When it comes to thinking like your target market, it’s hard to tell whether Millennials are the easiest to read — or the hardest.
In 2015, EOS accounted for 11.5% of all lip balm sales in the United States. It was second only to Burt’s Bees at 12.1% (Statista). EOS ranked fourth on Business Insider’s list of the Top 50 Brands that Young Women Love. It was alongside major league players like Sephora (#7), Victoria’s Secret (#3), and Forever 21 (#1). They’ve only been on the market since 2009, and yet they’re outselling more established brands like Chapstick and Blistex.
The EOS lip balm product has two distinct characteristics that make it like catnip to the young female consumer. It’s different, and it’s cute.
Looking at the product in purely aesthetical terms, it’s clear to see what makes it distinct when compared with other lip balms. For one — it’s spherical. That might not seem like much of a revolutionary idea but consider this.
A single photo posted on the official EOS Instagram account — of an array of their lip balms arranged as a rainbow — got 69,700 likes.
The simple, distinct, and visually appealing design by EOS allowed its products to skyrocket to the forefront of the Millennial market. It’s easily recognizable. Every time a celebrity is photographed with it — there doesn’t need to be an official statement of brand association. No frantic “zoom and enhance” of the image, either. When you walk through the beauty section of a CVS, through a Sephora, or even down the beauty aisle in a Target or Wegmans, the EOS brand easily catches the eye. It’s like no other.
For many people, it’s not the most practical product. The spherical shape means that it doesn’t fit in most pockets. To carry it with you, you need some sort of bag or purse.
It’s not even the best product on the market.
The healing and rejuvenating power of Burt’s Bees are arguably superior, even though EOS lip balms are chock full of “vitamin E, soothing shea butter, and jojoba oil.” But still — many Millennial women will use no other brand.
What the marketing team at EOS did particularly well was this — they put themselves in the shoes of their target market, and really started thinking like them.
They abandoned almost all traditional advertising. Instead, they focused all their effort on going viral — through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. They advertised their product the same way that Millennials advertise themselves. They took pictures of it next to food, with a new manicure and the hashtag “manimonday,” with inspirational quotes, and on their ski trip.
EOS hit the ground running in terms of thinking like their target market. As a result, their marketing campaign was a huge success. Even though the product they offer — at least the most popular one — is not the most practical, it is wildly popular. Simply because they identified the most important characteristic of a product for Millennial women.
It’s trendy. Millennial women aren’t necessarily concerned with whether it’s better than Burt’s Bees or Blistex. They’re concerned with how aesthetically pleasing it will look when they take a picture of it next to their daily nonfat no-whip vanilla latte. They wanted something cute — and EOS was all too happy to deliver.