Product Managers Who Want To Look Good Can Learn From Estee Lauder

As a guy, what I know about women’s make-up can pretty much be written on one side of a file card. With a lot of space left over. However, as a consultant to lots of product managers, I’ve always been very impressed by cosmetics products. They are a simple product that a lot of advertising makes seem very valuable. It turns out that the long global recession has hit cosmetics companies hard also and so their product managers are doing something about it – they are changing how they sell their products…

How Make Up gets Sold Today

Cosmetics is a big, big business. I’m not sure how large the market that your product plays in is, but the U.S. beauty market is a $58.8 billion (yes, that’s billion) market. However, the global recession knocked about 9% out of this market last year and so the product managers are starting to scramble.

It turns out that 1/3 of a cosmetics company’s revenues come from the products that are sold at department stores (remember them?) This has always been a great place to sell make up; however, times are changing.

Big Changes Are Coming To The World Of Make Up

Competitors are starting to show up. This competition is coming from both cheaper brands that you can find at drug-stores as well as niche brands that are getting big marketing pushes.

As though that wasn’t enough, the customers who buy make up are also changing. Younger customers really don’t like the way that make up has traditionally be sold at the big department stores. There you have to wait in line for a “consultant” who then tries to up-sell you on many other products. Oh, and the price of everything is hidden – you have to ask to find out how much things cost. This doesn’t set well with the young women who make up much of the market these days.

Estee Lauder’s New Plan

Estee Lauder is a company with three major brands that you may recognize: Clinique, Estee Lauder, and MAC (I even recognize the brands!) Their product managers have decided that they need to change how their products are sold in department stores if they want to have any hope of remaining relevant in the future.

First things first – to make changes in how your product is sold in a department store, you need the store’s cooperation. In the past, making a major change in a set of products that is one of the most profitable parts of a department store would create a lot of resistance from the department store. However, thanks to the recession, the department stores realize that something has got to change and are willing to play ball.

So here’s a fun fact for you: 80% of the women who use mascara replace it at least 2-3 times a year according to a survey done by the NPD Group. When it comes time to replace their make up, the younger customers really want to touch and play with the make up products. Estee Lauder product managers realize this and so they are redesigning how make up products are presented in the department store: they have easy access to the products and they can try them on before making a decision.

Time is a precious resource for all of us. The Estee Lauder product managers have come to realize that they need to make the shopping experience different for customers who have different amounts of available time. They’ve added an “express lane” to their displays so that women who know what they want can get in and get out quickly. They also offer areas where women can browse the different products and, for the customers who want it, they offer an area where customers who want a full beauty consultation can settle in for a visit.

What All Of This Means For You

As product managers we all wish that our product was as highly desired as women’s make up is. Even if we don’t work in this market, we can still learn a lot from the changes that the Estee Lauder product managers are making to how their products get sold.

As the characteristics of our customer base changes (e.g. they get younger), we need to adapt to how they want to shop for our product. The way that we used to do things may no longer work. Estee Lauder’s product managers have discovered that their customers want to be able to touch and play with their products instead of having company employees hovering over them all of the time. Additionally, respecting how much time our customers have could make it easier for them to buy from us.

Watching what Estee Lauder does and learning from their actions can go a long way in helping product managers better meet their customers needs. Take some of the same actions and who knows, your products might come out of this looking even better than they do today…!

How to Give an Effective Presentation – I

Public speaking can increase anxiety and nervousness. Most of this stress caused over a presentation can be avoided if we are prepared ahead of time. What are some points you need to keep in mind before you can give an effective public presentation? Some main points we should be aware of are, our appearance, the audience, the place of the presentation and visual aids we use.

Appearance: You are the first thing your audience will see, even before you start speaking. Always remember that 90% of your message is non-verbal. Watch your body language, avoid distracting dressing style, bright gaudy colours or heavy jewellery. In short, look professional. Your head should be neatly pinned up or styled in such a way that you don not need to run your hands through it frequently. Avoid too much make up. If it is possible, always check your appearance in a mirror just before you start the presentation.

Audience: Collect background information about the group you will be talking to – such as what is the age group of the audience, gender whether all are males, all are females or a mix of the two. What is the knowledge, educational level and understanding level of the group. What is the objective of your talk and what does the audience want to know. Always keep in mind that your presentation should not make either the audience or yourself appear small or you try to display favoritism by making some members feel superior or others inferior.

Ensuring Productivity Quality Rather Than Just Simply Being Productive

Productivity is something that all individuals and companies strive for. But, it is not enough to be just productive and to churn out bulks of product without looking into quality control. That is simply irresponsible. Productivity is just one gauge of company and personal success that is why it cannot be the sole factor in determining it. The quality of the product and the services must also be considered to make sure that the consumers are satisfied and keeps on coming back.

There are a lot of benefits into ensuring productivity quality and one of them has been mentioned above and that is customer loyalty. A satisfied customer will keep coming back to the same product or service and may even be a valuable advertising medium, when said customer brings friends and acquaintances to utilize the products.

Another benefit with implementing productivity quality is gaining the ability to command a higher market price. People would still be drawn to your products and would be willing to shell out a little more money just to get a higher quality product or service. A long term benefit of implementing productivity quality is that a company or an institution is bound to flourish with it. When a company has gained the trust of its customers and has created a name for it, then it is considered synonymous with high quality products and services. You can be certain that such a company will enjoy a longer shelf life compared to others who took productivity without first considering quality.

It may seem very tempting to only focus on the productivity level of an individual or a company and not look at the quality of the products, but it may, at some point cause the demise of the business or cause immense negative effects on the individual. One of the most obvious and significant Cons of plainly productivity centric systems is the imminent demise of quality.

If a company’s only goal is to produce as much as they can no matter what the quality of the product, then they will eventually suffer loss. Although, producing low quality products at immense amounts may be good for some companies because they can sell these products at ridiculously low prices. They will most definitely have a market in some areas where customers only look for quick fixes and don’t expect their purchases to last. If however, if a company is aiming for customer loyalty and trust in their brand, then they most definitely should not focus on the quantity productivity level alone.

When implementing Productivity Quality, the revenue of a company should not suffer. Ways should be found to compensate for the cut backs due to the pressures of quality control. As mentioned above, companies that have high quality products are able to command higher prices for such products and are still able to hold on to their market because of their standards. So, for a company that plans to last long in the market, high productivity quality should always be practiced.