May 2013

Lisa Kind - Editor

Esthetic Endeavors | by Judith Culp


Marketing to the Mature Client

The classical definition of a mature client is changing. We used to think of retired folks, those age 65 and over as mature, but as the baby boomers age, this definition is being redefined. People are living longer and with the transition from the group called the Traditionalists, (those born before 1945), to the "Baby Boomers" born between 1945 – 1964 (these years shift depending on your resource), the way people perceive themselves has shifted.

The traditionalists typically (though there are exceptions) saw their lines and wrinkles as badges of surviving the battle of life. While some are quite computer literate, fewer of those in this group make use of social networking, emails or internet marketing. We need to reach this group in a more classical manner such as phone calls, flyers or print media to market to them.

We have a staunch few that want to know about our specials but refuse to use email or any form of internet communication. They want a phone call to be invited in. Within this group some want to "just make my skin look as good as it can" but they are not really interested in the medi-spa scene.

Others are more progressive and want to try any treatment you have that might be beneficial. They will have questions about the anti-aging treatments they see on the television and will appreciate any knowledge you can share. These clients can be quite loyal and will continue regular treatments as long as their health allows it.

While traditionalists didn't grow up with television in their home like the baby boomers did, they have been well exposed to media in their adult years. They see their peers doing things to maintain a youthful appearance.

Media and Hollywood personalities have brought heightened awareness to this group to show that it is perfectly okay to have treatments to maintain a more youthful look. This has led more and more of them to seek and maintain a skin care regime and/ or for medical intervention.

To keep these clients coming back, make sure they can visit with comfort and safety in ways that don't draw attention to their age. Offer gowns that don't have challenging fasteners. If you are a person with arthritis in your hands, snaps, ties and buttons can be difficult. If the arthritis is in your shoulders, getting things on and off over your head can be painful and challenging. Have a range of sizes to accommodate your petite, medium and queen size clients. Bolsters should be available to provide often needed back support. Assure the client can easily get on and off the facial lounge without risk of falling.

Baby boomers are the new mature clients although they don't want to think of themselves as mature. They know they are aging and most are kicking and screaming all the way. They have grown up with Hollywood in their face and their celebrity peers are actively working to maintain a youthful look. The boomers don't want to be left out. They want lines gone, wrinkles gone, brown spots gone.

Preferably they would like this within a single facial treatment, with no down time. The younger boomers are aging with more media education and have a better grasp of the need for a series of treatments rather than just routine facials. Clients are starting earlier to address the signs of aging and this is helpful to maintaining the youthful appearance.

The boomers want results. They enjoy the relaxation, but to keep them as clients we need to provide them with treatments designed to meet their goals. The more expensive the treatment, the quicker they expect the results.

Most boomers are comfortable with smart phones and computers and like the non-interruptive nature of social marketing and email contacts. They use their phone or computer over a telephone book. The savvy technician wanting to attract these clients will need to keep pace with these changes in marketing needs. Google ad-words and the like will become an increasingly important skill set.

Sixty is the new fifty. Boomers are looking and acting younger than their age, and this shift will continue as we move from the older boomers toward the younger ones.

The following generations the Xers and the Ys aren't even waiting until the troublesome signs of age start to show. These groups are taking a proactive stance and starting much earlier with therapeutic skin treatments, good result oriented home care products, and medical intervention. They depend on information being electronically available and this will be the key way to reach them with marketing. They are of the accurate mindset that the earlier they start the longer and easier it will be to keep a youthful face. Skin care is no longer a luxury; it is part of a healthy, youth preserving lifestyle.

The classical mature client is now older than she used to be and those that follow are staying younger looking longer. It's a good time to be a skilled esthetician with the knowledge and tools to meet the needs of clients that understand and appreciate what can be achieved.

Judith Culp, has been in the esthetics industry since 1980. She is the owner of NW Institute of Esthetics, Inc. and contributing editor for Miladys Standard Esthetics: Advanced and lead author of Esthetician's Guide to Client Safety & Wellness. If you have questions about this or other Esthetic Endeavor columns please contact For more information visit