Sunday, December 21, 2008


Perfume is SUPPOSED to be expensive. So what do you do when money is tight and people who WANT your perfume (really!!!) can't afford it? This isn't the first time in history that marketers have struggled with this issue.

One TRUTH is eternal in marketing. If you want to have ANY profitable sales in the future, you DO NOT slash prices. But you might consider "slashing" SIZE.

When I was a kid, candy bars were selling for a nickel -- five cents. Then one year they went up a penny, to SIX cents. A 20% jump! Then they stayed at six cents for a number of years. But the SIZE of a candy bar shrank! (Kids notice these things.) But our six cents WOULD STILL BUY A CANDY BAR!

I've heard that in the garment trade there's a practice called "shrinking the marker." The manufacturer, to save money (and cheat the marketer) cuts the pattern just a bit SMALLER than the "marker" (pattern) so the garment is, in effect, "downsized." Now you know why sizes in women's clothing haven't always been consistent!

Francois Coty, the great perfumer, innovator, and founder of the company that still bears his name, made a fortune by offering his perfumes in A WIDE VARIETY OF SIZES, in effect making them AFFORDABLE to lots of women who would not otherwise have been able to afford his very nice perfumes. Coty sold A LOT of perfume!

Now suppose you're selling an ABSOLUTELY NEW fragrance, you don't have a reputation (i.e., your company is unknown), and not all that many people will ever FIND OUT that you HAVE a perfume? What you really want to do in this situation is EXCITE those who DO come to your "store" and make sure that they DO NOT go away empty handed. You want to make sure that they take away A SAMPLE. So you want to make your SAMPLE OFFER as enticing as possible.

I was thinking about my own samples the other day. Times are hard. Money is tight. So why not give people MORE then they might expect with your samples? Why not UPSIZE your samples rather than DOWNSIZING your bottles?

I'm experimenting with this concept for two of my men's fragrances, Toxic (the name says is all!) and Blackberry. I want MORE people to walk out of my store WITH A SAMPLE BOTTLE ... so the sample bottle got BIGGER! I want to make visitors to my store HAPPY ... to feel that they've found a way to shed a little bit of gloom and brighten up their day with an exciting fragrance.

So the sampling deal is extraordinary, but I haven't cut my price.

Of course, to do this you have to BELIEVE in the fragrances you are selling. And you have to run the numbers very carefully because you are BUILDING a business for the future and you can't succeed at it unless you know what you're doing, numbers wise.

But now is the time to WORK at making sales!

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