OM4 Organic Male CEO Michael Bruggeman on successful marketing to men

More men are enjoying what was once considered a girly activity, and taking trips to the spa or salon.

A new study by market intelligence agency Mintel has found that nearly half (47%) of young men in the UK have enjoyed a spa, beauty, or salon treatment in the past 12 months. This is an increase of 14% since 2015.

In many places across the globe, we hear that more men are coming out for massages, pedicures, facials, and more. But when it comes to marketing to males, many in the business are still at a loss. How do we reach them and talk about what we have to offer?

Many spas focus on the manly aspect, basing treatments on hard booze – like scotch and bourbon – and creating an experience steeped in the language of machismo. Others take different approaches.

We spoke with Michael Bruggeman, CEO of OM4 Organic Male, the first skin type and condition-specific professional men’s line to launch in the US.

An expert in marketing skin care and spa services to men, Bruggeman says that helping men understand the importance of skin health and nutrition, and making the connection between looking good, feeling confident and achieving results at work and in life is his mission.

He generously answered our questions about marketing to men, and talked about how they speak a different skin-care language. Don’t talk about “luminosity.” Talk about “attacking” and “obliterating.”

Read on for more.

What is specific about marketing to men as opposed to marketing to women?

Men have short attention spans and are, in general, more moved to purchase if they see the benefits QUICKLY.  They are moved more by succinct facts and statistics than lengthy descriptions of botanical or ingredient features and benefits.  Men are more apt to make a purchasing decision based on logic than emotion.

We must remember that women are socialized and enculturated into beauty at a very young age and men are lucky if their fathers taught them to shave. Men are light years behind women in understanding the true health and wellness benefits of grooming products. Our job as product line companies is to provide resources and tools to spa staff to enlist them in the educational process.

Men are also image driven.  If you can’t say it in a picture, words are unlikely to hold his attention. And men like to ‘test drive,’ so sampling and getting product on his face is critical.

What do men want?

Simple, direct communication utilizing a different set of words than we would use when speaking to women.  In spa, it is difficult to make the shift from women’s to men’s language.  Terms like “beauty,” “glowing,” “luminosity,” “supple,” “fragrance,” and “facial” are the vernacular of the beauty goddess. “Handsome,” “healthy,” “attack,” “defend,” “target,” “obliterate,” “intercept,” “smell,” “skin health,” “skin conditioning,” “well-being” and “face treatment” are terms that will be heard by men and understood.

Does marketing need to appeal to machismo?

This will become less important over time as gender lines continue to blur and men feel more comfortable in their own skin. Today, there is still a place for that as the primary premium purchaser is still a baby boomer. But this is soon to shift as millennials and Gen Z men become the primary consumers of grooming products and services.

Are heteronormative males more difficult to reach than gay or gender non-binary people?

Actually, not.  As gay men tend to be more fashion forward they are motivated by the latest and greatest in product and tend to be less loyal (though not in all cases). Hetero men, once converted, are far more loyal consumers and have a higher average online dollar spend than women. Our sales-to-spa treatment ratio can be over 53% as opposed to women which ranges between 15%-30% according to Wynn Business statistics.

In the past we’ve been told men usually come to a spa because they’re brought by a woman, and so you need to appeal to them through the women in their lives. True?

Yes, an interesting study released by the Benchmarking Company in NYC, suggests that women are key influencers in male grooming product purchase decision making. Since the release of the study we have completely redone our training and education programs to include selling to women, and scripting concierge and reservations treatment descriptions to appeal to both men and women, depending on the call.  Couple treatments and marketing strategies are also key to drawing men.

What is changing and what is staying the same?

For the time being, as we are still in the educational phase of market development, it is helpful to have male-specific lines and to emphasize the scientific biological differences in male skin, but only if you actually account for those differences in formulation.

Eventually, we will not need men-specific brands, and gender-neutral brands will sufficiently serve the market.


Spa Executive magazine is published by Book4Time, the world’s most innovative spa, salon, wellness, and activity management software. Learn more at

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