Eva Lerbs of intimate and hygiene products providerPjur interviewed by erotic marketing agency, Lascivious Marketing.

INTERVIEW: Eva Lerbs, pjur group

From eroFame exhibiting to taking to the road to talk with their stockists, pjur group from Luxembourg can never be accused of resting on their laurels.

Hard working pjur group CRM and Sales Representative Eva Lerbs offers an insight into company life and marketing the pjur product range of lubricants, lotions and creams.

BRIAN GRAY: First of all, introduce pjur to the world. When was the company founded, what does it sell, and so on?

EVA LERBS: More feeling, more sensations, more adventure. Whatever you’re looking for, at pjur we’ve got the right products for you. As a family run company, we’ve put our heart and soul into what we do for more than 20 years.

The pjur group started producing lubricants in Germany in 1995. With Alexander Giebel at the helm and headquartered in Luxembourg, the pjur group has maintained its production facilities in Germany, and has expanded rapidly into other countries, attaining a high degree of brand awareness in the process. Even though lubricants have been used since Roman times, pjur was the first company in the world to develop and market a silicone lubricant worldwide.

Our portfolio now comprises over 60 products from silicone- and water-based personal lubricants and massage lotions through products for toys and for stimulating and delaying performance right through to intimate hygiene products and niche articles for extra special preferences.

Describe your own role in the company, your responsibilities and typical tasks. What do you most enjoy about your job with pjur?
I am in the Sales department and responsible for different customers in Europe, especially in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Scandinavia. Apart from the daily business like taking orders and negotiate prices, I am spending a lot of time with personal calls and mail contact asking our customers if they need help or any support like product pictures or texts, answers for frequently asked questions or any other PoS material. My aim is to make every pjur customer happy and to support them as much as even possible.

Who do you define as your typical customer? What characteristics do your individual end-users, and retailers possess?
Our typical end customer doesn’t really exist as we have a product for nearly everybody: be it the woman in her sixties who is just experiencing her second spring needing a bit lubricating support, be it the 18 years old gay man who wants to make his first sexual experiences a bit more comfortable or the couple in their forties who just want to spice up their sex live with some new products. You see that our target group is very wide, so the characteristics of the retailers are too.

A well-positioned company seeks to ‘own’ one word in the minds of consumers (i.e. Volvo and ‘safety’). What one world would you like people to associate with pjur?
For pjur this word is definitely “quality”. The name pjur (pronounced “pure”) is a by-word for quality the world over, promising premium products “Made in Germany”. We only use ingredients that meet the highest purity and quality levels in our manufacturing processes. Quality is a top priority for us and we are not prepared to make any compromises on this.

Good marketing is important for any company, not only to thrive but just to survive. What have been your key marketing learning points and observations so far?
These days, key visuals are more important than ever. People get so many pictures, sounds and odours in their everyday life through their smartphones, television, in shopping malls or just outside at the bus station, so there is a real overstimulation. What we’ve learned is that sometimes less is more. Our simple yellow dot is something people just need to search for if they enter a sex shop or if they click-through a web site. In terms of new PoS or new products, you can say that you should just ask your customers for their needs. That is one of the key facts for success.

What are the main marketing challenges facing pjur, and how is the company overcoming them?
One of the most difficult parts of our marketing is to balance all the different cultures and markets we’re working in. As we work closely together with our local partners around the world, we can handle this problem very well, but there’s always a lot of work to do as a global brand.

We are just facing another problem with Google as they block adverts which show too much bare skin or contain words like “sex” or “vagina” in their Google AdWords. As we are a very high-quality company and don’t link our products to too sexy pictures, we can arrange with that and use more creative words and pictures. But I think that other companies could have some really big problems, even if they just try to describe their products.

Earlier in 2018, pjur released the results of a commissioned survey, conducted by YouGov (who I used to work for years ago!). It’s great to see companies in this industry using marketing research. Was this a one-off case? How important is market and customer research to pjur’s continuing success?

No, not at all! Research is so important for a global company to find out about new trends and to get to know their target groups better and better every day. So we do surveys from time to time to just find out if there is something, that needs to be improved, some new strategy, some new ideas. It is also a great way to get feedback from the market about new product ideas and so on.

What has been the highlight so far in your time with pjur, and why?
Oh, that question is not easy to answer. I am with pjur for more than two years now and a lot of great things happened since then. I think one of the highlights is the eroFame – the first adult trade fair I ever visited – as this was really special to me and still is. It is so great to see all the people you’re talking with by phone or email, to see other brands and all these crazy products in the adult industry you’ve never thought they really existed. Apart from that, another highlight this year was my trip to different erotic stores in Germany because all the owners of the shops and the sellers were so wonderful and we really had a lot of fun beside the work and training.

The pjur group presence at eroFame erotic trade fair, Hanover - interview with erotic marketing agency, Lascivious Marketing [credit: pjur group, Luxembourg, S.A.]]
The pjur group presence at eroFame erotic trade fair, Hanover [credit: pjur group, Luxembourg S.A.]

What are your own personal strengths that you bring to pjur?
I am a very communicative and open-minded person. I talk to everybody and am not afraid to get to know new people – which is very good for my job with pjur. I am not afraid about talking about sex and all subjects related to it. This makes it very easy to communicate with all the customers and sellers. Sometimes they have some special questions and I am always happy to answer. Apart from that, I always find creative solutions for individual advertising at the point of sale or at events where our customers take part. Many of them come back to me and are thankful for my input, which makes me really happy. We recently realised great flyer campaigns and redesigns of store windows, for example.

Time is our most precious commodity. How do you maximise yours, and what tips have you picked up along the way?
I think it is very important to always take the time for a personal conversation with a business partner. Even if he calls exactly the minute you wanted to leave the office: take the time and let him know that you are always there. This is something I’d recommend to anybody as most people appreciate these little things and your relationship to them will be better than ever.

What are the most valuable things you’ve learned so far in your erotic retailing industry career?
In the last two years I’ve learned that this industry is probably one of the most sympathetic ones you’ll find in this world. People on trade fairs as well as our customers and business partners are always in a good mood and they love what they do. This is something I haven’t experienced in other industries where I’ve worked before.

And what does the next twelve months hold in store for pjur as a company?
Within the last 23 years, pjur has become a global leader in marketing lubricants and intimate products and its way hasn’t come to an end yet. We’ve been growing every year: There’s new colleagues and partners every year, new countries we conquer and new products we develop. Just some weeks ago, we acquired our US distributor, so I think in this country we may see the biggest effort and change within the next twelve months. Apart from that, people can look forward to new products in 2018, which will be launched at eroFame in Hannover. So, come to our booth and connect!

Thanks Eva!
Learn more about pjur group and their wide product range and pay them a visit on Instagram too.

If you’d like to be interviewed about your entrepreneurial journey and associated marketing issues that will be interesting to the Lascivious Marketing web fraternity, then get in touch!

Until next time!