NEW YORK — To segment or not to segment? That is the question on the minds of many mass market manufacturers when it comes to marketing products in this multifaceted society.

“There is no longer one standard of beauty,” said Kathy Dwyer, executive vice president of marketing for Revlon. “This forces the issue of how your products should be presented. You have to evaluate if your product line or lines represent the whole population rather than just one segment.”

While the jury is still out on the best way to reach different segments of a population, one thing is clear: Segments that were once considered niches are now being focused on as more major markets.

Many companies are now looking to address teenagers, women over 35, darker skinned women, Hispanics and Asians, to name a few segments.

The debate centers around whether a company should launch a completely separate line to meet the needs of each segment or to incorporate the appropriate shades and formulations within an existing brand.

Pavion, perhaps, has taken ethnic-specific marketing the furthest. The company now markets Black Radiance, a line of color cosmetics geared to women of color, and Solo Parati, a line tailored to Hispanic women.

Both of these lines are marketed as completely separate entities from each other and from its signature Wet ‘N’ Wild budget-priced brand, which has a broader-based appeal.

“I don’t think that you can be all things to all people,” said Stanley Acker, president and chief executive officer of Pavion Ltd. “Cosmetics are such an impulse buy that you have one brief moment to get someone’s attention so you have to look at the best possible opportunities and maximize.”

“Besides, when you have a line that is completely developed and positioned as a separate segment, the products get bigger space and presence in store,” added Lawrence Pesin, executive vice president for Pavion’s fragrance division.

Making a statement and creating impact were also the reasoning behind Maybelline’s decision to micro-market versus line-extend in the original Maybelline brand.

The company now encompasses Revitalizing, a line of treatment products and color cosmetics for women over 35; Shine Free, a collection of oil and blemish control cosmetics for teenagers and young women with oily skin; Shades of You, its line of color cosmetics for women of color, and classic Maybelline, its original mainstream brand.

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“When we launched Shades of You in 1990, we saw having a separate line as a way of building imagery,” said Rick Goldberg, marketing director for Maybelline. “We felt that if you just mixed in a bunch of new shades, there wouldn’t be the same impact.

Goldberg noted that Maybelline works with Census Data to find out where various segments of the population live so they can make sure the appropriate merchandise is distributed in the correct parts of the country.

The company takes this information a step further by using resources, such as Market Metrics in Lancaster, Pa. According to Goldberg, this company matches census data with store addresses.

Sometimes, however, a niche can be too narrow. The company recently expanded the target audience of its Shine Free line, which was launched in 1983. The brand, which was once geared to just teenagers, is now being positioned for young women aged 12 through 30 through a new ad campaign that features supermodel Christy Turlington and her mother, Liz.

“We felt that since oily skin doesn’t stop at 20 that we needed to shed our teeny-bopper image and make the brand attractive to young adults and teens,” Goldberg said. “You have to really examine every segment of the population and see if it is big enough to support a separate line that will continue to be a popular business.”

So far, Revlon has taken a mixed strategy in dealing with different market segments.

“We approach the market from two perspectives,” said Revlon’s Dwyer. “What are the consumer’s needs that are not being filled and how can we fill them from a unique Revlon point of view. We consider the Revlon name to be our primary asset and sometimes will use it as an umbrella for separate lines, which we feel need to be more distinct.”

The most independent line is, perhaps, its ColorStyle collection of cosmetics for darker skinned women, which is merchandised distinctly from the classic Revlon products.

“With ColorStyle our philosophy was to communicate directly and specifically to the consumer,” Dwyer said. “Whether that will be the way we do things in the long term, I am not sure. It has been successful so far. But over the next three months we will be evaluating if we will continue to do separate brands or if we will include everything all under one banner.”

The company segments its treatment and foundation products by age grouping in order to deal with the various physiological changes that occur in the skin during each time period.

The company’s Eterna 27 treatment line, which has Progenitin incorporated into many of its products, is aimed at women 50 plus. Results, which was launched two years ago, contains an alpha-hydroxy alternative that the company claims has the same exfoliating benefits without any of the irritating side effects associated with the fruit acids. Results products are positioned for women over 35.

“Our goals for skin care are to solidify and revitalize the Eterna line with line extensions geared toward the mature women and to solidify Results, whose consumer is somewhat younger and wants to address the first signs of aging,” Dwyer said. “Our next step will be to look at 18-to-34-year-old consumers and see how we can best meet their needs with more preventative products.”

In addition to its classic Revlon foundations, which have basically been segmented in terms of skin type and the desired amount of coverage, the company has just launched Age Defying makeup for women over 35.

The new foundations contain moisture-wrapped pigments to prevent them from setting into lines and wrinkles, and the same exfoliating ingredient in Results to help renew the skin. The company will expand the line with concealers and powders this fall.

Procter & Gamble prefers the superbrand strategy. Rather than launching separate skin care and cosmetics lines, the company has instead extended its Oil of Olay treatment and Cover Girl cosmetics lines with shade and formula appropriate products for women of virtually all ages, skin conditions and skin tones.

“Our research told us that consumers didn’t want separate lines,” said Carrie Desberg, beauty care manager at P&G.

Early last year, Cover Girl increased its line by 72 items of darker and reformulated shades of lipstick, eyeshadow, nail polish, foundation and powder. The company offered three darker concealers about six months ago.

All of the items are merchandised on the same pegboard as the class Cover Girl products.

Cover Girl has incorporated foundations and powders for women over 35 into its mix for at least 10 years. Both its Replenishing and its Moisture Wear products were created to be more moisturizing and light diffusing for this age group.

Clarifying and Clean Makeup products were created to meet the needs of younger women with oilier skins.

P&G takes the same tactic with its Oil of Olay brand. The product lineup consists of Visible Recovery products with salycillic acid for older women, oil-free products for younger consumers and lotions with sunscreen for preventative skin care.

“Our strategy is to build Olay and to meet all skin care needs within that franchise,” said Kimberly Stewart, beauty care manager. “We feel that it is better to round out and build a line rather than to fragment our skin care business.”

L’Oreal also prefers expanding and incorporating to segmenting.

“We feel that people with different skin types and tones don’t necessarily want to be treated differently,” said John Wendt, senior vice president and general manager of L’Oreal’s cosmetics and fragrance division.

Last year, the company expanded its shade offerings in its Mattique line of oil-free face makeup.

The company added six foundations, two of pressed powders and two of concealers.

The new shades were rolled out into 2,500 of L’Oreal’s 20,000 where there is a heavier concentration of ethnic consumers. In these outlets, the darker shades replace the less popular existing ones. Wendt noted that the goal is to eventually expand the ethnic offerings to 4,000 of L’Oreal’s doors. In terms of skin care, the company has also taken a masterbrand approach. Its 25-item Plenitude line contains a multitude of treatment products aimed at many different skin types and conditions. There are preventative products, such as Protective Daily Moisture Lotion with SPF 12, as well as anti-aging items, such as Advanced Overnight Replenisher, Eye Defense eye treatment and Advanced Wrinkle Defense Cream.

Its most recent launch, Excell-A3, is both preventative and curative. The product contains alpha-hydroxy acids to revitalize the skin, as well as sunscreen and antioxidants to neutralize free radicals, according to Wendt, who added, “We formulate for consumer need and to attempt to satisfy that need based on product, not demographics.””2.X>