The Difference Between Men and Women… When it Comes to Marketing with Matt Mullenax, Co-founder and CEO of Huron
How to test messaging to find the right copy that resonates with audiences
The old saying goes that men are from Mars, women are from Venus. And while that’s not literally true, when it comes to marketing, men and women do seem like two different species. What resonates with a man is wildly different than what resonates with a woman. Matt Mullenax, the Co-Founder and CEO of Huron, had to learn this firsthand when he was launching the men’s skincare brand, a company that had a personal connection to his past that he tied to an opportunity he saw in the present.
“From a professional vantage point, there were a lot of points of inspiration behind Huron,” Mullenax said. “I think for me, one of themes at the private equity firm where I worked was this notion in and around clean beauty. So we had looked at a ton of traditional beauty brands that were catering to the female consumer, and I was just blown away by the amazing and compelling founder stories, great packaging, amazing product, loyalist consumers. And the disconnect for me was I was a 25-year-old that was still buying neon green body wash from CVS. So that was a little bit of professional inspiration to say, ‘There’s so much happening in this market and the white space for guys in particular is just massive.’”
Mullenax left his career in finance to pursue an MBA at Stanford and from there, decided to bring a men’s skincare brand to life. He and his co-founder worked hard to create clean, vegan, organic, and great smelling products and when they had the products in hand, they took the obvious next step and launched the company. Things were going okay, but Mullenax knew they needed to keep iterating to find and connect better with their key audience.
“For the first six to nine months post-launch, we were really talking about the products,” Mullenax said. “It was 100% vegan body wash, or certified cruelty free, or free of this laundry list of chemicals. And we just really weren’t hitting the mark, it didn’t feel like. Obviously, we were growing and scaling, which was exciting, but I didn’t think we had quite channeled that explosive growth yet. And then we just started touching around sensory and sensorial elements that we thought would resonate with our base. So we came up with … a series of assets, we just wrote the internet’s best smell. And all of a sudden, click through rates skyrocketed, CPAs plummeted and we were like, at the end of the day, a lot of these consumers want something that obviously works, but they want to smell good. And it’s very hard to smell on a screen, so we had to be championing all of the hard work that we had done on the fragrance development side, for instance. So that was a really interesting learning. And then we just said, ‘Okay, it turns out we might need to be a little bit more clickbaity,’ but we didn’t feel like the change in voice was that strong of a deviation from who we were as a brand and our brand voice anyways, we’re very relatable, very down to earth. So thinking about, what other ways we could channel that intrigue without sounding like a used car salesman necessarily, but resonating with someone in a very short, finite period of time, because we know attention span digitally aren’t that great, so how can you lure these eyeballs in pretty quickly.”
With the right message and an engage community to tap into, Huron was on its way. But Mullenax said that there is still constant tweaking and improvement that needs to be done. Whether it’s in product development, customer experience, marketing or partnerships, Mullenax and his small team are always trying to make Huron that much better.
To hear some of the tactics Mullenax is putting in place, tune into Up Next in Commerce.
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