Marketing executives play a key role as the power behind the brands that they represent and additionally wear many hats as an essential piece of the executive brain trust.
As part of XBIZ’s “Execs of 2018: The Year in Review,” marketing mavens of the adult retail market share their thoughts on the strategies that drove success in 2018.
Each of the executives we spoke to below is among the finalist nominees for Marketing Executive of the Year in the retail edition of the 2019 XBIZ Exec Awards.
How is your brand appealing and responding to millennial consumers?
Head of Communications, Consumer Marketing, Doc Johnson
“Staying ahead of the curve is critical to success in our industry. The millennial generation is now the largest demographic group in the world, and will only grow in influence to inspire and reshape the pleasure products landscape. As a brand, we can’t take it for granted that consumers know our story — or think that just because we’ve been around for a long time, that we shouldn’t scream loudly about what makes us different. The millennial generation is constantly being bombarded with messages, so being able to cut through that noise and meet them where they are, through a variety of mediums, is key. Whether it’s how we share our information about the ingredients and the development of our products, or sharing updates we’ve made and are currently making, to the use of new product reviews in the press and in blogs so people know our products are out there and we’re working hard to make them as effective, innovative and accessible as possible — keeping things simple, real and honest is how we market to all of our consumers, but is especially important when communicating information with millennials, who really do care.”
Trade Marketing Manager, LELO
“We’re always coming at pleasure from a fresh perspective in ways that really connect with consumers, especially millennials. Creating products that really engage and inspire, using totally new tech and involving users directly in creating their own pleasure — from sonic waves to literally letting them code their own way to pleasure. But I think even more importantly, we’re also pushing the boundaries of traditional marketing, pulling pleasure out of the dark and into the mainstream with initiatives like our partnership with Amber Rose and working with both our customers and retail partners to drive more acceptance outside the industry.”
Marketing Strategist, Eldorado Trading Company
“As the premier distributor of pleasure products and lingerie, Eldorado is helping bridge the divide between leading manufacturers and retailers. In 2019, you will see Eldorado deploying some groundbreaking initiatives that will further deepen the connection between manufacturer, retailer and end-consumer. By facilitating this connection with the millennial consumer, Eldorado will enable our partners in the industry to adapt more quickly to an ever-evolving marketplace. Study after study has shown that millennials approach sex differently than boomers and previous generations. The companies who join Eldorado and adapt today will be the market leaders of tomorrow.”
Director of Marketing, CalExotics
“CalExotics is ever-changing, while also staying true to who we are. CalExotics is all about enhancing the pleasure in our daily lives. We do our best to showcase that in our products and in our branding. With millennials, we share this in a way that engages them. Mainly, this is online. We have fun social posts, videos and relevant content. We do whatever it takes to give the millennials an experience they will remember and talk about with their friends.”
Marketing Manager, We-Vibe
“Our research tells us that millennial customers, first and foremost, want high-quality products from a brand they can trust. From the beginning, the We-Vibe brand has been built around offering a premium experience. Millennials have also told us that personal experiences and exploration are more important than things. These insights guide campaigns such as our Wrap a Tickle Campaign for the launch of the We-Vibe Discover Gift Box. The campaign is built the insight of giving the gift of an experience — a squeal, a gasp, a toe curl or a racing heart.”
Marketing Director, Wicked Sensual Care
“We strive to appeal and respond to millennial consumers like we would any demographic, though we deliver our brand messaging via platforms each demographic engages with. We continue to do the important work of destigmatizing lube use. We do this in many ways. We interact and educate on a plethora of social media platforms, through our website — and also, through educational seminars we give to our clients. Both distributors and retailers pass on that knowledge to their customers. We then do our best to promote Wicked Sensual Care to a large consumer base with messaging that appeals. Our Eat Sleep Lube Repeat campaign, currently running, has been wildly successful.”
Marketing Manager, Screaming O
“I think millennial consumers are often driven by experience as well as authenticity. They care about the brands they associate with and gravitate towards a brand’s values as much as the products or services itself. While we’ve always been seen as the fun, beginner-friendly sex toy brand, we’ve also been focused on being accessible, inclusive and body-safe. Our Independent Materials Testing Initiative has become a regular part of our product development process to ensure that all of our products are 100 percent body-safe, and this is something that has resonated especially well with our Millennial consumers.”
Creative Director, pjur Group
“First and foremost, I am tired of millennial bashing. I do not find this generation any more or less self-centered or lacking in motivation than other age groups. What I do find is that they process huge amounts of information, display high levels of confidence and are incredibly tech-savvy. This makes them aware, up-to-date, and well-informed consumers and a very important market potential for pjur. Pjur started engaging this audience years ago by optimizing our web presence to include mobile apps. Our current analytics show that more than half our online sales are made on phones. This is not surprising. My phone is well within arm’s reach at any moment. I would like pjur to work on one-click purchasing. My current intention is allow them to generate their own pjur content to influence brand recognition. I admit this is non-traditional and maybe a little controversial, but every generation has its own voice — and Marketing 101 tells us to speak the same language as your audience.”
Director of Marketing, Pipedream Products
"Team Pipedream is always looking for effective channels to reach millennials and Gen Z. Over the last six months we've re-activated our social media presence and relaunched and rebranded the Pipedream blog (ThePDPipeline.com) to speak directly to this market segment. We will continue to flesh out our content marketing strategies to grow with these new trends, audiences and customers."
Director of Marketing and Education, Fun Factory
“Fun Factory has always done things differently by bringing color, medical grade silicone, eco-manufacturing and a sex-positive brand to our industry over 21 years ago. In the beginning, consumers were drawn to the different look and feel of our brand, but today, consumers, including millennials, demand a deeper story that resonates with their values. We believe the best way to reach our younger audience is to amplify who we are and continue to offer a fun and colorful brand experience in the most transparent way possible.”