I don’t know makeup.
So when I was tasked with building a framework for outlining unfamiliar industries, I figured that would be a stellar test.
If you are a marketer, I’m sure you have also been charged, at some point, with understanding the unknown. We all have our own methods for filling in those knowledge gaps, but the devil is in the details, and looming deadlines often create a challenging tradeoff between speed and depth.
You need to get to the nuance more quickly, surfacing insights that illuminate the network of influencers, brands, and communities in a particular space — all in time for that Zoom happy hour.
Let’s get started — I wouldn’t want you to be late.
Start with a broad view
When you know little or nothing about the industry at hand, you’ll want to start with a broad view to get the lay of the land. Then use what you learn to start focusing in on the details.
To quickly provide a comprehensive look at different audiences, Helixa comes jam-packed with built-in lifestyles.
I started by running an analysis for our “cosmetics connoisseurs” lifestyle to see how the demographics shake out.
Then I explored the top brands and influencers for the broader audience of people interested in makeup, to see the major players in the space.
This surfaced some brands that I am not familiar with, such as BH Cosmetics, NARS Cosmetics, and e.l.f. Cosmetics.
These brands are obviously heavy hitters in this space, so I noted that to see how they show up when I started examining specific segments.
See how the pieces fit together
So why am I checking out the segments of this audience?
Well, looking at the beauty industry overall doesn’t really highlight the diversity of products, approaches, and audiences within. Instead, what you’ll typically see are the majority’s favorites, which might not be all that helpful.
By breaking that big picture down into smaller pieces, you will start to understand how they come together as part of the larger audience.
Here are a few examples of how I segmented the makeup industry to get a better understanding of the makeup of that audience (...sorry):
- Demographics: Compare audiences by age, gender, race, ethnicity, household income, and geographic location
- Values: Compare audiences who are concerned about environmental impact, animal-testing, and vegan products with the general audience of cosmetics consumers
- Other interests: Compare the audience of cosmetics consumers that engage with specific interests like fashion, the outdoors, luxury brands, sports, etc.
- Product category: Compare the specific audiences for different types of makeup like eyeliner, lipstick, complexion care, etc. using our Total Consumer View offering, which leverages data fusions with MRI and Simmons
- Purchase Journey: Compare audiences by where they buy their cosmetics using Total Consumer View
This approach also works if you want to build an audience based on the specific influencers, brands, and publications that you surface throughout your analysis.
However, if you’re looking for a more holistic view, I recommend applying the specific attributes of the audience you want to explore, like consumers who need vegan makeup that stays on out in nature. Then note where those influencers, brands, or publications show up most (or least) often, as you start to understand how all the pieces fit together.
Zoom in on your target audience
In some cases, you’ll discover your target audience as you get deeper into your analysis. In others, you may have a specific group in mind from the start.
Let’s look at an example where you’re working on a social media campaign to reach Black beauty enthusiasts, age 18-34, who are engaged with makeup brands specifically.
The first thing I noticed is their high affinity for fashion-related accounts, which means their interest in makeup is part of a complete look. They leave their makeup station ready to hit the runway.
When I look at the top makeup brands for this audience, I see KA’OIR Cosmetics, Fenty Beauty, and Juvia’s Place.
I know Fenty Beauty is Rihanna’s brand and helped pioneer inclusive color palettes for women of all skin tones. A quick Google search reveals that the other two brands were also started by Black women, offering the same kinds of inclusive palettes alongside bright pops of color.
Interestingly, KKW Beauty, Kim Kardashian’s brand, is also in the top 10 for this segment. Inclusive options are clearly a big driver if your goal is to win over this segment.
This list of brands is very different from the overall list of top makeup brands for the broader “cosmetics connoisseurs” audience we ran earlier. We see a similar story play out when we take a look at this segment’s top influencers.
When sorting by affinity, singer Teyana Taylor is the top influencer for our segment of Black women who engage with makeup brands, but she doesn’t even make the top 50 for the broader audience interested in cosmetics. The same is true for Jackie Aina, a prominent Black makeup influencer who shows up in the top five for this segment.
It’s important to remember that when you need to reach a specific segment, you need tools that will help zero in on what that segment cares about.
After all, relying too heavily on guesswork and assumptions will leave valuable opportunities on the table.
Test your hypotheses and inform new ones
So now I’ve taken a broad view of the industry, explored specific segments, and examined a target audience.
Not only do I have a bunch of new knowledge about the brands, influencers, and publications that rise to the top for the overall beauty industry, I also have more nuanced insights on specific corners that could help me inform real business decisions.
Hopefully, by sharing my process with you, I’ve demonstrated the speed of Helixa and the importance of understanding the nuances and multiple dimensions of any space you are analyzing.
Regardless of your level of knowledge, this framework will help you expand upon it and learn something new.
Less time searching, more time thinking. Reach out to learn how Helixa helps you get there.
Ryan is the Marketing Communications Manager at Helixa, where he leads content strategy from the NYC office. He believes in a lot of things, but never ghosts, guilty pleasures, or his Florida Gators’ offense.