Medicated skincare manufacturers are missing an opportunity

November 20, 2013By Behind the Shelf Blog, Brand Marketing

by Jenny Kosek

Attention medicated skincare manufacturers:
You don’t get female consumers.

Well, acne product manufacturers might. Visit the website of any of the major acne treatment lines, and you’ll see attractive, fresh-faced, smiling young people cavorting about, proud to show their acne-free faces in public after using the advertised product. There are positive tips and tricks to maintain clear skin, and links to social media platforms with great content targeting that core group of consumers.

Psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema product manufacturers: not so much. Visit the websites for these products and see gruesome before-and-after shots of red scaly skin, more often than not on the beefy, hairy, unhygienic limbs of actual users who were inspired enough to send in a self-shot (and they are usually men).women will not seek treatment for psoriasis until it becomes visible or impossible to conceal with clothing

Confession: I have scalp psoriasis. And viewing the websites of medicated products geared towards psoriasis sufferers makes me wish I had acne so I could go back to looking at those beautiful kids on the acne websites instead of the burly guys I’m supposed to identify with on the psoriasis product sites.

Considering that equal numbers of men and women suffer from psoriasis, medicated skin care manufacturers would do well to tailor their marketing to reach the disparate groups within this demographic.

Women who suffer from skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema don’t approach these conditions as medical problems. Often, women will not seek treatment for psoriasis until it becomes visible or impossible to conceal with clothing – until it becomes a beauty problem. Women are more likely to adapt their lifestyles rather than seek treatment; in fact, a National Psoriasis Foundation study found that half of women alter their clothing choices to conceal psoriasis, compared to one third of men. Women, who are already under pressure to maintain cultural standards of beauty, are more likely to experience shame and embarrassment due to their conditions and will avoid seeking medical help. Quite simply, they handle it differently than men, and want different product solutions than their male counterparts.

They want products that are efficacious, but that also smell good, are packaged attractively (not clinically) and that soothe both their skin and their psyches to make them feel more attractive. They want products that can be incorporated into their regular beauty routine without being smelly, greasy, or staining their clothes.

They don’t want to see a hairy guy’s arm covered in ointment, and they don’t want to smell like coal tar.

If you’re manufacturing a medicated skin care product, invest the time and money to complete some targeted market research on the different demographics affected by the condition your product addresses. If you’re assuming that all potential end-users are the same, you’re costing yourself sales.

There is a tremendous opportunity for savvy skin care manufacturers to revolutionize medicinal skin care by identifying and incorporating the needs of women into their product design and marketing. In particular, the potential to develop a social media community around the condition and product to build brand advocates is huge. Are you the manufacturer that will make the effort?

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