December 2009

Elizabeth Brown

Three Months of Marketing | Elizabeth Kraus


Bubble Bath Marketing

Do you remember the ad campaign for Calgon Bubble Bath?

“Calgon, take me away!” Then the screen showed a woman with her hair up, relaxing in her bubble bath with her shapely leg extended while she was begging her bubble bath to take her away from the real world just for a brief interlude a moment of self-centered indulgence, a short break from having to take care of the needs of anyone else.

The ad campaign expressed all that a really good bubble bath should be: a luxurious, fragrant, soothing, comfortable, indulgent, private escape. It epitomizes the feelings that you should be trying to recreate for your clients in your salon or spa in small and large ways, and in every area of your business.

The end of the year is a great time to take a moment to step back and look at your salon’s experience through the eyes of clients.

When they come to your business, what is their first impression? Does the outside of your business do anything to draw the client in? Does it do anything to begin to set the mood of indulgent, personal care? When clients come in, what do they see first? Are they welcomed? Is their experience with you one that they look forward to, or one that they dread? Can they “not wait to get there,” or can they “not wait to leave?”

Look for ways that you can treat clients to a moment of luxury, relaxation, aromatherapy, or other sense of indulgence to enhance their experience, set your business apart from others, and keep them coming back for more.

Just as in theatre, the client experience occurs on a set. This set is comprised of the outside and inside of the salon, and scenes occur not only on set, but on the phone, on your website, by email, and any other touch point that your client has with you, with a member of your salon, as well as within the salon itself. The first step is to set the stage. As this year winds down, take your analysis of the client experience and create a new set for your salon for the new year.

Small indulgences, small moments of escape, small pleasures. If the scene is set, it is easy to move toward incorporating small moments of indulgence to enhance the client experience. Instead of retreating to the break room, choose one client each day to treat to a scalp massage at the shampoo bowl and choose one client each day to treat to a hand massage while they are waiting for a chemical service to process, or a paraffin wrap. A dark chocolate you ask them to sample in the chair or at the point of purchase. Show them how to use a room spray and blow dryer to create fragrance at home. Gift a genuine compliment and a genuine thank you to every client.

As you plan to write your marketing ‘script’ for 2010, break it down into bi-monthly periods. In each two month period, create an event or promotional set that creates moments of self-centered indulgence: wine and chocolate; a fashion show; mini-massages; a bridal fair; a demo on applying eye-shadow before they leave the salon; a workshop on personal development or empowerment; a charitable campaign, food or clothing drive to bring some of the simple pleasures of life to those less fortunate in your community – the possibilities are endless.

When developing your promotions, view their value from the client’s point of view, not the manufacturer’s, distributor’s, or even your own – create your promotions to point out and to maximize the pleasure factor for the client from their point of view.

Draw other actors to your stage. Make a list of businesses in your physical proximity or who are connected to you through family, friends, or clients. Set out to contact each of these businesses to create cooperative and cross marketing opportunities to support each of your Bubble Bath Events and Promotions.

For instance, for a fashion show, you might partner with a boutique clothier, shoe store, caterer, wine shop, and an esthetician and not only show the latest fashions or accessories, but demonstrate how to combine essential wardrobe elements creatively, how to create a seasonal hair and makeup look, all in a setting where your clients bring their friends to enjoy the fashion show and demos as well as some great refreshments.

Invite your catering partner to share party planning tips or recipes (or use your fashion show event as a springboard for the next event – a Party Planning Workshop!) Just one good idea can be the seed to launch a series of events, drawing your clients into closer relationship with your business and resulting in new clients.

Elizabeth Kraus is the founder of Be InPulse Marketing and Design in Auburn, Washington and the author of 12 Months of Marketing for Salon and Spa. Email the author at