(Originally posted in Medium)

So you’re a company that sells razors in a culture that’s embracing facial growth? Sounds like a hairy situation (pun intended).

And a problem that razor company Gillette now claims to be facing.

All this talk about a new shave-free culture seems to be accurate, at least here in the States. In Austin, TX, handlebar mustaches and full-on beards are popping up all over the city. Even our usually bare-faced CEO has opted to join the no shave club.

Encouraging this trend, as mentioned by Aaron Perlut on Social Media Today, are the facts that shaving is expensive, charities like Movember promote no shaving, and millennials now have the luxury of working in laid back offices (or home offices) where stubble on the face is completely acceptable.

So what’s a brand like Gillette to do?

Dive into the Consumer Data

Interestingly, AdAge reported some statistics about shaving following Gillette’s recent earnings report. Specifically, that long-term decline in shaving frequency is the real issue at hand (particularly for the 18-24 age group). Despite the trend, though, that still left 34 million razor-cartridge users in the US, not counting people using disposables or electric razors.

So Gillette, let’s start with a simple fact. Surely not all of those 34 million users are interested in “the best a man can get”. It’s your job to find out what they ARE interested in, and how to speak to them in a way they can relate to so they feel a real need to buy your product.

And- SURPRISE! Some of those 34 million users might be women! In my social circle, it’s a common occurrence for us ladies to steal our boyfriend’s fancy razors. And if we’re single, you better believe there’s still a men’s razor hanging in the shower. In fact, over the holidays, I inherited my sister’s brand new, shiny Gillette men’s razor because she left it in the guest bathroom. Score! I for one will never go back to using a women’s razor, and I’m sure several ladies feel the same way.

Surprise! Even women use and often prefer men's razors.

Surprise! Even women use and often prefer men’s razors.

Segmentation Leads to Consumer Discovery

Segmentation and analysis of Gillette’s consumer audience is key to their product uptake. They could very well discover brand and product interest from completely new segments. Sounds simple- but this is a step often overlooked in Marketing due to time restraints, high cost and other factors.

Regarding the declining segment of 18-24 year old men- if they are in fact losing interest in shaving, then find out which age groups aren’t losing interest and focus Marketing and Advertising efforts there.

Or take a look at the 18-24 year-old audience that does still engage with your brand and figure out ways to keep their attention based on their personality styles, unique interests and media preferences. Continue to build brand loyalty with them by understanding who they are- and speak to them like a friend who really ‘gets’ them. Because not every man who uses a razor relates to the same sports celebrity or swimsuit model (well, that could be a stretch).

Pick a Tool and Take the Plunge

There are lots of segmentation tools out there today that make this type of analysis fairly easy and affordable (compared to traditional segmentation methods), it just takes commitment from the brand’s Marketing team to dive in head first. And let’s (bare) face it, with all of the consumer data available today via social and more, it should be easier than ever for Gillette, and any other brands going through similar product pains, to get ahead of the Marketing game.