of questions.
CULTURE – we could write volumes on this topic and we would never end because culture is continually changing. Demographic profiles are being reshaped annually. Psychographic patterns of behavior are rapidly being revised. The industry understands the Boomers and the Gen X generations, primarily because most of the industry is comprised of these older generations.
Many marketers don’t understand the Millennials, and some still believe most Millennials are living in their parents’ basements playing video games. The Millennials still have a lot of problems, but playing video games is not one of them. And now, the Gen Zs, born after 1996, are beginning to impact the cultural mix. They appear to be significantly different than the Millennials. They are the future of the spa industry.
Beyond demographics and psychographics, the color of culture and our relationships are changing. You’re seeing it every day, but how does your marketing attract the more diverse cultures that are blossoming in your communities. How much business are you leaving for other spas through a lack of culturally based marketing? This should be a high priority in how you develop your promotional materials and social posts.
SOCIAL – when cultural shifts are not impacting your marketing, social shifts are. Communications in the digital age have radically changed how spas bring their service messages to prospects and clients. People want much more than just a “service.” Spas are told that clients want an experience, but experience is difficult to define. Every client has a different perception of what an experience means. Satisfaction indexes are not enough. There are better solutions.
Spa and professional brands turn their attention to creating a never-ending stream of social media posts, often believing such posts as being the savior to their business. The 2020 challenge is to create a spa media and promotional mix that creates energy and resonates with clients and prospects. No one message will resonate with all clients and prospects need entirely different messages. We will explore this in greater detail in a future blog.
ECONOMICS and POLITICS – we are not immune to changes in economic conditions. Economic shifts usually affect buying patterns and that will have an impact on every spa in America and that will trickle up to every brand selling to the industry. How many brands have been impacted by the 2019 tariffs? Answer: All of them. How many brands will be affected by the most recent Middle East dramas unfolding? Answer: It’s too early to know, but understand that buyer stress is increasing and in this industry, that can either be a blessing or a curse. Be prepared, because we are all doing business in the Age of Uncertainty.
So I will ask again: R U READY to do business in the new roaring 2020s? If you believe you are ready, let’s focus on the three pillars of marketing.
Remember the “good old days” when all that was needed to get new clients was to put a sign in the window, a guy on the corner wearing a sandwich board, and maybe an ad in the local newspaper with a first time visitor coupon. Don’t forget the ad in the Yellow Pages and a quarterly ad in the local community circular. Some of those media are still around, but they have lost much of their effectiveness.
Today, it is about being digital and being found online before your competitor is found. Your website is your portal to the world and if it is not beautiful, easy to navigate and responsive, you’ve lost a prospect. But let’s step back. Today, it’s all about search, thanks to Google. If your spa and your brand is not “ranked” at or near the top, you’ll probably be missed and that’s lost business. You need an SEO key word wizard because SEO is a science, not an art.
The science of acquiring new clients in the digital age is not complicated. It does require discipline and follow-through because the client journey to your spa is not a straight line. The same is true for spa brands. We’re told there is a marketing funnel that prospects go through on their journey to do business with you. That’s wrong. It’s really a pinball machine. The journey is not linear and there are a lot of starts and stops. Understand the dynamics.
Give them a great service experience and you will have a client for life. That’s the old model. Today, experience begins with a search and actually never ends. Your services and products may be exceptional. Unfortunately, you marketing can fail at so many points of contact. We will explore this in much more detail in future blogs. However, understand that in today’s digital market landscape the critical marketing element is to STAY CONNECTED with every client. No two clients are the same, so messaging has to be personalized, beyond “Hi, Ellen.” If you do not have an active engaging marketing database, you are not ready to do business in the 2020s.
Never forget that competition wants your business. Clients are not forever. Marketing’s primary goal is to influence the next sale. Marketing begins when the client walks out the door after each service. Marketing begins for brands as soon as an order is shipped. Why? Because the next sale/service is the most important one to keep your business thriving. Speaking of thriving, let’s move on.
Someone once said if your brand is not growing, it’s dying. Every client and every brand has a growth cycle. What’s yours? How do you get the majority of clients to make one more visit in 2020? How can you get clients to buy one more product? We’re not looking to add clients here; we want current clients to increase their activity and spend thresholds. This is all about creating marketing messages that generate action. We will unravel this mystery soon.
So let’s wrap up. Did you take a minute to write down your 14 word marketing definition? You still have time before you peek.
The EndGame Marketing Solutions marketing definition. 13 words:
IT’S WHAT WE DO TO EMOTIONALLY ENGAGE CUSTOMERS AND INFLUENCE THEIR NEXT SALE.
Until next time…
Bart Foreman founded EndGame Marketing Solutions (EGMS) in 2016 after a long sales and marketing career, including co-owning Group 3 Marketing with his wife, Phyllis, for 30 years. EGMS is a marketing consultancy helping brands create new marketing energy. Its focus is data manipulation and strategic planning. Foreman says he is an Executive Strategist, because it’s a lot more exciting than being a CEO. Foreman’s long history in marketing has focused on specialty retail and the professional beauty business. He co-founded the Direct Marketing Association’s CRM Special Interests Council. He’s been a workshop and mainstage speaker at many beauty industry events. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and holds an MBA degree in marketing and marketing research from DePaul University.
THE ENDGAME: New thinking. New vision. New Energy.